03 June 2012

Grandma's Playlist

New studies on the relation of memory and music show critical reasons to let your children know what music lives in your soul.

“A new documentary, Alive Inside, follows the ‘awakening’ that occurs when people suffering from memory loss and Alzheimer’s are given music they have a strong emotional connection to — often, music they grew up with.” Another fascinating movie on how music restores memory is The Music Never Stopped.

Silence, confusion, and the non-responsive behavior of elderly patients in nursing homes changes to positive and engaged when the music that lives in their soul is played for them. “The music worked like a jolt of electricity for patients, transporting them back in time and even allowing them to speak animatedly after the music was turned off.”

So, I thought I better check to see if my children, and my husband, could identify the music that rocks my soul and ignites my spirit. They were a bit shy of the mark, truth be told. The oldest one came through best, naming my first album as an important selection. 

When I was 8, my dad brought home a free album he picked up at a store opening. It was Dylan’s Greatest Hits album, the one with the Milton Glaser poster inside. I barely knew what an album was much less what a Bob Dylan  song was at the time. But I played that album over and over and over until I could sing every song. I liked Dylan instantly.When I was considerably older, I learned to play the songs on the guitar and understood more the significance of the lyrics.

I still have the album cover. The poster and album disappeared when a kleptomaniac in my college sorority house decided she needed it more than I did. 

My oldest daughter also scored points by naming Eric Clapton as one of my favorite artists, if not THE favorite. I missed his early career, including Cream, and only paid attention near the end of The Dominoes and after he'd kicked his heroine addiction in 1973.

The youngest daughter took a shot with the Beatles—assuming, I suppose, that everyone of  a certain age likes the Beatles. And then she suggested Beach Boys. I had no older siblings and was just a few years too young to have really grown up with either of these bands rooted in my soul. Music that engages from the deep memory level is more than just period music.

I told them not to worry, I’m putting a playlist together called, “When I have Alzheimer’s.” If you think you might grow old, say past 75, you better start working on your playlist. Who's on your playlist?

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