How You Can Use Music to Improve Your Memory

July 23, 2021

How You Can Use Music to Improve Your Memory

Have you ever been driving along, an old song comes on the radio, and you are immediately taken back to a memory of your past? Maybe you were listening to Britney Spears when you first found out you were pregnant with your first child. Or maybe you listened to the Avett Brothers over and over and over during a bad break up.

Music can be a strong anchor to our memory, and scientists are harnessing their power to help bring back important memories in dementia patients.

In Dan Cohen’s documentary, “Alive Inside,” he shows the potential power of music therapy on aging adults with degenerative diseases. In one iconic scene, a nurse approaches a patient with dementia. She asks him a few questions and he can only muster a mumble. She then puts some headphones on and plays a custom playlist for the patient.

Immediately, the man’s eyes widen and he sits up alert. He sings along to the song and shakes his head to the beat. After a few minutes of listening to music, the nurse removes the headphones and asks him some questions about his life. Suddenly, he is able to answer them with unfathomable clarity.

At JF&CS, we offer the same transformational services in our Music and Memory program. When a client enrolls in this program, our staff research their background and lives. Using their research, they create a playlist of songs the client likely listened to when they were younger. As the clients listen to their personalized playlists, our team is able to ask them questions and dive deeper into their memories.

If you are interested in providing music therapy for an aging adult in your life, contact Georgia Gunter, Geriatric Care Manager at or 770.677.9421 to learn more about our Music & Memory program.