Music therapy has been practiced for decades as a way to treat neurological conditions from Parkinson's to Alzheimer's to anxiety and depression. Now, advances reveal what's actually happening in the brain as patients listen to music or play instruments. Music therapy can help restore the loss of expressive language in patients with aphasia following brain injury from stroke, says Oliver Sacks, a noted neurologist and professor at ColumbiaUniversity, who explored the link between music and the brain in his recent book Musicophilia. Beyond improving movement and speech, he says, music can trigger the release of mood-altering brain chemicals and once-lost memories and emotions.
As an ombudsman in nursing homes who spends hundreds of hours entertaining seniors I know full well the healing powers music has.
Any big lesson here? – well just that it’s important to cultivate and nourish a love for all kinds of music. It keeps you young and alive. And now we know why.