Written by Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC
Board Certified Music Therapist on staff at Piedmont Music Therapy, LLC
Do you have a song that takes you back to a specific place and time? And everytime you hear that song, do you have the same response? For me, that song is “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi circa 1986 - my junior year of high school. I have a specific memory of driving in my car around town listening to my cassette tape playing the stereo in my car as loud as it would go (even though the sound was so distorted!). It is summertime and I have the windows rolled down and the breeze is blowing in my hair while I sing at the top of my lungs. So what is it about certain songs that can prompt these memories?
Various researchers have studied this topic and there are several themes. Firstly, brain imaging studies show that when we listen to our favorite music, our brain becomes stimulated and “feel good” neurochemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin are released. These chemical changes in the brain are neurologically connected to the musical stimulus and the more we like the song, the more chemicals are released and the better we feel. Secondly, during the ages of 12 and 22, our brains rapidly develop neurologically and it appears that music preferred during this time of our lives is the music that sticks with us forever. This music is also connected to strong emotions thanks to an influx of growth hormones produced during this time. Thirdly, according to Daniel Levitan, a neuroscientist and musician, music listened to during these ages of 12 to 22 is significantly impacted by our social circle and becomes connected to our personal identity.
If we consider the significance of how music can invoke such connections, we can also look at how this phenomenon can be used therapeutically. In using music as a memory or reminiscence tool, music therapists working with older adults can choose music based on the client’s young adult years. I have found that using music from around age 20 is a good place to start. Then, using a search engine to find popular songs from that year is my next step. For example, if I was working with an 80 year old, I would look for music from the 1960’s. Using the website www.billboard.com is a wonderful resource as searches can be conducted based on the year and the results include the most popular music during that time. Combining this knowledge with the client musical preferences (i.e. show tunes, gospel, etc.) can help narrow down the field of possibilities. As these songs are incorporated into the sessions either live or recorded, the therapist can observe the client for positive or negative responses. Positive responses would suggest the continued use of this song and incorporating similar music (such as tunes by the same musician or group) whereas a negative response such as crying might indicate a need for further exploration into past experiences.
Thanks for downloading these worksheets for your leisure. We hope they were enjoyable!
Comment below with any song titles or artists you discovered:
Test your knowledge of song titles from 11 various genres, some of the clues include who sang the song. Answers will be posted to the blog on Monday, 4/13/20. We hope these worksheets will be enjoyable during a leisure break for you!
Thanks to Anabella & Nora, PMT Volunteers in high school for their time creating these. Please share with your friends and check back on Monday to check your guesses.
Written by Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC.
I recently had the privilege of attending the Southeast Region (SER) Music Therapy conference held in LaGrange, Georgia. This once a year conference is a time for music therapists to learn, connect and grow with each other through attending continuing education seminars, concurrent sessions and business meetings. And, of course, the ever important networking with other professionals.
As the elected Secretary of the SER, I attended two Board of Directors meeting which included the following persons: Carmen Osburn, President: Christine Leist, Immediate Past President, Minda Gordon, President Elect: 1st Vice President: Martine Bullard; 2nd Vice President: Diane Garrison Langston; Yvonne Glass, Treasurer; Government Relations Chair(s): Rachel Coon-Arnott and Kirby Carruth; Regional Conference Chair: Austin Robinson; Student Advisor: Fred Ra and Student President-Elect: Rachel Barber.
Why is it important to know these names and their positions? According to the SER-AMTA Constitution and By-Laws (Article V, Section 2), “The board of directors shall speak, act on behalf of and represent the membership on matters pertaining to the profession and objectives as stated by the Constitution.” These are the folks who spend countless hours volunteering to serve our region for the benefit of all constituents who are involved in some way with music therapy - whether it be as a therapist, a client, a family member, a co-worker, etc.
You may wonder why myself and others decide to commit to a 2 year position to serve on the Board of Directors. Service is defined as “the act of helping or doing work for someone” Sound familiar? As music therapists, we act, we help and we do work for someone, but we are lucky enough to get paid for it! Service to our profession is just an extension of our role as a music therapist. Throughout my professional career, I have placed an importance on participation in service to the states and regions where I have lived and worked. To me, service is an opportunity to give back to the profession; a profession that I dearly love (and have for over 25 years!). Yes, there is work involved, but when the opportunity arises to know that I am making a difference, the answer is an easy one.
Click here to learn more about SER-AMTA. How have you served your profession? Has it made an impact on your life? If so, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Various songs will be sung, played on guitar and explored.
Here's a downloadable listing of positive affirmations that you may find useful to refer during the exercise led by Kate, MT Intern:
Questions or comments are welcome below...
Providing music therapy services for early childhood to older adults, music instruction and enrichment plus continuing music therapy education in Greater Charlotte Area of the Carolinas.