As we all know from hearing that song associated with a first love or leaving home for good, music is profoundly linked to personal memories.
In fact, our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory.
Even for persons with severe dementia, music can tap deep emotional recall. For individuals suffering from dementia, memory for things—such as names, places, and facts—is compromised, but memories from our teenage years can be well-preserved.
Favorite music or songs associated with important personal events can trigger memories of lyrics and the experience connected to the music. Beloved music often calms chaotic brain activity and enables the listener to focus on the present moment and regain a connection to others.
Persons with dementia, Parkinson’s and other diseases that damage brain chemistry also reconnect to the world and gain improved quality of life from listening to personal music favorites.
There is evidence that demonstrates positive relief from symptoms including agitation, confusion, anxiety, pain and depression. improvements can be seen physically, when people have been dependent on walking aids or physical support to move.
The benefits of personalised therapeutic music have been well-studied and documented by distinguished researchers, including Music & Memory board member Dr. Connie Tomaino and Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, co-founders of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in New York.
To learn more, please visit our section on Music and the Brain.