Music & Memory: Alive Inside

“Music charts the soundtrack of our lives…and music can unlock precious memories.” Carole King

Most of us can appreciate the power of music. It can make us happy. Talk to us when we’re sad. Help us escape, and connect through lyrics. Regardless of our personal taste, we all have songs we related to. Some really bring us back, take us on a trip down memory lane. Sometimes I can almost cue the visceral connection point at the precise cue in a song, where I know I will get chills, flashbacks, or feel my eyes fill up.

Alive Inside

Then I remembered a great movie I had the pleasure of showing in LA a few years ago, Alive Inside, where music literally helps Alzheimer’s patients recover lost memories, by triggering happier times. The hero literally inspires others to come alive. Having direct impact is a great habit to inherit.

June is National Alzheimer’s month and it seemed a good time to give a shout out to this amazing movie. My grandmother passed away from this awful disease, and I know it’s affected millions. While this film win the Audience Award at Sundance, it never reached a wide enough audience at home. The movie still has plenty of opportunity to make a difference.

As I pondered these ideas, I remembered some of the songs playing when I was really young, music that always brings back childhood memories. Norwegian Wood by The Beatles (1965), Nights in White Satin (1967) by the Moody Blues, and It’s Too Late (1971) by Carole King, just to name a few.

Music and Memory

When I re-visited the website for Music & Memory, to get an update on their progress, who do I see as a spokesperson for their initiative?! Carole King. Music and Memory Executive Director Dan Cohen created the initiative from a simple idea: Someday, if he ended up in a nursing home, he wanted to be able to listen to his favorite music, especially those that triggered memories.

He’d heard a news report about how iPods had become all the rage. Why not bring used iPods as well as new ones into nursing homes to provide personalized music for residents? Brilliant. He brought 200 iPods into nursing homes in 2008 to test the theory and it worked. Since then, they have implemented iPod personalized music programs in hundreds of care organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The movie is truly inspirational, and can be seen on Amazon, GooglePlay and iTunes … And you can hear see a Ted talk with the filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett below.

And here is the trailer:

A great example of the arts making a difference. Filmmaking for change, with music and memory.

About the Author:

Jon Fitzgerald is the Founder of Cause Cinema, connecting audiences to the best in social impact Cinema. He is also the author of Filmmaking for Change.