When I met Tony, he could only utter a few words before losing his train of thought. He suffers from substance abuse after a car accident that left him with chronic pain. He kept repeating himself, as if his thoughts were stuck in a repetitive loop. As I played, I sensed frustration as he tried to express himself. After a few minutes, I asked, “Tony, do you enjoy James Taylor’s music?” He replied, “Yeah man, I dig JT!”
As I played a medley of Taylor’s hits, an amazing transformation occurred. Tony began to sing! As I sang with him, I was amazed to hear him begin to sing harmony. Here was a man who could not speak more than a few words, but could sing lyrics and harmonies to music he learned nearly 50 years ago. I can still see the joy on his face as the familiar melodies carried him back to the early ‘70s.
What mysterious, healing property does music posses? How can music help one patient relax and sleep while helping others recall lyrics from decades past? Music Practitioners routinely experience the power of music in unexpected and profound ways. We approach each session without expectation, so our sessions sometimes feel miraculous as patients respond to the tones and rhythms of therapeutic music.