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    Some Reasons To Be Happy About Music

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    We recently read about music instruments stolen from a middle school in Pasadena. It was a heartbreaking to story to read. The children had two big performances that week and only had a few instruments to play.

     

    It just seemed especially cruel that someone would steal from kids. They not only stole an instrument, but stopped them from making art while dampening their hopes and ambition.

     

    Needless to say, we’ve been in a sour mood.

     

    Then, as if the writers for Music.Mic were reading our mind, they posted some inspirational stories about music. Stories ranged from children making instruments out of trash to a group that brings people from warring countries or cultures together to make music. It lifted our hearts.

     

    So, in the spirit of Music.Mic, we came up with a list about the good things that are happening with music in Southern California.

     

    Enjoy!

     

    Yes, the children’s instruments were stolen but the Pasadena community rallied around them and raised $16,000 to replace the instruments and buy a secure locker for storage.

     

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic is bucking a national trend among symphonies. The Phil has one of the largest budgets of any symphony in the country and has an endowment of $222 million. The Los Angeles Times published a series on the Phil’s success and it’s definitely worth a read.

     

    We learned that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has an Expressive Arts and Therapies Department. As KPCC reports: “The department offers clinical and non-clinical services to help patients manage pain and other challenges with their illnesses. On the clinical side, therapists help patients build coping skills to manage their pain and moods. On the non-clinical side, patients can attend art workshops, watch theater performances and more.”

     

    Some of the pictures just pull at your heart strings. We are so happy that people realize the healing power of music and other forms of art!

     

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    Music Therapy Helps Families

    It is well documented about music’s ability to make the brain a better, high-performing organ but a recent new story about a music therapy program for dysfunctional families made our hearts swell.

     

    Reuters reports on a study published in the Journal of Music Therapy that shows how music therapy can be just as effective as traditional programs for helping to repair and rebuild dysfunctional families. Researchers identified 18 families in which the children were on the verge of being removed from their parents due to emotional neglect. Half of the families were exposed to music therapy programs that involved playing instruments, listening to music and playing musical games with the presence of a therapist. The other half of the participants underwent more traditional treatment.

     

    After six to 10 music therapy sessions, parents said they felt less stressed by their children’s moods and felt more empathetic toward them and, overall, reported having less negative feelings toward them.

     

    Yet, all families can benefit from shared musical experiences, not just those who attend formalized music therapy sessions, says Stine Jacobsen who led the study.

     

    “Singing together or singing for your infant or toddler can be a very intimate bonding activity and comes naturally for some families,” Jacobson says. “The earlier you start interacting nonverbally with your child in a meaningful way the more you might see or feel the benefit.”

     

    So sing out loud with your children. Dance in silly ways and listening to your favorite songs. It just might make your family stronger.

     

    The benefits of music therapy has been well documented in other patients. Read our blog post about music therapy’s effectiveness for Alzheimer’s patients.

     

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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    Alive Inside – A Documentary on Music Therapy

    We came across a documentary on Netflix that had us both in tears and full of joy about the power of music.

    The documentary, “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory,” documents a music therapy program that assists elderly people living with dementia in nursing homes. In the beginning, you see the patients who are lethargic, lacking in emotion and sometimes completely unresponsive. Then, their caregiver gives them an iPod filled with their favorite sounds from their younger days and a transformation occurs that seems almost magical.

    Their eyes light up, they sing, they move to the beat. When one resident hears her favorite Latin song, she pushes aside her walker and starts dancing. Another wheelchair-bound man moved his legs fervently upon hearing “Oh Johnny” by the Andrews Sisters. A woman who spends her days and nights in bed with her eyes closed begins moving her entire body once headphones are placed over her ears.

    It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

    “The parts of the brain which are involved in remembering music and responding to music are not affected too much in Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias,” says neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks in the documentary. He also has published his own research on music called Musicophilia.

    The key is to give patients music that they like and reminds them of their youth. Given that most have lost their memory, caregivers do a lot of research to find music that will have a strong connection for their patients.

    According to the documentary, there are 5 million people in America living with dementia. And the music therapy program the documentary highlights, Music & Memory, is trying to reach nursing homes throughout the country.

    “What we’re spending on drugs that mostly don’t work dwarfs what it would take to deliver personal music to every nursing home resident in America,” says gerontologist Dr. Bill Thomas.

    If you’re looking for ways to give this holiday season, Music & Memory is accepting donations and your used iPod shuffles.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

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