Here’s a thing: I usually talk quietly, but I often sing loudly…
Maybe it’s because a song has “known” words, they’re (usually) already written, and there’s a melody to go with them. The music helps a lot in this area.
Talking with friends the other day about songs I love, I said it’s usually the feeling I get from it – rather than the lyrics in a song – that attract me to it. Maybe I’ll think about the lyrics afterwards, but typically they’re not the initial pull for me…
Though as soon as I write that, it occurs to me: sometimes the lyrics of a song really do hit home, and the melody doesn’t even matter. When they tell a story, or put across a point that gets me right there, it feels like the music is a delivery mechanism for lyrical poetry.
Isn’t it great that music can include both?! Words and melodies coming together… that’s before we even get to harmony, rhythm, modulation, dynamics or anything else.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about music with words, sometimes music can provide a subtle backdrop to a story, guiding in ways that are intuitive or pre-verbal. With its emotional connection, music can sometimes reach parts that words alone can’t.
So I’ll keep singing :)
There are many documented cases where music impacts people with dementia, somehow re-awakening long lost memories. It appears speech and music are handled by different areas of the brain, and songs learned early in life will be retained when other faculties have gone. Here are just a few quotes from articles around this subject – and there’s much more to discover!
“I’ve seen many music therapy sessions where people who can’t speak still sing, or respond to a musical cue. The research we carried out in our homes along with Anglia Ruskin University showed music therapy bringing demonstrable wellbeing benefits for people with dementia. There’s even some suggestion that music therapy could reduce the need for medication.” – Ming Hung Hsu, MHA – Stimulating minds with music and memory
“It made me realise that people with dementia had a special ability to remember songs. Even if people with dementia can’t talk, they may be able to sing, whistle, clap or tap their feet. It helps them, and their carers, to feel life is worthwhile.” Quote on Age UK: Dementia and music
“The aim is to use interactive music and music therapy on dementia sufferers in order to help them maintain function, access memory and connect with those around them.” – article on New Zealand Herald
“My Mum’s communication improved around the time music therapy started. When she had had music therapy, she was different. She was lighter, she was engaged, she was doing something in life that she really enjoyed. She was just a different person, because she had had the therapy. She’s not agitated when she’s in therapy.” – Kathryne Cowhig, quoted on MHA Stimulating Minds campaign