Alive with Music
An innovative, sound-healing program for those in memory care in Portland
Keys to Life’s Alive with Music program uses the best of sound healing, music instruction, and audio technologies to improve its participant’s quality of life. The plan begins with interviews about the participant’s music history, the creation of personalized playlists, and compositions of original music that assist daily routines. Group song sessions, instrument exploration, and innovative audio technologies- including the program’s own Solfege Passive Learning- enrich the experience.
In the spirit of possibility and healing, we at KTL help those with dementia, their family, and their care takers make the best of their time left with us.
Alive with Music focuses on music’s power to heal the individual. Each of the program’s three phases develop, heal, and improve a layer of the self. The progression is cumulative: we deepen and refine the tools of the previous phase while we explore the next.
Phase 1: Retrieve the Self
We interview each participant to learn about their experience of music over their life time: whether they’ve played instruments or sung in choirs, what genres they love the most, and what memories are strongest around music. We then create a personalized playlist for daily listening and maintain a log of each participant’s experience with the assistance of the staff. We compose original music to sing (or listen to) during daily routines to improve functioning.
We also engage in entertaining group song sessions with the teacher leading on piano, guitar, or ukulele. All music is geared to the tastes and memories of the participants and relate to the seasons, holidays, and life events. Instruments are brought in for the residents to explore; dancing and clapping are encouraged!
Phase 2: Secure the Self
We deepen Phase 1 and add binaural beat technology (BBT). BBT is a pleasant listening experience that induces desirable brain waves much like deep meditation. We take notes on the effects of BBT and refine the type and duration for each person. Time spent listening to BBT can be quite relaxing and lead to more moments of lucidity.
Brief interviews are held periodically to asses the effects of the program and adjustments are made. Attention is given to any new memories that come up during this time.
Phase 3: Integrate the Self
We add our own unique technology to the mix: Solfege Passive Learning (SPL). SPL is a relaxing way to learn something new by adding subliminal Solfege (Do Re Mi) to the participant’s favorite music. SPL is relatively brief and meant to augment the Solfege singing that happens in song sessions.
In this phase a document is begun that pulls together the interviews, staff reports, and teacher assessments.
We understand that each Memory Care Facility- its residents and staff- have unique needs and desires and we’re happy to customize our program. For example, some might prefer to focus on weekly song sessions and the creation of playlists without strict logs being kept or the other technologies. Others might want to do without Binaural beats but are excited to try Solfege Passive Learning in addition to the song sessions. Whatever the preference, with our help music will become a part of daily life that gives greater meaning and coherence to each day.
Together we can optimize the program and help our loved ones retrieve parts of their personality, engage more meaningfully in their environment, and learn something new in a pleasurable way.
In creating the curriculum, Keys to Life Founder Sara Kushner researched the impact of music on those with dementia. She created a survey of her findings in the document below. Enjoy!