Musical Memories: A music therapy class for those experiencing memory loss

On the first Friday of each month, Swallow Hill Music hosts Musical Memories, a class created in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Musical Memories
A Musical Memories participant smiles during class.

The low key class is designed for people experiencing memory loss. “Anybody is welcome in this class,” Swallow Hill Music Therapist Amy Sweetin says. Amy often teaches the class, and helped design it.

The class structure focuses on group singing and instrument playing. Swallow Hill provides ukuleles. The instrument playing stays at a very basic level with the larger goal being community building and engagement with each other.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Music can be powerful.” As their website explains:

Studies have shown music may reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are common in the middle-stages of the disease. Even in the late-stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may be able to tap a beat or sing lyrics to a song from childhood. Music provides a way to connect, even after verbal communication has become difficult.

Musical Memories also takes family members and caretakers into consideration.

“The role of this class is to (also) reach the family members and caretakers in that they are coming to this class for a time of community engagement, and a time to just sing.” Amy says.

The class also provides “a little bit of a mental break for them as well.”

To learn more about Musical Memories and get a sense of the class in action, please watch the video!

Musical Memories is next offered at Swallow Hill Music on Friday, December 1, 2017 from 1-2 p.m. Please watch our website for 2018 dates.

Musical Memories class at Swallow Hill
Musical Memories takes a low key approach and everyone is welcome.