If you have followed this blog, you already know the emphasis I place on music. (For those unfamiliar and curious, here’s a link.) I have always recognized music as a powerful medium for which individuals channel their humanity. Music is a constant found through time and across cultures. Music has been a vital part of my life; I couldn’t picture my life without it.
With that said, I stumbled across a video a few days ago that demonstrates the power of music. Recently, the idea of giving individuals in nursing homes (those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other mentally disorders) iPod’s with their favorite music has developed as a way to improve the well-being of these individuals. This project, Music&Memory, is attempting to raise awareness of the tremendous effect an 80 dollar iPod can have on the life and well being of our elderly. Soon, PBS will be featuring a documentary, “Alive Inside,” which beautifully shows the benefit of music. These videos summarize and show this change better in a more eloquent way than I would ever dare.
Here is the original, rough cut, of the documentary currently in progress:
A more recent official trailer for the documentary:
And, here’s Music&Memory’s website for those curious: http://www.musicandmemory.org/ They have other, similar videos on their site.
As a social work student, I find this new project an inspiring, beautiful discovery that will benefit millions of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and the families of those individuals. People often write off those with Alzheimer’s and other mental disorders, and I cannot begin to imagine the emotional difficulty those suffering from these diseases and their families. But, through music, the identities of these individuals can be restored.
I’m not sure I have ever witnessed a more amazing demonstration of the power of music. We live in a world plagued with so much darkness. But maybe, just maybe, if we paused—just for a moment—and listened to the music around us, we could shine a bit of light in that darkness.
Interviewer: “What does music do to you?”
Henry: “It gives me the feeling of love.”
As Henry said, “I figure right now the world needs to come into music.”