Monday, September 19, 2011

The Music Never Stopped

     Last night, I sat down to watch a movie I have been wanting to watch for some time.  The movie is called "The Music Never Stopped" and it is available in Redbox.  This movie is about a music therapist working with a man who has suffered from a tumor that affected a huge portion of his brain.  One big ability that was affected was his inhibition.  He lacked the restraint and filter he once had when speaking to others.  When somebody would speak to him saying, "Would you like a coke?", he would reply by saying, "It's the real thing."

   The movie continues to show his severe amnesia.  He remembers long term memories from his high school years and below.  The music therapist reveals this information when playing him music.  His mood instantly changes from stiff and passive to emotional and active.  When the therapist found his musical preference, he began telling stories of his younger days.  The therapist continues to work with him and finds that when she turns off the music, he goes back to his passive state.  One technique she used included playing music while asking him to remember a new phrase he had never heard before.  He repeats it back perfectly.  As soon as she turns off the music and asks for the same phrase, he cannot remember.  This is when she tries a new technique.  This technique is a neurologic music therapy technique called Rhythmic Speech Cueing.  When she turns off the music, she says the phrase again but taps out the rythmn while speaking.  She asks him to try the same thing and sure enough it works.  Later on in the movie he uses these techniques to remember a phrase taught to him by the therapist to greet a lady.  Amazingly, he retains this information even though he was not able to retain new memories in the past.  He begins to progress as music is used.  He is less rigid and more active even without music. 

   Towards the latter end of the movie, his father takes him to a Grateful Dead concert which is his favorite band.  He was never able to see them in the past.  At the concert he recognizes most of the songs except for one which he had never heard before.  In the past he had associated his old memories to songs he already knew.  But this new song had the potential for a new memory to keep long term.  He sang the song with his father and they shared in singing together.  If you plan on watching this movie and don't want me to spoil the ending, go ahead and stop reading right now. 

   After this concert and the bonding between them, his father has a heart attack and passes away later.  At the funeral, upon his father's last wishes, the new song by the Grateful Dead is played in remembrance of him.  The son plays back the memory of the concert in his head and tears rush out of his eyes.  He remembered their special time together.  The amazing thing is that he associated a new long term memory to a new song he had never heard in the past.  This shows the great power music can have.  Even when there looked to be no possible way for him to create new memories, music changed his life.  I definitely recommend watching this movie.  It definitely shows the power of music to heal people.

Here is the trailer:

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