Tell Me Your Favorite Song

By Erika Gennari, Director of Marketing

You know that feeling you get when you hear an old song, and it immediately pulls you back in time to a specific moment in your life? For me, it’s “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Brown. I’m immediately back in my parents’ kitchen, and my mom is singing it as she makes dinner. I can tell you exactly how the kitchen looked with the sky getting dark outside the windows and the savory smell of chicken roasting in the oven. It’s a warm, comforting feeling being able to quickly slip back into that moment. There are countless examples of music’s connection to memory. BBC ran a wonderful article about the connection between music and memory . . .

“The hippocampus and the frontal cortex are two large areas in the brain associated with memory and they take in a great deal of information every minute. Retrieving it is not always easy. It doesn’t simply come when you ask it to. Music helps because it provides a rhythm and rhyme and sometimes alliteration which helps to unlock that information with cues. It is the structure of the song that helps us to remember it, as well as the melody and the images the words provoke.”

And there is the incredible documentary, Alive Inside. Social worker Dan Cohen, through his nonprofit organization Music and Memory, advocates for the use of music therapy with dementia patients. Our program, Sweet Melodies creates a playlist to elicit positive responses from our residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the same style. The trailer is below:

This is the power of music.

This quarter, we’re asking our residents to tell us their favorite songs and what memories it recalls for them. Not only does it give us the opportunity to hear more of their wonderful stories, it gives us an opportunity to revisit that moment with them and recreate that comfort as much as possible. Stay tuned for their stories!