Feel the life in the music

June 9, 2015


Cello_bridge2Wanna see the healing power of music? Sign-on as a part-time caregiver for elderly clients. Bring your smart phone, tap the Pandora ap and select the Vivaldi channel — or maybe Benny Goodman or Glen Miller or Duke Ellington, or any other band to which they once danced before bidding loved-ones goodbye and boarding a ship bound for war.

I’ve been involved in elder care since late last year and I’ve found it deeply rewarding. These people still possess wisdom amid their occasional dementia. I gain much — and I try to return the favor by listening. I’ve discovered, however, that there’s nothing like music. Their faces light up. They smile. They’re no longer just waiting for the Reeper.

Dan Cohen reveals the healing power of music in a film, Alive Inside. He launched the nonprofit organization called Music & Memory after witnessing dementia patients revive when he put headphones on their heads. Music bypasses the damage of Alzheimer’s (one of the many forms of dementia) because it touches undamaged areas of the brain. It is not a cure, but it does awaken.

I’ve played music for an elderly man now enduring searing back pain. He told me the pain actually diminishes while he hears Vivaldi and Ellington and classical mandolin.

He delighted in the following piece. It happens to be my wife, Andrea Redfern, playing her cello. Not that I’m prejudiced or anything, but I think she’s good. Listen and feel the life.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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