One goal of music therapy is to reduce stress. This is usually welcome information to clients. They are often worried about the next needle or medical judgement coming their way.
Singing songs and/or playing rhythm instruments is an easy, fun and safe way to allow a client to be part of a group in an equal way and to connect to others. It even helps with sound discrimination, speaking mechanics, and keeping the speaking voice stronger than it would be without singing. This is especially true for the person with Parkinson’s Disease.
Singing improves deep breathing. Singing helps relax the jaw and shoulders. It is also helpful to posture (when trying to breathe well and sing out).
Music will not fix Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease, but it may help to slow down the progression.
Music can bring up the life energy, the essence, the spark of each individual. That is what I look for and honor in each person I work with.
Music is a brain exercise – promoting brain elasticity. One of my favorite games is to sing and stop the song before a key word that the client can most likely fill in. When I stop and they fill it in, it actually enhances their cognitive function.
Dr. Robert Beck – “… singing along with your favorite song can boost your immune system by 150%”. (Creative Forecasting, September 2008).
Moving, stretching, sit-down dancing to music encourages synovial fluid to get into joints. This is the fluid that ‘freezes’ when not used such as in a frozen shoulder. Most of us are better motivated with music than without.
When a person is learning to walk again (ie,after a stroke, surgery,….), music can help with the cadence stride and foot placement. Music gives time and sequences to rhythm – the tempo. This is why when a person who has Parkinson’s Disease and they’re moving too fast or too slowly, music can give a comfortable tempo to aim toward – consciously and subconsciously.
Connie Tomaino – “Music is an essential bridge to connecting people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease to themselves, their loved ones and their personal history.”
Senator Harry Reid – “Simply put, music can heal people.”