Vintage Music Therapy for Memory

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Read our October 2012 informational article on "Memory and Music" by John Lehman. Excellent information, plus an amazing short video showing the power of music!

Our "Vintage Music Therapy" program was featured in the Los Altos Town Crier in September 2012. Read the article.

Kathy, 44 " mom loves the music - she sings along, she remembers when the songs were new... I'm amazed at how much she knows..."

An example at a low function adult day care: Persons could not say the song name or their own name, but could sing every word of every verse of songs 60-70 years old.

Memory Tune-ing

Vintage Music Therapy for Memory

One-eighth of all 65 year olds and half of 85 year olds have Alzheimer's, plus other dementias from other conditions. Accompanying memory loss are isolation, frustration, and depression, both for the afflicted and their caregivers. No prescription drug has proven effective in combatting memory loss. Nearly forty percent of residential care centers in the Senior New Ways service area include memory units. A high percentage of clients at day care centers suffer from memory loss.

Why music?

  • Listening to music enhances memory function per neuroscience (brain pictures)
  • Listening to music uses more / various brain function than any other activity
  • The brain areas which hold melody and song lyrics are the last to be affected by memory loss
  • Music is soothing
photo music therapy session

And why listen to “your” vintage music?   The music of our (13-19) teenage years:

  • Is strongly stamped into brain neurons by hormones, emotional activity and rapid brain development
  • Emotions, images, times, places, are attached to music (“episodes”)
  • Remembering melody uses one side of the brain
  • Remembering words uses the other side
  • Re-hearing "our teenage music" evokes the memories and emotions of those times, and is powerful enough to affect other parts of memory.


Senior New Ways provides Memory Tune-ing Vintage Music Group Therapy
    at SarahCare of Campbell Adult Day Care Center
    at Vi Senior Living in Palo Alto
    at The Terraces at Los Altos
    at Sunnyside Gardens in Sunnyvale
    and at Vintage Silver Creek in San Jose

Previous group sessions were conducted for over one year
    at Bridgepoint of Los Altos
    and at Alzheimers Activity Center in San Jose

Therapy sessions occur twice weekly and include 60 minutes of listening / moving / reminiscing to the actual songs of the attendees’ teenage years.

The therapy may also include optional memory pre-testing, regular follow-up testing, data analysis and focus groups.

Senior New Ways unique and practical memory tune-ing therapy, one with considerable neurological research behind it, is ideally suited to the older adult day care center attendee and the care center memory care resident. This includes residents / clients with dementia-Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, PTSD, and concussion damage from sports.

Our team provides everything necessary for success of this program, with the added benefit of a renowned musicologist, John Lehman, and every popular recording from 1920-on.  USC Alzheimers Research center will conduct data analysis and evaluation on the results collected from our program. USC will further test "yoked" control groups which match as nearly as possible our therapy groups at SarahCare and the Alzheimer's Activity Center.


Attendees listen, move to, sing along with, dance to, and reminisce about the exact recordings from their teenage years, as they played them or heard them on the radio. The brain activity needed to remember the melodies and words to these songs (whether or not they are sung out loud) exercises both sides of the brain in unique ways. The memory functions encouraged and forced by listening to these songs spills over into the remembering of other useful day to day facts and objects and words. With the approval of the host center, we pretest and regularly retest to capture the results of attendees short term and long term memory on cognitive tests, over a six-month or longer period.

The Memory Tune-ing Vintage Music Memory Therapy  is funded by:
*Fee For Service
*Grants and Sponsorships