I came across this movie called 'Alive Inside'.. I had seen it years ago, and forgot about it. It pertains about the ability of 'customized' music to 'wake up' dementia, and alzheimers patients. It was demonstrated, that finding and playing music appropriate for dementia patients, will awaken and lift some of the 'fog' surrounding them.. That is, it can literally wake up catatonic dementia patients.

Music we loved and listened to during our formative years (teens - 30's) will imprint itself in us.. This movie (and the AliveInside.us organization's goal is to get iPods programmed with songs special to elderly dementia patients..

The impact is miraculous. The video shows this one catatonic 94 year man. He just sits slumped over, with his closed all day. unresponsive to anything. When they put headphones on with pre-programmed music of his youth and 20's he comes to life.. The response is profound, and it will bring tears to your eyes.

As most of here are seniors, (and I also belong to PSRTutorial.com - where most members are in 60's - 80's). I find it so refreshing and inspiring that a lot of us are alive and vital creating, playing music. Often others in our age catagory, do very little other than watch TV, sleep, and complain.

The movie explains, that music enters and is processed in our brains, by sections the least and last effected by dementia, and alzheimers. My God-mother had dementia pretty badly back in 90's. She was stuck in a 3 minute loop.. She could speak, but didn't recognize anyone, then would remember, make a few comments, then go back to be unaware of her surroundings, friends, family.. She would just cycle thru this behavior every day..

Once a week, the senior home would have music.. She had been an accomplished but amateur singer.. She would spring to life, remembering any song from her youth, and able to sing every word of every song perfectly. Soon as the music ended, she would go back to her previous condition.

I first started encountering depression in the 80's. (although I hadn't identified my condition then). I would go on 'Beatle binges'. That is I would do nothing but play Beatle songs for hours. I went to Strawberry Fields, in Central Park, NYC on the 20 year anniversary of John Lennon's death. Thousands of people had showed up, some as far away as Japan. There were a lot of musicians, with guitars there. Singing and playing old Beatles songs. Well I remember word for word, every Beatle song performed (at this point, I can't even play any of the hundreds of songs I've written over the years, without notes). I was puzzled and propounded by this phenonem.

I think we as musicians, composers have been blessed to have accepted music as the focus of our life. I have realized for the last 20 years or so. Performing, composing, or listening to music, is when I feel 'more alive' than any other activity.

If you haven't seen or heard of this movie, or organization, do yourself a huge favor and seek it out.