“Basically, in amnesia, whether or not it’s with Alzheimer’s, you’ve lost your life. You’ve lost your past, you’ve lost your story, you’ve lost your identity to a considerable extent. You can get some feel of it, for a little while, with familiar music.”
Oliver Sacks: physician, author, and professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine
“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realise that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all...Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing...it can erase an entire life, as it did my mother’s...”
Luis Bunuel, Film Director
“People with dementia respond very well to music. The parts of the brain that process music are often not damaged in dementia”
“...all (patients) without exception respond to music... The past is not recoverable in any other way; it’s sort of embedded in amber in the music, as it were, and people can regain a sense of identity, at least for a while. One doesn’t have to be especially musical to respond to music, to recognize, to react to music emotionally, despite a severe dementia.”
“...in a severe dementia, one may have lost the power of language, and may have lost most of one’s ‘event’ memories, so one can remember very little of one’s past, but one will always remember songs one has heard, and sung, and familiar music.”
“… and music itself, the parts of the brain which respond, are very close to the parts of the brain concerned with memory and with emotion and mood…familiar songs will bring back memories, which perhaps will be of when the music was originally heard, perhaps an outing of some kind, the kids were there, all of this which has been lost in amnesia, will come back… embedded in a familiar song.”
David Walters, Chief Executive MRI
“… I guess the stand-outs are N, the engineer from Ghana and Nigeria with his strong voice and deep memory of verses beyond the couple of verses we all know, like Daisy Daisy. Imagine him singing this 2nd verse.”….
"Albert, Albert, here is my answer true!
I can't cycle nearly as fast as you.
If you can't afford a carriage,
There'll be no blooming marriage.
For I'll be blowed if I'll be towed
On a bicycle made for two…!"
“… and trembling A, the ballroom dancing teacher, singing away with sweet threads of sound in tune but not on the same page of our songs, and who looked at me last time and said ‘thank you’…”
Jackie Shipster, Singing Assistant, Singing for Wellbeing