How a Music Therapist Helps People with Dementia

July 20, 2018

In January, a study found that many people with dementia could significantly improve by listening to and playing music — yet it suggested that only 5 per cent of care homes are using music therapy effectively. The memory of a song might evoke a particular time, place or smell, as well as activate parts of the brain related to sound, words, rhythm and emotion.

“It’s frustrating when music therapy is viewed as a singalong, rather than a treatment that can make a difference to the quality of care people receive and improve their lives,” says Ming Hung Hsu. “We can help people with dementia by improving their mood, enhancing their ability to communicate and helping staff find ways of managing their symptoms.”

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What This Blind, Autistic Pianist Can Teach Us About Music Education

May 15, 2018

Derek Paravicini, who is totally blind and profoundly autistic after being born at 26 weeks weighing less than 600g, does not know his left hand from his right and cannot distinguish between his thumb and his little finger. However, the 38-year-old dubbed “The Human iPod” can play two pianos at once and instantly recall and perform any piece of music he has ever heard, all learnt entirely by ear.

Had his nanny not retrieved an old toy organ from the loft when he was just two, the musical prodigy’s life would probably have turned out very differently. To the astonishment of his parents, he quickly taught himself to play. Since then, music has been his salvation. It has also provided his education, his therapy and his liberation from a life locked in his own world.

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