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Alive Inside: The Power of Music

ALIVE INSIDE follows Dan Cohen, a social worker who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home.  What he discovers by accident, and scientists have studied for years, is that a person suffering from memory loss can seem to “awaken” when given music they have an emotional attachment to.

The film is witness to this reawakening of ‘lost’ patients.  The effect on the patient, the family, the caregiver is both touching and inspiring.   The introduction of personalized music into patient’s lives seems to open new vistas of experience, especially those with the least ability to interact.  As neurologist Oliver Sacks explains, ‘Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience.  Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory.”

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This clip of Henry reminds me of my grandpa just before he passed – as I’m sure it would remind you of yours. I can’t help but wonder what a simple ipod with his favorite old music (from around the time WWII) would have done for his memory and quality of life in his last years. Not that he suffered from memory loss to the extent as Henry in the video, but I can imagine what we would have talked about and the wisdom of a life lived well.

This project is continuing their research and therapy so there are ways you can help if you feel inspired. For more information about how Music and Memory can help elderly patients, or to donate an iPod (new or used), visit http://www.MusicandMemory.org. For more information about the filmmaker  Michael Rossato-Bennett

Also if you’re in NYC next week you can attend the world premiere for Alive Inside at the Rubin Museum in New York City. The screening dates are Wednesday, April 18th – Saturday, April 21st, with two additional screenings on Saturday. Each ticket includes a Q&A with Alzheimer’s specialists  – should be interesting.

Also, The Week magazine wrote a great piece on the subject of music therapy.