Music can make a difference in how we live our lives. That is why Music Mends Minds (MMM) works with individuals living with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and traumatic brain injury to offer music making. The musical support bands and sing-alongs foster community between musicians and singers, as well as their families, friends, and caregivers, all of whom thrive on socialization and music making.
In addition to social benefits, there is growing evidence that actively participating in music is a viable alternative treatment in delaying and minimizing the symptoms of neurocognitive decline. Music synchronizes the mind and playing a musical instrument is likened to a full-body workout for the brain, integrating motor, heightened sensory and auditory function, emotion, and other higher order processes of the brain (Shen et al., 2019). It also seems to affect more primitive areas of the brain.
Music is retained in the brain differently from other sorts of cognition such as memory and language, and can be accessed as a form of communication when other avenues are lost. Research with Parkinson’s patients has shown that music therapy increases dopamine production and greatly improves gait, rhythmic ability and body awareness (Trainor et al., 2019).
MMM musical offerings usually include in person bands and sing-alongs. Due to the pandemic, MMM pivoted to free triweekly Zoom sessions, which are led by a board-certified music therapist, and feature a mix of sing-alongs, solos and guest performers. As our virtual platform continues to grow and thrive on a global scale we are planning to increase the variety and frequency of musical opportunities that we offer. We also host live events and concerts online, offering individuals the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. We recently debuted our theme song The Music Mile at our virtual Valentine’s concert. The song was composed by an award-winning Broadway orchestrator and his team.