Have you seen “Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure”? It really is worth a watch.
Vicky McClure teamed up with the University of Nottingham and specialists from the fields of medicine, music therapy and performance to form a band and choir made up of people with dementia, including former musicians and singers, who rehearsed together for a grand performance.
Most of the evidence concerning music and dementia relates to courses of music therapy. A research review published in 2018, looking at music therapy trials in nursing homes or hospitals, found that the sessions improved symptoms of depression and behavioural problems in people with dementia, but said more research was needed to determine the duration and other effects. Other reviews have found evidence that music therapy can help decrease agitation, and that music therapy is effective for reducing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
These images from the programme show on the left how Vicky’s brain responded to ordinary noises, such as a steam train and on the right how her brain reacted when she heard a piece of music. The extra activity is due to memories generated by the piece of music.
There is an overview of what happened, with lots of links to useful sites, here.
One of the things that was demonstrated was that when music is played it lights up areas all over the brain as music invokes memory recall.
You may find the two BBC episodes on the iPlayer, or follow the link here. [available to 7 June 2019]
This is one of the reasons why our Friendship Group has an hour for singing (and dancing) each time we meet.