The Magic of Music

Music is a great medium of therapy. It can take us back in time to a place that is filled with beautiful memories and feelings. For the elderly, this is especially good as they are often using therapy to go back to good times, rather than the younger people who visit therapy to revisit bad things that happened to try to resolve them. This can be true for many mediums of art. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “There is no surer method of evading the world than by following art, and no surer method of linking oneself to it than by art.” Eunsun Cho further explained that while art is often used to shelter therapy patients from harsh realities, it can also become a channel for reconnecting them with society. Music is the same.

An Alpha Galileo study undertaken by Amee Baird and Séverine Samson, from the University of Newcastle in Australia were able to use music to help severely brain-injured patients recall personal memories. Likewise with the elderly, music can help with so many issues naturally associated with the more senior generation. In a 2014 study by Bottiroli, Sara et al., in Aging Neuroscience, it was found that “the cognitive effects of listening to background music on older adults: processing speed improves with upbeat music, while memory seems to benefit from both upbeat and downbeat music.”

In a recent article by Laura Monteverdi , KTHV, ‘Modern Mending’ week was introduced. This Music Therapy for Seniors is really ‘medicine for the mind,’ she explains, being the ‘universal language of mankind.’ Take 95 year old Ellen Hammond who was a music teacher until 15 years ago. today she participate in a music therapy class at an assisted living facility taught by Carrie Jenkins, a board certified music therapist who uses songwriting, games and instruments when working with the seniors.

Music therapy is uplifting, helps against isolation, facilitates connection with other people and aids in memory loss. As Jenkins correctly pointed out: “music is so beneficial on so many levels. Even just being able to listen to a song can just elevate their mood and get them in a better mind frame for the rest of the day.”