WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2016-2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Therapists ask families about their loved one's favorite music. Particularly resonant are songs that were popular when they were in their late teens and early '20s—a time of major transitions, such as leaving home for college, launching a career, or falling in love. "Oliver Sacks said music can actually restore a person to themselves for a time," Harrison says, referring to the late neurologist. "Music car- ries a person through time." A Beach Boys' tune, for example, can trigger memories of a first junior high school dance. Although dementia patients may not recall the details of a particular experience, a song can evoke the emotions associated with it. "We reinforce a person's sense of self and remind them of who they are, that they had a full and meaningful life, and that they still have these connections to people in their life," says Harrison. One of Kynvi's hospice patients told her, "The part of me that loves music doesn't have cancer." Sarah Gagnon, a music therapist with Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care, has played clarinet since childhood. In her work, she sings and performs guitar or a woodwind instrument, depending on the patient's preferences. Aiming to create a soothing atmosphere, she said, "I tell my clients, I would feel complimented if you were to fall asleep while I was playing." Emily MacPherson, a music therapist with Good Shepherd Com - munity Care in Newton, is studying the neuroscience behind the treat- ment as part of her master's studies at Berklee College of Music. In rehab, music serves to both motivate patients and help them coordinate their movements. The regions for processing sound and motor movement are near each other in the brain. "It's easier for a person to move if it's a song with a beat—even more when it's a song that they love," says MacPherson. "If you have noth- ing to give your brain that necessary timing, your movements are going to be more slow and jerky." One of the mantras of music therapists is, "Meet your patient where they're at." That may sound counterintuitive. If a patient is agitated, the 100 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 6 / 2 0 1 7 Much More Than Music to Their Ears Music therapist Lisa Kynvi with one of her patients "It's easier for a person to move if it's a song with a beat—even more when it's a song that they love." Emily MacPherson

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