I can’t play an instrument. I can’t read a single note. I can’t sing, really sing. But I sing anyway! I sing in the car with the radio, in the kitchen cooking up a storm, and especially in the company of others who drown out my off-key. Being musically inclined isn’t a gift I possess. Yet, I know the power of music. I have implemented it into our memory cafe gatherings and I have infused it into delivery of Christmas stockings with Team Music IS Love. I encourage you to check out Martina McBride’s team charity works beyond Christmastime too, especially her therapeutic music program for orphaned children (here).
Music lives in my fiber though I can’t play, read, or sing a single note on key. Yes, I have seen the power of music through a lifetime of healing notes. We all have. Just think about the way a song can take you back to a significant point in life, happy or sad, broken or healed. It is as though we can transcend time and space when a special song hits our ears and penetrates our hearts.
Giving Voice Chorus is bringing out music that is deep inside people’s fiber, particularly those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their care partners. The Minnesota-based choir is uplifting individuals and providing a voice for their own lifetime of healing notes. “It doesn’t matter if you can sing on key; it matters that you sing.” I love that … it’s the same philosophy at our memory cafes. Oh and how I do love to sing there! And at church, among in-tune wonderful people who transform my joyful noise into beautiful music! It is amazing what we can accomplish together isn’t it? 😉
Research shows that those affected by the disease maintain “music memory” long after other memories … and abilities … are lost. Neurologist Oliver Sacks who worked on the film “Awakenings” said he hasn’t been able to help people the way music can (read more on that at MindStart). The healing power of music isn’t limited to memory therapy as medicine though.
Dr. Michael Leinwand, a pediatric surgeon, brings music into his young patients recovery process, playing his guitar and singing the classics. He combines his love for children with the art of fixing things. His family runs a nonprofit organization called Crayons4Kids which provides toys, crayons and coloring books to hospitalized seriously ill children across America. It’s no wonder the Bronson Methodist Hospital doctor is considered a hometown hero. New York City’s Dana-Farber has been hailed for giving respite during cancer through its music therapy program too. “Although cancer can sometimes deplete the human spirit, music therapy can uplift and transform — bringing the mind, body, and soul into harmony.”
Similarly, Guitars for Vets is dedicated to putting the healing power of music into the hands of those who need it. “Many are finding hope in an unlikely place: behind the wood and strings of an acoustic guitar. The healing power of music helps soldiers cope.” Human interaction, trust, goal setting, and accomplishment … all gained via guitar lessons for veterans living with PTSD. The Chicago-based program is delivering hope and healing in over 50 chapters across the U.S. In essence, the program is creating a lifetime of healing notes! Guitars for Vets is yet another perfect example of what happens when music merges with our fiber. Truly, the world is made better through the healing power of music.
Research studies indicate the brain not only lights up when music is played; it literally taps lost memories. It is also known to help kick addiction and boost your immune system, and more. Share some healing notes with us! How has music impacted your life?
By the way — In August you will find us at The Alzheimer’s Music Fest in Georgia. It’s music with a cause, an important cause — providing care for a loved one so caregivers can get the respite they need. Tickets are still available here!