Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Posts tagged ‘brain’

It isn’t too late

Kat Fulton, MM, MT-BC, NICUMT, has a wonderful blog.  She has been posting myth busters the last few entries.  Her most recent one is the best!  Read it and consider what Kat says: Mythbuster Countdown #1.

Music for all

I firmly believe music is something most people can enjoy and in which participation is beneficial.  A recent article in Nature News shares much the same view.

What are your thoughts?

Brain training reverses age-related cognitive decline

Here’s an article related to yesterday’s “Growing” blog.

Keep the learning, using & growing!

Brain training reverses age-related cognitive decline.


This week, the High Plains Band & Orchestra Camp is occurring in Hays, KS.  My daughter is there as a camper becoming more proficient as a musician.  My husband is there working with students but still learning as he observes other instructors & directors, plays, and interacts with others.  For me, it means experiencing wonderful evening concerts.  For example, last evening I heard everything from Bach to PDQ Bach to jazz.  It was wonderfully entertaining and relaxing.  So, as a family we are all having musical growth this week.

Whether one is young or old, learning and experiencing are important for us cognitively.  So, why not learn something musical?  What are ways you grow as a musician?

Here are just a few ways to grow as a musician:

  1. learn an instrument
  2. listen to others perform – live or recoded
  3. read a book about an aspect of music
  4. participate in a performing ensemble
  5. attend a drum circle
  6. ask someone about there musical interests

So grow , experience, and enjoy your life.

From the Library of Congress…

The US government does make many interesting resources available to the public.  Even though I live in the Midwest, there are items I can access on line.

One of them is the Library of Congress talk series: Music and the Brain.  While I can down load pre-talks on iTunes, they are also available at:  feed://

Amazing experts including music therapist have shared their thoughts, research, & ideas on this program.  So, adults, exercise those brain cells and have a listen!

There are all types of resources available for folks of all ages.  There is everything from lessons plans, to coloring pages, to recordings, and public domain music.  Check it out and enjoy.

6 things you can do to help your child to get involved with music

Looking for some ideas to use with  your children?  Check out this news article6 things you can do to help your child to get involved with music.

A positive look at aging!

While many people look at aging with doom and gloom, I’ve always looked forward to the possibilities aging provides.  Having spent much of my professional career with retirees has informed this process.   They bring a wealth of experiences and often a “enjoy the day” approach to their lives.  Many of them pursue their passions and continue to fill their days with love and learning.  It appears happiness may come with age.  A recent study published online May 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows enjoyment and happiness increase from age 50 until age 75 then decreasing slightly but not decreasing to age 50 levels.

For those fearful of memory loss, realize research efforts continue.   While a cure or vaccine has not been found, management efforts continue.  As a music therapist I am often amazed how those engaged in music can seem to unlock portions of their memories.   A recent article in the Kansas City Star highlighted this along with some music application efforts.   Please look at this article then share your thoughts about aging.

Experts look to music as way to uncover past buried by dementia –

In the news

As a music therapist, I get excited seeing people encouraged to include music in their lives.  I get even more excited when I see Music Therapy promoted in the media as a viable treatment.  A 2009 CNN report “Music – A Mega Vitamin for the Brain” by Simon Hooper did both of these.  ( The article highlights the group “Sing For Joy” – a choir whose members are diagnosed with various neurological issues.   In the US, there is a nation wide group for people with Parkinson’s and their partners – The Trembleclefs.  To learn more, go to:

Research in the use of music is also shared.  I appreciate the highlighting of various research projects across the globe as well as that of Professor Michael Thaut’s work.  He and the staff at Colorado State University’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music is one venue of validating research in Music Therapy.

If you see an article of interest,

Influences of our sound environment

With reality TV shows on organizing, hoarding, and child rearing, there is an opportunity to look at people, their environment, and their lives.  Sometimes I gain insight on my own life from such programs.  I do find I function best in a generally clean and orderly surrounding though I tend to be a person who like to flit from one pile or task to another.  Yes, I am a haptic soul.  Even my music interests are quite varied.   But, I digress.

Our surroundings influence us.  Many studies have shown this. This includes our sound environment.  (Hmm, don’t think I’ve seen a realty show with that focus…)  One such study (which I will include in my May presentation) was published by Mercado & Mercado in a 2006 “Music Therapy Perspectives”.  They studied the results of modifying the sound environment of a nursing home with psychiatric disorders.  Through interventions such as decreasing background noises (such as TV’s playing and staff conversation volume) and controlling the background music, they saw a decrease in aggressive incidents, use of PRN and STAT medications, as well as less unplanned staff absence.  Sounds like they made it a better sound environment for clients and staff.

Try making changes to your sound environment.  Let me know what you try and what you experience.

Education opportunity in Hays

My next few entries will highlight research I will be sighting during the following presentation:

 “Working with Music”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010   6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: AHEC Northwest, 205 E. 7th, Ste. 130, Hays, KS

Speaker: JoAnn Jordan, Music Therapist-Board Certified

Cost:  $20 if postmarked by 5/19/10. After 5/19/10, $30.

Cancellation deadline – 5/20/10.

Target Audience:  RN, LPN, CNA, Social Worker, School Counselor, Allied Health Professional

Credit:  2 hours

To register or to learn more go to:

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