Music Makes Memories Memorable

Music Therapy for Memory

By: Nick Dudek

Why are you interested in this topic?

Music therapy for memory interested me because personally I believe such a method would be effective to retrain my memory had I suffered from amnesia or brain trauma. The main factor as to my interest would be my own love for music and writing music as well. Researching this topic could help me to develop better memorization skills and techniques whether they apply to remembering necessary facts and knowledge or memorizing songs and musical arrangements, cues and structures. Musically aided memorization can be effective for others as well because when trying to remember certain things, while indulging in music, you can better recall on that information when listening to the same music as you were when you first learned it or began to memorize it.

Music Therapy Effective at Re-Tracing Forgotten Memory

Patients will Alzheimer's have seen very pleasing results from regaining memory through listening to music that they personally enjoyed earlier in their lives before having gotten Alzheimer's disease. This program focuses largely on improving the quality of life for individuals with cognitive and physical memory challenges to reconnect with their surroundings through music-triggered memories.

Music and The Brain

Several areas of the brain are stimulated when listening to music, and even more of the brain is active when participating in playing or making music. First, the auditory cortex is responsible for registering and fabricating tones, pitches and sounds in your head. These cells, located slightly above the ear, are arranged and organized by certain frequencies, whether they be low or high pitched noises. Next, the cerebrum is activated which is associated with remembering melodies, lyrics and signatures in which a song may change. Other parts of the cerebrum are active as well, as it controls the body movements and motions necessary to play a remembered song or note. Third, the cerebellum is working when listening to music. This part of the brain contains your sense of rhythm, balance and coordination between the two when either listening, dancing or playing to music. Lastly the limbic system is activated, and contains the parts that are responsible for emotional reactions to music such as chills, joy, pleasure, and other sensations. The amygdala in the limbic system has been linked to negative emotions such as fear and is normally present when listening to music.

Innovative Psychologist in This Field

Dan Cohen started the music and memory organization with a simple question; do hospital patients have access to music while in the facility? To his surprise almost all hospitals did not have any source of music for their patients. Dan set out to buy 200 used iPods with a plan to donate them to citizens in care homes and hospitals around his area. He first started at one building, using his idea as the prototype for many others to come. Today the organization provides music for hundreds of long term care homes across the United States and Canada. Dan is just one example of the many people who have worked to provide citizens with the music and tunes that they love. Providing music to individuals is a therapy that can be different for everyone but all will see positive results in the end.
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