Song Preferences of Chinese Older Adults Living in Australia.

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Song Preferences of Chinese Older Adults Living in Australia.


Music therapy research reports very limited repertoire resources for Chinese older adults who are a significant non-English speaking group in Australia. This small scale survey study established preferred songs in a group of Chinese older adults living in Australia, explored the relationship between demographic variables and the language of song preferences, and determined whether the most preferred songs were published in the participant’s young adult years (20-30 years) as found in past studies. Twenty-nine Chinese older adults (aged 65-94) were recruited from a senior community gathering in Brisbane, Australia. The data of the survey generated a list of 49 individual song titles which were categorised into six music style categories (popular, patriotic, religious, folk, Chinese opera, and others). A significant relationship was found only between the Cantonese as the first language and preference for songs in Cantonese (p<0.001). Participants preferred songs of their later life periods (31 years or above) instead of young adult years (20-30 years). The findings provide a useful expansion and refinement of the repertoire for Australian RMTs working with Chinese older clients in Australia. It also provides practical guidance for selecting songs with clients who are of Chinese origin and who speak Cantonese or other Asian languages.


Keywords: music therapy, Chinese, older adults, aged care, music preference, song preference, repertoire


Yeung, H., Baker, F. & Shoemark, H. (2014).  Song Preferences of Chinese Older Adults Living in Australia. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 103-121.

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Date published: July 2014