Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Magic and Mystery of Music

As published April 10, 2015 in The Southington Citizen 

Southington’s School District has received the prestigious distinction of recognition as a Best Community for Music Education, (BCME) by the NAMM, National Association of Music Merchants, affirming the community’s demonstrated excellence in music education. ”We have felt, for many years, that we have an excellent music education program. We take immense pride in this recognition.” said Jeff 
Shaw, Southington’s K-12 Music Specialist. “The designation validates the dedication of our talented staff who inspire the best in our students and the consistent support of our community.”

Music, memory and the mind

A breakthrough in mental health therapy?  
Beyond the artistic, cultural, entertainment and spiritual value of music, a study by brain scientists at Northwestern University raises attention to increasing evidence of music’s positive role in driving student potential in education, strongly suggesting that students in community programs demonstrate correlative success in reading. Other studies link learning to play music with enhanced social skills and academic achievement, notably in mathematics and the development of cooperation in group settings.  Scholars have long pondered the mysteries of music and its potential to evoke human emotion and awaken the mind.  

Music as therapy

For over a decade we have witnessed the tragic effects of 21st century warfare. Veterans care facilities and military hospitals have been assailed by the increasing numbers of returning veterans suffering from combat injuries, long-term disabilities and post-traumatic disorders resulting from mind shattering casualties. But, is there a ray of hope for untapped means of restoring a modicum of healing from the worst psychological cases?  Southington resident, proactive veterans advocate and community services volunteer, John DeMello, Sr. is amazed and excited by new possibilities for music as therapy for the mind and the memory. DeMello said: “The Veterans Hospital in Rocky Hill is reaching out for donations of headsets and iPods to provide personalized music therapy to stimulate the memory and minds of patients. DeMello invited me to join him on a visit to The Summit in Plantsville. There, Recreational Therapy Specialist, Barbara Blau, told us that they, too, are reaching out to citizens in the community to help by donating new or used iPods and headsets. “The iPods will enable caregivers of our new initiative to set the devices for patients to listen to music familiar to individual patients. Evidence suggests the potential of awakening individuals to times forgotten and may bring them a semblance of conscious living in the present.” Blau said. 

“ confirms that Music and Memory programs have shown promising progress in the quality of life of many patients.” Summit Marketing Coordinator, Colleen Donahue, said “Music for the memory has inter-generational applications. Whether for our many younger Veteran residents or a resident in our secure dementia unit, each can listen to music that is important to them. Music offers enjoyment; it can also spark memories, inspire conversation and soothe the soul.”

You Tube reports such as this are demonstrating breakthrough success in Music and Memory programs around the country and now it is coming to Southington. Your help with donations of iPods, headsets or monetary donations is vital. Contact The Summit of Plantsville or Southington Care Center to help. 

Music is on the mindsSouthington Care Center is also seeking donations of used iPods or MP3 players to engage residents in their music and memory program. SCC director of therapeutic recreation, Stacy Carleton said “Music has proved to be beneficial among various therapies for people with dementia.” DeMello said: “The American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 is seeking monetary donations along with iPods, download cards, headsets and charging units for care centers within our community and the Rocky Hill Veterans Alzheimer's center.”

CPTV reports: The benefits of music on the mind and body have been recognized since the days of the great philosophers. Twenty-four hundred years ago, Plato said: “Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.”  Today, research continues to explore the mystery of music’s effects on emotions, intelligence, physical wellness and the developing use of therapeutic music in healing the mind and memory.   

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