In this Senior Living LIVE! webinar, we sit down with a pair of music therapists to discuss the impact that music has on cognition and memory, and to give a sneak peek into our webinar, Senior Living LIVE! The Power of Music Therapy. Licensed and nationally board certified music therapists Allison Lockhart and Hannah Rhinehart from The George Center Foundation join us to examine the connection between memory and music and help us explore the benefits of Music Therapy, including:

  • Alleviating and reducing stress
  • Increasing focus and concentration
  • Improving memory and brain stimulation

Click the video to watch the preview now, and watch the full webinar by visiting


Video Transcript

- Hello everyone and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. We are so glad you could join us today via video and via podcast. We are previewing our upcoming webinar, August 24th, entitled the Power of Music Therapy. It starts at noon Eastern, and we will have not one but two guests presenters, Allison Lockhart and Hannah Rhinehart. Allison joins me now. Nice to see you this morning, how are you Allison?

- Hey Melissa, I'm excellent. Thank you for having me today.

- Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that this is an excellent topic. It is not something that's always top of mind for people when it comes to music, right? And the ways that it can help us, but as we age music can help so many different people in so many different ways. And of course, we're gonna dive into that in our conversation but first, tell us a little bit about yourself.

- Yes, absolutely. So I am a Board Certified Music Therapist and in the state of Georgia you also have to be a licensed practicing music therapist. I did both my undergrad and my master's degree in music therapy. So it is an actual undergraduate field and career. And I work at the George Center Foundation in Roswell, Georgia. And we serve a variety of neurologic developmental and neurodegenerative disorders at our clinic. We've been around for over 10 years and also as a 501 nonprofit. We focus on raising funds for individuals in the community who otherwise could not afford these services as well.

- Oh, that is fantastic. I love to hear that. Now we know that music is something that gives us pleasure. It gives us enjoyment, but music therapy can help people in a lot of different ways. I want you to tell me a little bit about the origins of music therapy. When did it start? Where did it come from?

- Yes, absolutely. So essentially music has really been around as a tool for medicine since the beginning of time. If you think back to the music man, he was using medicine. So even people in ancient civilization saw this power of it. And as more information and knowledge about how music affects the brain, the mind, your emotions, the body grew music began to be used in a more scientific practice and way. So after World War II, when a lot of veterans were coming back they developed the first music therapy program to assist these veterans with their post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. So that's when music therapy really started as a more evidence-based practice and field, and the first undergraduate program was developed after that and so since then we have just continued to grow as a profession and grow in our research at the George Center we are all in neurologic music therapist, meaning we have an extra certification now and knowing exactly how music is impacting the brain. So with this new technology, we've seen how music can change the brain and the field has just grown from there.

- Oh, that's wonderful. And we're hoping for more and more breakthroughs on that end for sure especially when it comes to our seniors who have or struggling with dementia or Alzheimer's. And we'll talk about that here as well. And I think that's we're gonna get a lot of people tuning into this webinar hoping to find some answers or some ways to help on that end. Now, one interesting fact that I read is that music can help communication abilities for older adults who have difficulties with verbal communication. Have you seen this and how does that work?

- Yes, absolutely. I have seen it. I have a done a lot of work with individuals with dementia and actually to give you an example, I had one older gentleman that was in a facility and he was receiving group music therapy from me. And he'd been at that facility for about a year and a half. And no one there had heard him speak a single word until I came in and we were doing music therapy and we were singing a song from his young adult years that was very powerful to him. And all of a sudden he sang along an entire verse and chorus with me and it triggered that communication. And what that is how that is working, is music is one of the only natural things that is processed by the entire brain. It's a whole brain process. Whereas some of our speech and communication centers are especially for expressive communication, the verbal communication is really mostly targeted in one area of the brain. Well, if that area of the brain is impacted, music can use different channels and different routes and kind of rewire the brain a little bit. We have this philosophy called neuroplasticity which just says that the brain can change and grow. Music actually is known to be able to do that because it's one of the only natural things that releases a hormone called dopamine and that creates more connections in the brain. So when we're able to create more connections in the brain and reroute those communication centers to other areas of the brain, we can then trigger more communication that way and kind of divert away from the more impacted areas of the brain that aren't might not be firing correctly.

- Yeah, excellent. And that's great information that I don't think a lot of people are aware of certainly. Yeah so how does music therapy help with overall cognitive from an overall cognitive standpoint? And I also will ask before it hits cognitive decline for some people can you maybe prevent that with music therapy?

- Yeah, so that's our biggest goal when we're working especially with older adults from a cognitive standpoint is to maintain memory specifically and on those attention skills for as long as possible. And our research does show that we can prevent or prolong the area before we see that decline happen. You know it can't cure it forever, much like we don't have any drug or medicine that can prevent it forever but it can help maintain those skills for a longer period of time, for sure. And specifically we use music lot in terms of memory with individuals with dementia, because we know that that's a big one to focus on and we have a great tool with music and that is been used since our childhood to help us remember information. Music we learn through grouping information together and through repetition, much like we learn a phone number, you group it into chunks and you say it. So from childhood you learn your ABCs to music or you learn the Fifty Nifty United States to a musical information because the melody and the rhythm serve as kind of a cue, a trigger for your brain to help remember information. So when it comes to older adults we can help them with remembering a grocery list or their morning routine or the names of their family members. So we have a music therapist that's working individually with an older adult right now to help her remember her family members and keeping that information fresh and it's been wonderful to see how that has assisted not just her quality of life but the quality of life for her family unit as well which is so important.

- Yeah and so when we will have this webinar we have viewers who love to join our webinars every month. We have two monthly we see them every month and every webinar and they do like to ask questions. So on that end when you talk about it helping someone, if somebody is looking for a way to help a loved one who maybe has dementia, will they be able to get some tips from this webinar?

- Yes, absolutely. We will be providing a lot of tips and tricks for you specific strategies that you can use at home to help with all the skills we've talked about from communication to memory, to attention and cognition and to mood regulation as well.

- Okay, perfect, perfect. So if you're watching or you're listening via podcast write these things down be sure to RSVP so that you can be a part of this conversation. Now, as we start to wrap up here if someone feels like this might help them or a loved one what are some of the first steps that somebody can take to find somebody who specializes in music therapy?

- Yes, absolutely. So if you are in the Georgia area or even outside of Georgia area because now with this past year we were offering telehealth services to people all across the country now, you can find us and there will be a form right there where you can request a consultation with us and we can provide you more information to specifically how we might be able to provide services for you. And if you would prefer not to have telehealth and you are in a different state or area, you can go to which is our national organization's website. And they have a find a music therapist search where they'll give you a list of all the credential music therapists in your area.

- Excellent. And I'm really looking forward to finding out and I know you have powerful examples of people that you've worked with that you can share with us during this webinars. So we don't wanna give the whole webinar away, but we do wanna save some things for the webinar but I'm really looking forward to hearing these stories and I know others are as well.

- Absolutely.

- So-

- We're excited to share them with you, thank you.

- Yeah Allison Lockhart you will be there with Hannah Rhinehart as well. Our dynamic duo for our webinar which is scheduled for August 24th, we look forward to seeing you then.

- Thank you so much. We're looking forward to it.

- Thank you. Now if you want to register for this webinar please head on over to The webinar is free. They're all free. And as with all of our webinars we want you to be a part of the conversation both Allison and Hannah as I mentioned, we'll be available to answer all of your questions. You definitely want to take advantage of this opportunity. Once again, the webinar is called the Power of Music Therapy, August 24th at noon, we can't wait to see you then. Have a great day everybody.


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