If music be the food of health, play ON!


How is music processed?
How might we use it to support memory & brain health?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Source: MedicalNewsToday

Music and Physical Health

In last week’s post, an original Tallis Steelyard tale from author Jim Webster, we saw how music awakened the soul of a woman who was struggling with dementia, barely alert until called by the song.

As I noted at the end:
Music has been well documented to remain in the minds of Alzheimer’s patients long after other memories and much of their Executive Functioning capabilities have faded.

Patients often retain memories of well-loved songs, which gives them a great deal of pleasure, and some can still play instruments. The description of life flooding back into formerly vacant eyes in response to music has been reported repeatedly.

Medical researchers have long noted that listening to or playing music can result in changes in our bodies, regardless of our age or current state of mental alertness, however.

For example, lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been observed in the presence of music. Better sleep and a lowered heart rate are associated with listening to music as well.

Even when you are a bit out of sorts, don’t you feel better immediately when a song comes on that reminds you of a particularly happy memory?

Science rings in

Dr. Charles Limb is a musician and surgeon who specializes in cochlear implants at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He has been researching how our brain makes that happen. He and his team analyzed neurological responses to a variety of music, especially jazz and hip-hop.

In studies with magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], they have been particularly interested in finding out which areas of the brain “light up” when jazz musicians are improvising or rappers are “freestyling.”

The Universal Language?

They observed that the areas of the brain activated when jazz players are improvising are actually the language centers of the brain (the inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior superior temporal gyrus).

When rappers were freestyling with their eyes closed within the MRI scanner, the researchers observed major activity in the visual and motor coordination areas of the brain.

  • Connection to movement centers certainly makes sense, if you think about it. Since rappers are usually moving when they rap, those areas are likely to be brain-linked.
  • But the visual areas?  Hmmmmmm . . . neurolinked to a video perhaps, or choreography?

Seeing when you listen

Haven’t you noticed that when you listen to music your brain sends you visual information as well — a flash of the club where you first danced to the tune, or the face of your partner when it came on the radio, right before you kissed for the first time?

Some people imagine scenes of their own private movie as they hear certain orchestral arrangements. Others report seeing abstract colors and shapes that flow and change with any music they hear. Maybe you see a few moments of a particular marketing video?

I challenge anyone who’s ever watched one of Michael Jackson’s music videos to listen to that track on the radio without at least a flash or two of a moving image!

Even in a Scanner

The brain seems to call upon its language, visual and motor coordination mechanisms when imagining and responding creatively to music both, even when the participants are lying still, eyes closed, and within a scanner.

In fact, Dr. Limb’s team found that the areas of the brain that were formerly associated with interpreting music – the angular gyrus and the supra marginal gyrus, which process semantic information (meaning, vocabulary, etc.) – are deactivated while musicians are improvising.

So what does that indicate about memory and healthy brain aging?

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Does music make memories “stick” better?

Ging-Yuek Hsiung, assistant professor in the Division of Neurology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, has been using functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] to determine the scientific basis for the benefits seen with music therapies for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In the patients with Alzheimer’s, Hsiung found their brains “lit up” in a very different way when they were engaging with music than when they were listening, speaking or reading.

That led Prof. Hsiung and his team to suspect that the brain encodes memories of music in a manner somewhat differently than it encodes memories in other arenas.

Hsiung’s results suggest that when a memory is associated with music, the information that makes up that memory is stored across several different areas of the brain, rather than consolidated in one particular location.

He believes it would be likely to take much more brain damage or degeneration to erase a music-related memory than a regular memory – so that the music-related memories would remain more reliable throughout life.

That certainly changes how we feel about kids who insist on studying with music blaring in the background, doesn’t it? Maybe we need to insist that they turn it down rather than off!

But wait, there’s more . . .

Researchers are currently investigating whether music can be used effectively to access and stimulate damaged areas of the brain. They have have had some initial success in stroke patients, reporting improved memory and lowered levels of stress hormones, displaying fewer symptoms of irritability and depression.  WOW!

GREAT news, huh?

So go turn on some music – or play some.
It seems to be great for your brain!
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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

134 Responses to If music be the food of health, play ON!

  1. Christy B says:

    Wow Madelyn this is an awesome post! I love that you tie in music with health, pulling up research and explaining so much of what we experience while listening to jazz and other genres. I’ll be thinking of you the next time I “car dance” in my driver’s seat at a red light 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • hahaha! Most of my car dancing days were in my teen & college years, when I drove along to pop music. If I turn on my car radio at all these days (lousy sound), it is usually to talk radio on a long car trip – and my CDs are mostly jazz, so I do a lot of head bobbing. 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A brilliant article, Madelyn. I absolutely love music and most songs that I listen to put me in a good [read as better] mood than I was in before. I always listen to my favourite music [there is lots] on my way to work so maybe that is why I always arrive very happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GREAT idea to play happy-tunes to transition from work-stress so you arrive home in a good mood, Robbie

      I took a rare day away from the ‘inet yesterday and played music ALL day, falling asleep to it when I was finally ready for bed. Quite restorative.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Scott says:

    Thank you – will save post to re-read. So good to hear that research backs up what has almost been intuitively known for aeons – that music lights up various areas of the brain, some beneficial in some way to the listener, in other ways maybe not so healthy eg music that is extremely loud and jangly. May those who suffer dementia, maybe depression and other such, be inspired to ‘listen to music’ …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here, here, Susan! And may all who already listen to music be more conscious about their choices.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and ring in.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie discusses the link between music and our physical health – a fascinating read!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Again, John, I so appreciate your support – especially of positive studies like this one.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Madelyn – it’s a great post!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, John. I was happy to find the study on Medical News Today.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  5. There is such profound healing in music. 💚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Madelyn for such an interesting post. I imagine that there is so much more to music than we suspect. I cannot imagine life without it. Singing gives me such a boost. My young cousin is visiting hospices and working with the dying to create their Swan Song. There is si much more that can b

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment. I, too, love to sing – and even tho’ I was a far better actor than singer, I truly adored doing musicals because they were just so much fun! “Boost” is a great word for it.

      Your cousin’s hospice project sounds fascinating. Have you written about it?
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Madelyn. I shall ask him if he would like to be featured. He is a very modest young man. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • It could be a big help to others – that might transcend his modesty?
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

          • I will do my best. X

            Liked by 1 person

  7. blondieaka says:

    I am so pleased to hear that science is now recognising what I have always believed…Everyone should have music in their life and it should be mandatory in schools even if they are tone deaf and only play a triangle all kids should be taught to play a musical instrument..I was the favourite Nannie when I bought the drum set…lol…A lovely post to raise that awareness, Madelyn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Carol. I have been so pleased by the positive response this post has received. I decided to publish it because I agree with you that more attention deserves to be paid to the amazing benefits of music. Thank you so much for ringing in in support of that thought.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • blondieaka says:

        You are welcome Madelyn I love music as we all do my youngest daughters favourite for years was Handels Water music her brother used to go mad and say mum can’t you make her turn it off…I never did…lol… he had to live with that until she discovered pop music x

        Liked by 1 person

        • lol – when my sister’s kids were young the rule was HEADPHONES! She lived in a NYC apt. with an opera singer husband and two “head-bangin’ ” boys with slightly different musical taste. Her home would have been a bizarre battle of the bands otherwise (which it was when the boys were practicing or Don was vocalizing).

          If it hadn’t been for escapes to the park, I think she might have done something drastic on a few days. 🙂
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • blondieaka says:

            Ha Ha…I see none us escaped the mix of musical preferences…

            Liked by 1 person

            • I know – it used to make me crazy when I had to get used to a new mix with every new beau.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung – Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks again, Michael. I love it when I can report on an uplifting bit of news, and it is wonderful when someone like you helps to spread it around. ::kisses::
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  9. dgkaye says:

    Fab post M! The thing about music is everyone can relate to it, no matter the genre. It does evoke memories in all of us – that certain song that reminds of a certain moment in time. It is soothing so no doubt it calms cortisol. It’s been documented that many a patient with Dementia or Alzheimer’s reacts to the stimulation of music, especially since those sufferers often get lost in the past with the disease. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got point, Deb. The older memories seem to be the ones that remain longest with the dementias – easily stimulated, I’d suppose, by the tunes of that time.

      One thing I’ve never seen a study about is drug addiction/overdosing in musicians – especially in the rock & pop community. That seems to fly in the face of everything else we read about music’s benefits. I’ve always wondered if it only seems so because most of the deaths are so highly publicized, or if there’s a reason for the anomaly (like the unremitting pressure of being in the public eye). Your cortisol comment made me think of it).
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  10. paulandruss says:

    Wow, this is absolutely brilliant Madelyn, I have learned so much in this article how about how the brain stores memories and the senses are inter-related. A real eye opener… not to mention an ear opener!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, find it interesting to learn how our brain makes everything happen “under the hood.” So nice to know that that you do too, Paul, but ear opener? ::truly a groaner:: 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulandruss says:

        As they say Madelyn, if I bring a groan to someone’s face then my day hasn’t been wasted!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary Smith says:

    Great post, Madelyn. It’s something I’ve been interested in since seeing how music affected Dad when he had dementia. I was astounded to realise he knew the words of every Jim Reeves song even though five minutes later he couldn’t remember where he’d been.

    I don’t know if you have heard of the work Sally Magnusson has been involved in since she saw how much music mattered to her mother when she had Alzheimers? She recommends we all put together our own personal playlist for later.

    Here’s a link: https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mary – especially for letting me know about Magnusson and Playlist for Life. I paid only a quick visit and plan to return to check around. What a wonderful idea and a wonderful resource.

      If you’ve written a post about music and your father (or the PlayList project), please leave me a link in a comment or two and I’ll move them up (and/or link them to something I eventually write about this project)

      There’s an older post here with a couple of recommendations along the same line (planning now “for later”) that you might find interesting: How do you want to die?

      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Smith says:

        I’ll need to check back and see what posts I wrote about Dad and the musical minds sessions. I also wrote a feature on it (a very local article but equally relevant more widely) and will see if I have a pdf of it, which I can send to you.

        A friend of mine, David Clark, is heading up a research programme here in Scotland about ‘end of life’ matters. Here’s a link to the blog and I think from there you can probably find other links to the research. http://endoflifestudies.academicblogs.co.uk/about-this-blog

        Have you read Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal? It’s fascinating, uplifting, hopeful and terrifying.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Mary, and for the link as well. No, I haven’t read Gawande’s book — I’ll put it on my TBR list! If you find the pdf, may I allow others to read it through a download here? Either way, may I quote from it?
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

          • Mary Smith says:

            Yes, of course. Do remind me if I don’t come up with the goods in the next couple of days – so much going on right now with new book out and I’m taking part in a ‘human book’ event at the weekend and I’ve only the vaguest notion of what I’m supposed to be doing. I think you’ll be glad to read Gawande’s book.

            Liked by 1 person

            • No rush, Mary. I’m queued through October already, so I probably won’t be trying to do more about music until November or December (a good Christmas post, yes?)
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    As I pack up for the night I like to leave you with something to think about. I have always maintained that music is another food group and when I look back on my life, I recognise there were times when music was instrumental(no pun intended) in keeping me going. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie expands on this in her post with some avenues of research I have been following too. The work with dementia and stroke patients that has identified that music can reach parts of the brain that speech and activities cannot. I cannot imagine my life without music… head over and read the article and discover why.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Sally, for the reblog. I feel like I’m quite late to the party, having been away from my computer for a day, but I am no less grateful and I want to make sure your KNOW that.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you had a wonderful day away from the computer Madelyn… and you never have to apologise.. hugsx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Love Story got it wrong — “Love means [always being willing to] apologize” – lol.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think ‘compromise’ should be in the vows..xxx

            Liked by 1 person

            • As long as that word isn’t defined to mean that everybody gives up an equal amount to keep the happiness/unhappiness seesaw level – lol.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful post, Madelyn. I think music is one of the foundations of creation and exists naturally in all things. That rhythm of the ocean waves and the beats of our hearts are a couple obvious examples. When I worked with little kids who didn’t speak English, the first and easiest way to pick up the language was with songs. It’s no wonder that it’s the universal language and has a way of reaching through the barriers of separation, learning, and decline. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautiful comment, Diana, thank you. We have MUCH to learn about the vibrations of the universe – all filtered through our senses and interpreted by our brain in various ways – some as sound, sight, etc. and others in other ways. As I often say (like a broken record – lol), we need more science FUNDING!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Fascinating studies supporting what I’ve long suspected – thank you, Madelyn, for this excellent article. Since I am one of those strange people who see music in colors and hear colors as music, I can very much relate to the concept of visual impact of music. For instance, Jackson Pollack’s paintings sound like symphonies to me, and I can stand and listen to them for hours.
    However, the memory aspect of it is a novel one to me, and a very important one, as I am sure it is to many of your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fascinating, Dolly, but not as “strange” as you might think, science is learning – tho’ your synethesia is more dramatic than that experienced by many. Even our emotional reactions to certain colors and certain types of music will probably be found to have similar underpinnings.

      Have you read the two comments under this post underscoring the use of music to bring loved ones back from comas? (Sue’s and Bernadette’s) Sue’s son Nick’s story is especially dramatic – and she credits music for returning his memories of how to walk and talk to him.

      Earlier article about Nick shared on another post: Nick: A Personal Triumph over Brain Damage – but music is only mentioned in the comments on this one.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Our emotional reaction to colors has been very well described by Picasso; however, I am not aware of any musicians or composers who have done the same for music.
        Yes, I have read comments, and Sue’s son’s story is incredible, especially the effect of music on his recovery – amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

        • JUST found out about a new site linking music and memory (from Mary’s comment here). I love how much there is to be learned, and how much I find out about it, thanks to the blogging community.

          I found another post written by a reformed Rabbi about mental health and the High Holy Days, btw, and left her breadcrumbs to your site.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you; I’d very interested to read up on linking music and memory. As to the reform Rabbi, I doubt she’d be interested in my site, and I am afraid it’s mutual. Don’t get me wrong, please; a good friend of ours is married to a reform Rabbi who is a lovely lady and with whom we have a great relationship. However, public forums constitute a deeper issue which I can’t even discuss in a public forum.

            Liked by 1 person

            • This one’s a bit different – you might like her approach, and I think she’d LOVE yours. But I DO get that there are some significant differences (none the least of which is Rabbi gender).

              No pressure from me, either way.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • It’s not about approaches; as you might have noticed, I am quite open to differences of opinions and beliefs. It is still a public forum, and there is a specific law about it.

              Liked by 1 person

            • AH, I wasn’t aware of that. ‘Nuff said.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  15. Bernadette says:

    I absolutely believe that music can help restore brain functions. When Andrew was in a coma, my son David, who has a PhD in music, said to get head phone and the Goldberg Variations and play it around the clock. I truly believe that doing this helped retrieve Andrew from the grey zone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was unaware of that, Bernadette, but I have no doubt that you are right on about the healing supplied through the vibrations of music.

      Sue Vincent left a similar comment about music bringing her son Nick back from a protracted coma following severe brain damage and recover cognitive functioning subsequently (speech return, etc) — where he was expected to have little to no functioning if he ever recovered.

      We have MUCH to learn about the benefits of music – and much that we know already is buried in scientific tomes rarely read by the public at large (and often misreported by the press – sometimes misrepresented even the “second tier” science pubs).
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  16. noelleg44 says:

    What a good post! Music does indeed soothe the savage beast! I have so many memories attached to different songs – and I notice they now offer music to people having MRIs (anything has to be better than being in a tube with all the clacking noise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Noelle. Noisy indeed in those tubes, and tough to relax and stay still. And, of course, you can’t wear headphones or take in some sort of music playing device. Are they now piping music in?
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

      • That’s what I understand. Gotta be better than all that clanking!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Almost anything WOULD be – lol.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  17. Jennie says:

    I’m so glad to read this post, Madelyn. Music is one of the most important and powerful parts of my preschool class. It stimulates the brain. It fills the heart. I sing the words to the books I read. I have children jump as they sing letters and words. I tell children that the music goes into their ears and then into their heart. If we’re painting I add, and out your fingers (yes, we paint to music).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just read on Sally’s reblog that you have written a post about this? PLEASE come back and leave us a link — I’ll move it up.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennie says:

        Hi Madelyn! I sent Sally my four posts from the archives, as part of her new series, posting the old, early-on posts from bloggers. One of mine is on music. She likes it, thus her comment. 🙂 She has scheduled the posts to run from 10/01 to 10/22. I don’t know when the music post will appear, and of course I don’t want to upset the apple cart. You will love the post!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll keep an eye out for it and snag the link to Sally’s repostings. Thanks for responding.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

  18. -Eugenia says:

    Excellent post, Madelyn. Music has been my best friend from a very early age. My mother loved music and passed it on to me. “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Maya Angelou

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Eugenia. I LOVE that quote – but then so much of what Angelou has said resonates with me. I’m glad this post resonated with YOU. This has proven to be a topic that speaks to a lot of people, so I will continue to research to add another post about the benefits of music ere long.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  19. colinandray says:

    Anybody who says that more music is good for me…. gets my “happy vote”! Thanks Madelyn. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mine too, Colin!
      xx, mgh

      Like

  20. I guess we didn’t really need the science to reinforce the power of music in our lives, but it is all so fascinating. The connection with emotion, memory, language development, brain triggers. I use music to match or elevate my mood, it always works for me…even going for the sad songs at times when a good cry is important. Lovely post, M.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lol – we don’t NEED the science, but some folks won’t believe it until science rings in – so I’m always happy to see that some science guy got funding to study it. I wish we could learn MORE about the benefits of music.

      I do the sad music thing too – for the same reason – and a driving beat in the background makes cleaning chores less odious.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • colinandray says:

        Going off on a bit of a tangent perhaps but ” but some folks won’t believe it until science rings in” really arouses my interest! We have been really well brainwashed by science such that so many people will not accept what is not scientifically proven. Conversely, it probably does not exist of science cannot prove it to be so. I find that level of arrogance incredible, because it is inferring that “science” knows everything there is to know about everything. There are many scientists who do not believe that, so why do so many non-scientific folk???? We are an odd species! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not a tangent at all, Colin for THIS blog! Much of science is misreported – by the press and on various blogs – usually overstating (in both directions), often flat-out lying. And public [lack of] understanding is fueled by soundbites biased by agenda.

          What most people don’t understand is that “the scientific method” – and the reason for replication studies – has its foundation in the idea that theories must be “falsifiable,” with studies designed from there.

          Credible scientists know that they can’t really “prove” anything, they can simply study and report on high degrees of correlation – or lack of any. Studies can uncover truths but not really “proof”s.

          And, of course, playing fast and loose with that “proof” concept, they can’t prove what they don’t study. Which all comes down to bio-medical research FUNDING – which our current so-called “leader” is hell-bent on getting rid of. (Don’t get me started!)
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

          • colinandray says:

            I stalled at “leader” (in last paragraph)! His arrogance makes him totally oblivious to common sense, courtesy, diplomacy etc. etc. Two of him in the world would be very dangerous but……. damn……… there are two in the world!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah, that’s why I put “leader” in quotes – I refuse to type his name, and don’t grant him the respect of office. Respect must be earned. He hasn’t. Not any more fond of his appointees, and find his second especially odious.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

  21. People with an ABI are really connected when it comes to music. Example: A guy I’ve met in the ABI Community was in a coma(presuming for some length of time considering what a Nuffer He is) He recalls the song that was on the radio when he awake. Stairway to heaven! Cheers,H

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have a small anecdotal study going on here in the comments about the impact of music on coma states. Thanks for adding to it, Helen.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sue Vincent says:

    Music has played a huge part in Nick’s recovery. When he was still in the coma, we constantly had his favourite music playing and the best DJs of the genre put together mixes and recorded messages especially for him. Those same songs still affect his mood and abilities dramatically… motivating him when he gets down, energising and generally lifting him up. I am convinced that the healing qualities of music need to be further explored.

    Picking up on Jim’s comment and your response, I agree that the cadence of poetry is fixed firmly in memeory, especially when learned young and associated with love. I also believe that many of the ancient teaching stories were crafted in poetic forms for just that reason…so they could be remembered, shared and transmitted to future generations.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Incredible that you thought to play music during Nick’s recovery – and so very smart. I’d like to see more research on the positive effects of music during all sorts of hospitalizations, including anesthesia and coma — as well as its use in healing afterwards.

      I know you are right about the poetic cadence of the ancient teaching stories – when the oral tradition was essential since so few could read and write. I’m sad to see that there is so little focus on memorization in many schools today. Just because we can always “Google it” doesn’t make it a good idea, brain-development wise.

      Great comment, Sue. Thanks for ringing in.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Vincent says:

        Music mattered to Nick. We could not reach him in any other way… but hearing is one of the last senses to go, even at the moment of death, to which he was very close. The nurses would turn it down or off… we turned it back up enough for him to hear… we hoped. Even though his memory centres were mangled by the screwdriver, the music-related memories remained when he began to recover and it was childhood poety that brought his speech back online. I agree, there needs to be much more research done here… xx

        Liked by 2 people

        • Nick is a miracle in many ways – and a true inspiration to all.

          I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to be able to do little but watch and hope – and then to stand by as he recovered each of his former abilities. I’m especially intrigued by the childhood poetry and his speech centers.

          Surely that screwdriver missed mangling his hippocampus, thank God, and his brain reorganized itself – in ways science barely understands still – to bring other memory centers back online. Truly incredible what he has been able to accomplish with true grit and an unusually strong sense of positive conviction of Spirit.

          We need more research funding for things like this – it could teach us so much about the brain and the Mind.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

          • Sue Vincent says:

            His entire brain, including the brainstem, was compromised by the subarachnoid bleeding, swelling and consequent intracranial pressure. Surviving was miracle enough, even according to the doctor who hugged me, as excited as I at his first movement… but to do so with so much of himself intact was incredible.

            I truly believe that in treating him as if he were still with us and reaching him through the senses with music, by talking to him and reading childhood books, using fragrances and touch, that we helped him find the way back.

            It was the Dr Seuss books we used for his speech. Reading them, with the familiar pictures and memories… and perhaps the memory of confidence he gained from using them to teach his little brother to read too, so long before… we sorted his speech with much laughter… which in itself is a healing thing.

            Liked by 2 people

            • AGAIN – we need another button! So difficult to hit “like” to notify you that I had seen this comment – except for knowing about Nick’s miraculous recovery, of course. YOU know first hand about the tragedy of inflammation and swelling – in addition to, and on top of, bleeding due to damage caused by anything “physical.”

              I LOVED the mention of multi-modal approaches to bringing him back, however – and to treating him as if he could be reached during the time when you had only faith and instinct to guide you.

              Your Dr. Seuss portion also speaks to another good reason to read to kids when they are growing up!!!
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Wecould ‘do’ nothing, so e tried everything… as well as a few less ‘conventional’ methods. Something worked 🙂 The police, after speaking to the doctors, were already treating it as a murder case…

              I agree, reading to children creates more than just a love of books and the bonding those stories bring. xxx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Before Nick marked his site private I read what he had to say about, essentially, being given up on by police and hospital personnel.

              Thank God he had a mother like you – the apple didn’t fall far from the strength-of-resolve tree!!
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Just stubborn 😉 xxx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Another word for stubborn is resolute – lol. 🙂
              xx, mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              LOL 😀 xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennie says:

              Sue, thank you for sharing this. Reading what Nick loved as a child, Dr Seuss, and playing the music he loved was the best thing. It has reinforced what I know in my heart to be the most important things.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Our instincts – when we pay attention to life – are frequently spot on, even though we have few metrics to support them and would have a tough time designing a study to gather them (much less get said study funded!)

              Try explaining that to some of today’s educational “gurus” however. ::sigh::
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennie says:

              Beautifully and perfectly said, Madelyn. Thank you!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks, Jennie.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennie says:

              You’re welcome, Madelyn.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Thanks, Jennie. Curiousl, his journey back to himself mirrored the journey from birth to adulthood quite closely…as if the brain and emotions needed to recap before he could progress.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Fascinating to me, Sue.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Oddly enough, it was a sci-fi book that gave us the only real clue how we could tackle his recovery. https://wordpress.com/post/scvincent.com/18186

              Liked by 1 person

            • Hopping over to read now.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Maybe NOT – I’m getting a prompt that makes me think that perhaps you are editing it right now?

              Anyway, Tink and I are off to bed, so I’ll check again after I’ve had my “morning” coffee IV.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Fixing a broken link xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Always something ::sigh:: . . . You may have to leave the new link (or the post title) for me to be able to read it – still getting a weird error message.

              I’ll check it out again tomorrow. G’nite.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Sleep well xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennie says:

              That makes perfect sense. The brain is quite a miracle worker.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Neuroplastic change – TRULY a miracle!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennie says:

              Yes!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Sue Vincent says:

              It is… I have learned a lot more about its workings than I ever expected to know and it is a continual surprise.

              Liked by 2 people

            • You and every scientist on the planet – lol.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              🙂 xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jennie says:

              I can see that it is, Sue.

              Liked by 2 people

  23. jwebster2 says:

    I know people who take church services in nursing homes. They will often see people deteriorate over the years, particularly in those homes which do look after people with Alzheimers.

    One thing a lot of them have noticed is that people who the staff wheel in and who are no longer reacting will start to smile, beat time to the music and even sing when you play one of the older hymns they knew when they were younger

    We had a case of a very elderly clergyman who was almost never communicated but who joined in the Lord’s Prayer

    So to me this research appears to be on the right road

    Liked by 2 people

    • Memory is a fascinating thing – what sticks and what fades. I love the thought of these patients reacting to old hymns, but I’ve never heard of a prayer coming back. I suppose he said it often enough in his role as clergy that it was ingrained. Amazing!

      The more we learn about the brain the more we realize how much more there is to learn.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • jwebster2 says:

        yes, the old man responding to the words of the prayer were unusual enough for people to comment on it. Apparently a similar response has been seen to the 23rd psalm. It may be that they verge on poetry? It may be pure familiarity.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The cadence is surely part of it, as well as the repetition. I can still recall my lines from plays I did many times, and a few of my oft-used audition monologues, tho’ I haven’t been in the biz for over 20 years now.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • jwebster2 says:

            It is interesting that the King James Version (which everybody remembers) was written to be read aloud (so it has more synonyms than strict accuracy might call for) so it stresses the whole poetical feel

            Like

  24. Lucy Brazier says:

    Ah, Music! It is like magic. There is always music on in my home, I would be lost without it, it is the most beautiful and pure of all the arts.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can only work to certain types of music (soothing – not focus pulling). I clean etc. to still another (give me that driving beat to keep me at it). But it always amazes me what music of any sort does to lighten my mood – every single time.

      Thanks for popping in, Lucy. I hope that means you have posted a new Poirot, giving you time to pay me a visit. I’m heading over to find out NOW!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lucy Brazier says:

        There is music for every occasion, every mood! It’s the closest I get to religious feelings.
        Yes, there is a new Poirot, Hastings is leading the way, as ever!
        xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Just popped over and read your b’day post – happy, happy! Tried to comment but I’m not sure if it took. And noticed I’m behind by TWO Poirots. It will be like finding Porter Girl all over again – not having to wait to read the next one (once, anyway).

          And you write horror as well? Is there no END to your talent?
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Lucy Brazier says:

            Thank you, it was a super birthday! Please do enjoy the Poirots at leisure. I don’t usually write horror but I thought I would give it a go for the anthology – and both stories were accepted! It really isn’t my strongest suit, but it’s good to step outside of the comfort zone once in awhile.
            xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’m looking forward to reading them ALL. You know I love your writing.
              xx, fan-girl 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            • Lucy Brazier says:

              Big hugs my lovely!
              xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Puppy kisses from Tink – and hugs back from me.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  25. I agree with you… music creates images … and they can help to deal with sad or difficult things… and it can be THE memory hook when we try to remember a name or a year…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent point about the “hook.” Thanks for that!

      So many events of our lives are linked to the music we listened to at the time – and so many seem to come flooding back when we hear particular tunes again — even in our heads (and even when our memories are fairly stable otherwise -lol- we don’t have to be “over the hill.”)

      I hardly ever think of some of my old boyfriends – or teachers – for example, and doubt I’d recall some of their names at all but for music’s promptings. But they pop right in when I hear certain songs.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

      • I have a special “cheer me up music memory” and to bring it back in sad moments helps a lot …not for all sad events, but for the common omg-moments it is the perfect “happy pill”

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know what you mean about “happy pills.” The “Happy” song itself is one for me. There are also a few tunes that always bring tears to my eyes – tied to sad memories, even tho’ I love the songs.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  26. I totally agree with your words of inspiration, Madelyn. Music is the Being of the Soul and today people are getting awakened to Music that helps people with so many problems that they sure can be cured. You have described it so well that there is nothing more for me to quote. It keeps you occupied at all times. Thanks for the wonderful share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kamal, you are a darling. I always look forward to your visits because I know you will always make me smile with your positive nature and your loving heart. Thank you.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Welcome dear Madelyn and you know I always love reading your posts cause you write with so much inspiration and encouragement. It really feels so nice to read your posts and there is so much to learn too from your writings. Too good. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Kamal. Reading your comment makes me feel WONDERFUL! I love to hear that you enjoy my posts, but it makes me even happier to read that you learn a few things from them.

          That’s the whole reason I write. And you don’t know how very much I needed to hear this TODAY!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh great dear, good night and love and hugs to you and my cute Tink. Sleep well to rise and shine to a great day.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you, Kamal. We’ll see you in our morning – when we will be saying g’nite to you and Amber.

              btw – did you see Jim’s comment that another Tallis story will be hosted by one of the Indian bloggers? He didn’t say which, but I’m sure it will be announced ere long.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Welcome Madelyn and no have not seen will go and have a look at his site. It will be great.

              Liked by 1 person

            • He left the comment here, so I’m not sure what’s on his site. Haven’t gotten over there yet.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • K Madelyn.

              Liked by 1 person

            • ::yawn:: I really AM going to bed now – almost 5AM here. See you tomorrow, sweet friend.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Good night dear to you and Tink.

              Liked by 1 person

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