Music is pleasing to the ear. It is a joy to listen to because of its combination of harmony, rhythm, melody and timbre. A catchy tune will surely get your foot tapping and your shoulders rocking. And nothing lights up a room faster than a lively beat. Oddly enough, your brain also lights up when you’re listening to or performing music. It affects emotion; impacts memory improves mood, boosts attention and so much more.
Music and the Brain
What music does for the brain is astonishing. We know for example, there is no one specialized center of the brain for interpreting music. Rather, music engages different parts of the brain. There’s the auditory cortex, which analyzes information from the music such as volume, pitch, speed, melody and rhythm. Next, the frontal gyrus in the cerebrum, helps recall lyrics and sounds when they are heard and sung. The cerebellum, the largest part of the brain located at the back of the head, regulates movement assisting us to move smoothly to the music we hear. Finally, the limbic system enables us to react emotionally to the music. The takeaway is if you want to engage your brain then make time to listen to music, play music or move to music.
You can also think of music as medicine for your brain. It is soothing and reduces anxiety. It lowers blood pressure and improves sleep quality. It elevates one’s mood and is a boost to mental awareness and even memory. Whether it’s a song you sung in kindergarten or a music genre from your high school years, hearing certain tunes can connect you to meaningful events in your past. According to the movie, Alive Inside (see trailer), music even helps people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias retrieve part of their memory and improve their brain health and quality of life.
Musical Minds: A Choir for Those with Memory Loss
So it is no surprise that right here in Orlando, Florida, the Central Florida Community Arts sponsors Musical Minds, a choir specifically designed for those with early memory loss. Because people experiencing memory loss never lose the ability to connect to music, the Musical Minds Choir opens a door for such participants to share in their passion and love for singing and music. Choir members include both care partners, the one experiencing early memory loss and the one who is not. Yet, when the choir begins to sing it is difficult to tell who has dementia.
How eye opening for our community to see people living a purposeful life with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. People with this disease want to live and enjoy what they do everyday. They don’t want to sit on the sidelines. Which is why if you know someone with a recent diagnosis of memory loss, tell him or her about the Musical Minds Choir.
What the Musical Minds Choir offers is an experience of emotional connection to the music and to other choir members. It also refurbishes the connection to oneself. Whether warranted or not, those who live with memory loss often fear failure and experience bouts of self-doubt. The Musical Minds Choir provides a safe place where everyone succeeds. While the music provides an outlet for members to express their emotions; the social engagement aspect enables a positive self-image and sense of wellbeing. No less powerful is the kinship and sense of community that develops between the members.
Join the Musical Minds Choir
Membership in the Musical Minds Choir is free. The group meets all year long and accepts new members all year long. Rehearsals are every Wednesday at One Senior Place, located at 715 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, FL. For more information call 407-937-1800 or click on this link. Under the tutelage of choir director, Kevin Harris, you will enjoy making music with a great group of people and stimulate your brain at the same time!