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Clarity Found in Music

It may be difficult to imagine forgetting, when the act of remembering comes so naturally, even with things we try to forget.

Brain Pickings recently posted an article on a vintage book “Music: Ways of Listening.” Published in the early 1980s, the guide includes the “seven essential skills of perceptive listening,” as written by Elliott Schwartz. Music can play a major role in our lives, depending on how we consume it and Schwartz suggests that people have developed a habit of tuning out, a statement that seems most true in 2012.

But what happens when we tune in?

By now you’ve probably the seen the video clip of an old man who becomes revived from a nearly deadened state, when given the opportunity to listen to music from his past. The clip is from the documentary by Michael Rossato-Bennett “Alive Inside.”

The film follows Dan Cohen, a social worker, who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home. To his and the staff’s surprise many residents suffering from memory loss seem to “awaken” when they are able to listen to music from their past. With great excitement, Dan turns to renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, and we follow them both as we investigate the mysterious way music functions inside our brains and our lives. –Ximotion Media

In a piece I wrote a few months ago, I challenged people to fully take in music, specifically at live shows. I stand by my musings:

Are you afraid that you’ll forget? That the details will be discolored after a week, disintegrating after a month, growing spores and blackened by mold? Fear not. All that is forgotten is not forever lost. If you nurture them, details will sprout recollections that bloom into memories.

Watch the inspiring clip of Henry below…

Alive Inside will premiere Wednesday, April 18 at New York‘s Rubin Museum. For more information, visit the film’s website.  Music and Memory, a non-profit organization, is currently accepting donations of new or used iPods to bring music to elderly or infirm patients across the country.


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