Using Music Therapy with Parkinson’s Disease

Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

Dr. Oliver Sacks

Have you seen the Zoom videos of people making music together for the holidays? It is so much fun and inspiring to see how creative people can be to bring together symphonies, choirs, music videos and more with each person in their own little square. Think Hollywood Squares with 50 squares per page instead of 9. Pretty impressive.

Within the Parkinson’s community, there are at least 3 organizations bringing together people from all over the world to make music. Because of the pandemic, these organizations have reached out through Zoom or other similar platforms, expanding their reach. Each person occupies their own square on the screen, lured out of their isolation to make music, to feel better and to make new friends.

Global World Parkinson Congress Sing-A-Long

Judi Spencer leads the Global World Parkinson Congress Sing-A-Long once a month, on the second Wednesday of each month. Every month she has a co-host country, so the “time” of the event varies each month, due to the time zone of the host country.
The next Sing-A-Long is Wednesday, January 13th, co-host country is Japan. Due to the time difference, the Sing-A-Long will be on Tuesday evening in North America.

To find out more about this group go to:
https://www.worldpdcoalition.org/page/choir

Tremble Clefs

Tremble Clefs San Diego

The Tremble Clefs therapeutic singing program establishes its’ groups with these primary goals: utilizing good breathing practice, louder voice volume and wider pitch range; thus addressing some of the most serious voice symptoms found in people with Parkinson’s.

According to their website: Regular vocal exercise can improve swallowing and enhance voice volume in people with Parkinson’s. The presence of music and rhythm may also improve movement. Singing provides both physical and emotional stimulation. When experienced with others who share the same motivation and enthusiasm, a loving community is built.

Check their website for locations and schedules.

Music Mends Minds

On Sunday, the dynamic Carol Rosenstein gave a presentation to our Sunday Mornings with Twitchy Women group. Carol is the Founder & Executive Director of Music Mends Minds–a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates musical support groups for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and PTSD. These musical support groups foster a community between the musicians and singers, as well as their families, friends, and caregivers, all of whom thrive on socialization and music-making.

Carol’s husband Irwin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2006, which led to dementia years later. One day, Irwin sat down and played the piano, and reconnected with his environment—it was as if he had just taken a dose of medication. This prompted Carol to look into the healing power of music on the mind, eventually creating Music Mends Minds, as she explored the amazing prospect of music as medicine for the mind. MMM was a local group, rehearsing and performing in Los Angeles until the onset of the Pandemic. Carol expanded through Zoom and developed a relationship with Rotary International Clubs, which brought the magic healing power of music to people globally.

You can learn more about MMM on their website or watching the video from our meeting.

Have a great holiday!

One thought on “Using Music Therapy with Parkinson’s Disease

  1. Cheryl Wirtley

    Thank you so much. I have never heard about these organizations. I certainly am going to look into one of them at least. Have a great day!

    Like

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