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Community Manager
Community Manager

Music on Our Minds - Experts Answer Your Questions

Uncover the powerful force that music has on your brain!

 

Join AARP expert and special guest panelists for our Music on Our Minds Expert Series. To participate, simply ask a question or share your thoughts here with a reply post by 11/23/2020. Your questions - along with tips, recommendations and resources - will be answered by our panelists from 11/16 – 11/23/2020.

 

The series is perfect for music lovers, those interested in brain health, caregivers and anyone looking to enhance their well-being.

 

We'll cover topics such as:

  • Is there a specific style of music that is beneficial for the brain?
  • Can music help with tinnitus?
  • Are there more benefits to actively making music? Can those benefits also be found by passively listening to music?

Our AARP expert and guest panel includes:

  • David Parkes Policy Advisor, Policy & Brain Health, AARP @DavidParkes 
  • Suzanne Hanser, EdD, MT-BC Professor, Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music @SuzanneHanser 
  • Julene Johnson, Ph.D. Associate Dean and Professor, UCSF Institute for Health & Aging @JuleneJohnson 

Both Suzanne and Julene served as issue specialists and formulated recommendations for the Music on Our Minds: The Rich Potential of Music to Promote Brain Health and Mental Well-Being report, which was released in June by AARP's Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH). David, Suzanne and Julene are all members of GCBH.

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Periodic Contributor

The memories that are associated with music you love will be with you throughout your life. Music that carries meaning can change your mood in an instant - provide you with energy, a sense of peace, or anything in between. I hope that you will take time to listen to wonderful music (or sing/play it!), close your eyes, and listen to how you are affected by this music. When you notice the images that come to mind, the senses that are enlightened, and the changes in your breathing or heart rate, you know that this music can accompany your life's journey and remind you about the awe that music brings to life!

Suzanne B. Hanser
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Contributor

Music is so very important to me as a way to lift my spirits and energy. It also ecourages me to sing or dance along to the words or tune, which I've read is also good. 

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Contributor

I have always found music a very important part of my life.  For almost every vacation with family and friends, I have a song that I heard on that vacation that brings back the memories, both good times and bad.  It is extremely powerful that a song can help your brain recall these images so vividly.  I also use different types of music to control elicit emotional responses such as soothing music to quiet my brain, romantic music to spend quality time with my wife or energizing music to prepare for a workout.  Music is truly amazing.

John Polsenberg
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Newbie

Can MAKING music help slow memory loss?  Can LISTENING to music help slow memory loss?

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Periodic Contributor

@AnnB546765, unfortunately, music activities cannot slow memory loss, but they can certainly trigger long-term memories of music that has strong emotional connections or is well-practiced and valued.

Suzanne B. Hanser
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Regular Contributor

music has always soothed me. i would sit back in my easy chair & turn on my internet radio to whatever style suits me. sometimes it's country, sometimes country gospel, every so often it's celtic & sometimes smooth jazz. i would get ready for bed at night & after watching t.v. & an hour before bedtime i would turn on the radio & the music just relaxes me.

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Hi there! What an incredible group we have here! I have some questions - What are some of your favorite songs? Are any of you also musicians yourselves?

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I used to play the flute and piano in my younger days, but stopped before my 30’s.  I still love music though.  

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Community Manager

@KimberlyW393716 I also was a flutist! I played for six years and stopped when I was a junior in high school. Yay flutes!

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AARP Expert

Question for the panelists -- can any kind of music be beneficial to your brain health?

Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP Expert Brain Health
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Periodic Contributor

Can "any kind" of music be beneficial to brain health? I suppose, in theory.  However, research suggests that music that is individually "preferred", "meaningful" or at least "interesting" can be beneficial for brain health.  The AARP Music on our Minds report discusses the research findings in detail.  What do folks think?

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Newbie

Hi, Without a doubt music is one of the greatest gifts in life.  I've been a dancer and professional singer since my teens.  Of import here, however is my somatic experience with music since my life was turned upside down on June, 22, 2013 when I suffered a NDE, as I stroked leaving my left side paralyzed.  Somatic memory  is such a gracious treat for me.  I can still dance from bed as my sensory system lights up with the PURE JOY  of melody and rhythm... pulsing into my Spirit Full Stop!

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Periodic Contributor

I agree with Dr. Johnson and the recommendations in the AARP report. During this time of isolation amidst COVID-19 distancing, and quarantine, I am wondering if any of you are using music to change your moods. Rather than listening to really peppy music when you are feeling sad or lonely, music therapists sometimes recommend music that you listen to music that matches your mood and speaks to you, or songs that express just how you feel at this moment. Listening to this music can help you realize and acknowledge your emotions. Then you can gradually add songs to your playlist that get closer and closer to the feelings that you would like to have, moving yourself gradually to a new mood state. What is the music that resonates with you or says something about how you feel right now?

Suzanne B. Hanser
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Periodic Contributor

Last night I listened to a beautiful "online" performance by the Kronos Quartet & Korean musician Soo Yeon Lyuh.  It highlighted a collaboration called “Yessori” in 2016 and recently for “MOMENT 2020” as a part of work in Kronos' “50 For the Future” project.  My mood was contemplative, and this performance had a similar mood.  MOMENT 2020 : Kronos Quartet & Soo Yeon Lyuh 크로노스 콰르텟 & 여수연 해금 

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Periodic Contributor

Happy Monday!  I'm also very happy to be here with you in this virtual space. I am a cognitive neuroscientist who studies music and aging. I did my undergraduate degree in music.   I'm a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Institute for Health & Aging.  I examine how music can be used to help promote well-being and cognition among older adults, from healthy aging to those living with dementia.  I look forward to hearing your questions.

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Newbie

Hi Julene!

 

What a wonderful way to live your career, musically!  🙂  Question, Do you have any leads for me a Stoke survivor/ musician.   As it pertains to rehabilitation?  Thank you.

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I am very happy to be here with you in this virtual space. I am a music therapist by profession, and established the Music Therapy Department at Berklee College fo Music in Boston, where I remain a professor. I am also President of the International Association for Music & Medicine and have been a program director for the Alzheimer's Association - of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. My research devoted to music therapy for depression and anxiety began when I was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford Medical Center, and I have learned so much from the people I have met for whom music brings joy, peace, and fulfillment. I hope that I can answer your queries and curiosities about what music can do for you!

Suzanne B. Hanser
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AARP Expert

I'm excited for this discussion! Brain health is an especially important topic now during the pandemic.

 

If you haven't already, please check out the GCBH music report and share your thoughts and questions!

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