I recently came across a YouTube video illustrating that music is deep in the brain. It’s a video of an elderly lady with dementia, who was a ballerina in her younger years. She now has alzheimers and lives in a nursing home.
Music Unlocks Memories
Her caregivers found a video of her ballet performance of Swan Lake from her younger years. They played the Swan Lake music only through her headphones. Her reaction was immediate, she remembered the ballet moves she performed decades ago, and tried to do them, as she sat in her chair. See the picture above and link 1 at the end of this post.
The Playlist of Your Life
If you had to create a playlist for your life, what songs and music would be on it ? Good question, as I think of what I would have on mine. I think of how many songs I have listened to in my lifetime.
I had different favourite songs at different stages of my life. For a start, I remember a few favourite cassette and CD albums that I played for years in the car.
Music and Memory
Care givers are finding that personalized music for elders in care homes, makes a big difference to their health and well being. MusicandMemory.org is a website that has started the “iPod project” for elders in care homes. You can donate an ipod to an elder.
The iPod project gives an iPod to elder residents with a customized playlist for them. It contains their favourite music that they listened to throughout their life.
More Music Less Drugs
They are finding that music is a side door into the brain. Prescribed music showed a significant reduction in agitation for those with dementia. This can lead to prescribing less psychotic drugs.
The right music playlist can penetrate the deepest fog of dementia. It appears music does something to our brains that nothing else does.
What Does Music Do To You ?
An elderly man in a nursing home was given an iPod with some of his favourite music from his younger years. He was asked – What does music do to you ? He replied –
“It gives me the feeling of love. I figure right now the world needs to come into music. Singing, you’ve got beautiful music here. I feel a band of love and dreams. “
His favorite band, was Cab Calloway. See his video at Link 2 below.
102 Year Old Dancer Sees Herself on Film for the First Time
This former nightclub dancer, loved watching videos of herself dance that were taken in the 1930’s. This was the first time she had seen them. She said –
“ I got paid to do something that I enjoyed, and I would do it for free. Because it just felt so good doing it. Because the music you know, I get carried away with it. “ See Link 3 below.
The Brain Loves Music
It appears our favourite songs will light up areas of the brain responsible for – our emotions, memories of emotions, physiological responses to emotion and movement centres that move the body.
Music Helps Us To Share Emotion
Music is a super stimulator, and it seems that music is embedded in almost every part of the brain. From the time we can walk, we want to move and dance to music.
Singing together doubles the amount of oxytocin, which transmits when social bonding is happening.
Music Helps Parkinson’s
A Parkinson’s patient who could barely walk, was able to waltz once music had begun to play. We are wired to move to music.
Music seems to have memories attached to it. Hearing the music, brings back the memories associated with the music, based on our time of life, or our activities at the time.
Emotions and memory are deeply intertwined in music. Start our playlist, and the emotions and memories come back to us, with vivid clarity.
For a deeper dive into Music and the brain, see Link 4 below.
So keep listening to music, it is important for our health.
Link 1 – Ballerina & Alzheimers
Link 2 – Demented Man Describes What Music Does For Him.
Link 3 – 102 YO Dancer watches herself dance for the first time
Link 4 – Power of Music On The Brain \ Dementia & Parkinson’s