Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Alive Inside: Music & the Mind

Monday, September 7, 2015

Alive Inside: Music & the Mind


After a long while of wondering about the documentary "Alive Inside: Music & Memory" I found it on Netflix and finally saw it.

 The movie opens up with an elderly black woman trying to remember her youth. She struggles to recall important and simple details about her life. Then the woman is introduced to music she listened to as a young girl on an iPod with headphones. Like someone turned on the tap to her memories; out they came in a joyful way. The power of music.

 Through the movie the film maker and social worker Dan Cohen visits retirement homes in hopes of helping old folks re-acquire their identity and happiness. Chronicled in the movie were elderly people re-discovering the music that they loved when they were young. The music acts as a back door to the mind for people with dementia. One elderly man re-lived his life while listening to Cab Calloway, remembering once forgotten life details and regaining his dignity. An older women with memory loss quickly began to regain memories after listening to "Blackbird" by The Beatles, and tunes from The Beach Boys. 

 As someone who already knew and believed in the power of music, this movie moved me and managed to teach me a few things. As human's we have a constant drum beat coming from our hearts. Music stimulates, heals trauma, and is itself as human as language. I didn't realize for example, the way retirement homes evolved from a shot gun marriage between the poor house and a nursing home. This documentary says "Old isn't broken" and re-iterates the need to care for our elderly, not just medically, but emotionally. And instead of defaulting with medications, the answer just might lie with in the healing power of music. 

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