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  • 1.  Music and dementia

    Posted 06-09-2022 12:01

    Hi, Connectors!

    I have music and dementia on my mind, but only because I've read a really moving article recently. In the May 2022 Rotary magazine, Kate Silver writes about "Melodies and Memories; The good things music does for aging brains."  And this passage really stopped me: "The soundtracks of our lives resonate even more deeply because of the feelings that attach to certain music. Perhaps you associate a Beyoncé song with your first love, or Stevie Wonder with your wedding day. Maybe your grandma danced with you to Kenny Rogers, or your mom loved singing Aretha Franklin. Those songs aren't just fleeting memories. They're tied to strong, emotional moments and experiences in your own autobiography. And they're not just stored in one area of the brain. … they're ingrained in the more fundamental mechanisms of brain processing. In other words, the music that we love actually becomes a part of who we are."

    This article got me thinking about the songs that are part of who I am (which doesn't mean they're necessarily my favorite songs). My list could go on and on, but I'll share just a few that are indelible, making their impression on me before I was 7 years old.

    • "The Unicorn Song" and "Black Velvet Band" (by the Irish Rovers): Our mom used to play the 45 for my sisters and me when we were kids and we'd sing along.
    • "Nature Boy (There was a boy…)" by Nat King Cole, "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing", and "Mairzy Doats" : Our mom used to sing us to sleep to these songs.
    • "Downtown" by Petula Clark: Our dad used to sing this song while shaving and getting ready for work.
    • "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul and Linda McCartney: It was such a weirdly delightful song to my 7-year-old ears to hear all these discordant bits stitched together into a song that didn't really go together. But I loved the "hands across the waters" chorus. I consider this my first favorite song.

    Now that I've shared my deep dive, I'd love to hear from you: What songs are part of who you are?



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    Maria Mooshil
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  • 2.  RE: Music and dementia

    Posted 06-10-2022 14:29
    @Maria Mooshil thank you for sharing this article and your personal playlist! I feel like the music that I grew up with helped shaped who I've been and who I am (and who I'll be?) Anyway, a sampling:
    • My sister, Jackie, is 16 years older than me, and would play and sing along to The Beatles "Let It Be" album. A LOT.
    • My brother, Greg, is 10 years older than me, and he was in a high school rock band and would lug me along to practices when he was babysitting me. I remember they played Foreigner "Cold as Ice" and Alice Cooper "Billion Dollar Babies."
    • When I would stay overnight at my best friend's apartment in elementary school, her mom would be playing Parliament/Funkadelic, and we knew all the words to The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight."
    Such great times, and it helps explain my eclectic musical tastes. Back in the ​day, my friends would joke that my mix tapes were in danger of exploding due to the clash of multiple genres on a single cassette tape, haha :)

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    Maria Liccardo
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  • 3.  RE: Music and dementia

    Posted 06-20-2022 08:13
    Hello Maria,
    I truly appreciate this topic. One of my favorite mobile applications to use is "Shazam".
    It's a AI Algorithm that captures music and located the discography. I feel in love with the idea as soon as I was exposed to it. (Back in the late 2000s).

    I believe a tool like this could be used as therapy for Dementia and Alzhemier patients . 

    I
    ve never been a musician of any sorts but I have an affinity for music.  I enjoy most genres of music.

    - Chances Are by Bob Marley 
    Was my first CD purchased in 1995 at a local Walgreens. My father made the purchase. It had only 3 songs on the disc. I relate this album with my father and has a warm place in my heart.

    -Whisky in my water by Tyler Farr
    I first heard the song while in Irving TX. I had taken a trip to interview with the local fire department. I was missing my wife. (Was only a girl friend at the time). It captured my thoughts and enhanced my feelings for her. I decided not to relocate and returned home.

    -Under the bridge by Red Hot Chilli Peppers 
    This was a song I enjoyed when I was young. I remember it being played over and over again on the  MTV station. My mother hadn't been feeling while and took a nap. Unexpected the apartment building we lived in caught fire. No fatalities took place however my mother made a statement that my music was the devils music. She wasn't a fan of any rock music. So I always associate that song with the that moment.

    Maria thanks so much for starting an interesting conversation!

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    Mario GIL
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  • 4.  RE: Music and dementia

    Posted 07-05-2022 15:36
    Hi, @Mario GIL! Shazam is one of my favorite and most useful apps! It works so well, as long as there's not a lot of background noise in the way. ;) 

    And I love how you and @Maria Liccardo -- like me -- tie your songs to the feelings you had/have of  parents, siblings, partners/friends. I may not understand brain science, but I can see how dementia patients forget names, words, events, yet will still remember a song or piece of music. It's almost as though music from our youth becomes part of our DNA.

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    Maria Mooshil
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