Haven't we experienced tears when we hear a soul-stirring number, or goosebumps when an artist reaches a crescendo through musical notes? We remember certain movies or scenes purely because of the songs or background score. The Bhoota Kola scene in Kantara was more impactful because of the intense Varaha Roopam musical piece. That's the power of music - it can move even the most stoic person.
In India, music as therapy has emerged as a powerful tool to improve mental health and well-being for seniors. Doctors certify that music as therapy can address emotional, cognitive, and social needs and is particularly beneficial for seniors with chronic health conditions or age-related issues such as dementia and memory loss. Music acts as a catalyst during meditation. Yoga uses sound bath or sound bowl therapy to produce sounds at specific frequencies to produce a calming effect on the mind and body. It is an effective meditative practice.
Indian classical music has the power to evoke emotions within us. The interplay of notes, also known as ragas, sets off vibrations that can soothe nerves, cure sluggishness, or induce sleep in an insomniac. Traditional art forms like dance and theatre use music to emote and convey a message. Artists use the notes effectively to express a range of moods. It is interesting to
observe how certain ragas have a natural tendency to uplift a somber mood (Hamsadhwani or Mohanam), send a rush of thrill (Atana) or make you introspect (Saama). However, a clever artist can use the same notes to convey a contrasting emotion.
A wide array of music therapy programs is available for seniors in India, ranging from group singing and instrument-playing sessions to personalized music playlists adeptly designed to help individuals relax and unwind. These programs are carefully curated and customized to address specific requirements and executed by trained professionals who are well-versed in the healing
power of music.
Music activates the cognitive functions of the brain. It is also helpful in modulating our emotions and responses to a situation. How the mind perceives a piece of music varies from person to person. The current state of mind plays a significant role in how the brain perceives a tune. A cognitive behavioral therapist often uses an individual's music preference to customize a playlist and monitors their response to treat unhelpful coping mechanisms.
One of the most notable advantages of music therapy is that it can help seniors connect with their emotions and memories while being fun and entertaining. The mind associates life events with the music close to one's heart. By listening to familiar songs or participating in group music activities, seniors can tap into their own experiences and feelings and express themselves in a meaningful and therapeutic way.
Moreover, music therapy can also significantly enhance mental agility. Research has demonstrated that music can stimulate the brain, promoting the growth of new neural connections and improving overall brain function. Seniors encountering memory loss or cognitive decline have benefited from listening to the curated playlist. By engaging in music-based activities, seniors can exercise their brains and improve their mental agility, which in turn can help them maintain their independence and overall quality of life.
Vedaanta Senior Living organizes various musical events for its senior members. From classical music concerts to film music karaokes and orchestra to in-house antakshari sessions or bhajan satsangs, music is an integral part of the Vedaanta community. We recently conducted a music therapy session in Vedaanta Satsang. The playlist was a soothing instrumental music interspersed with the sounds of Nature. Our residents spoke about how they felt relaxed and rejuvenated afterward.
All in all, music therapy is an invaluable and highly effective tool for seniors in India who are seeking to improve their mental health and overall well-being. Whether through group singing sessions, personalized playlists, or other music-based activities, seniors can reap tremendous benefits due to healing and restorative powers in music.
If you or someone you know wants to improve mental health and well-being, we strongly recommend music therapy. It just might be the key to unlocking a healthier, happier life.
A society that cares for its senior citizens is a civilized and enlightened society. The aging happens on its own without any prompting from our side! It is an issue of mind over matter…if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
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