A Note About Music Therapy

dstricoff December 6th, 2010, 9:34 AM
Debbie Stricoff, Dir., Adult Day Care Services
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Do you ever hear an old song on the radio and remember every word? It’s always amazing to me when I haven’t heard a song in 20 years and I hear it on the radio and remember every word and melody. The brain is amazing! Imagine how beneficial is would be for someone with memory loss to recall old songs – not only is it exercising the brain, but it makes them feel good about what they’re able to remember.

The field of Music Therapy has been around since 1944, and is defined as the therapeutic use of music to restore, maintain and improve emotional, physical and psychological health and well-being (MedicineNet.com). According to the American Music Therapy Association, Music Therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote wellness
  • Manage stress
  • Alleviate pain
  • Express feelings
  • Improve communication
  • Promote physical rehabilitation

At the VNSNY CHOICE Adult Day Center, we formally and informally incorporate music into activities as much as possible. A Music Therapist comes to our center regularly to lead a variety of music related groups with seniors. It’s especially beneficial for those in our dementia program. Not only do they sing in a variety of languages recalling old songs and learning new ones, but they also play name that tune, use instruments and incorporate reminiscence therapy. You can actually see the seniors’ mood lifting and anxiety decreasing as they participate in the music related activities.

Next time you or your loved one’s spirit needs lifting, hum a tune — it’s a great technique for caregivers to use both for themselves and their loved ones! For more information on Music Therapy, check out the link to the American Music Therapy Association (www.musictherapy.org).


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