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Music Listening Resources: AMTA Guidance for Music Listening Programs

September 4, 2015 12:52 PM

For decades, Music Therapists have been creating playlists, CDs or “mix(ed) tapes” for their clients to use when the music therapist isn’t present.  Together with the client, the music therapist helps determine the types of music and songs that would be most beneficial for a specific purpose.

A few years ago, Dan Cohen wanted his father to be able to access his preferred music while hospitalized and away from his record player. Dan saw how positively his father reacted while listening to his favorite music on an iPod and wanted every person in skilled nursing facilities to be able to access their own music.  Then Dan founded Music & MemorySM.

This program was introduced nationwide by the film “Alive Inside” in January of 2014. Since then, AMTA has fielded questions regarding both the program and the film. Some music therapists working with older adults throughout the country have been asked to implement a music listening program on their own.

Several states have convened advisory panels, committees or coalitions to implement the Music & MemorySM program including Wisconsin, Ohio, Utah, Colorado and Texas, each with a music therapist involved. Through the Department of Aging, some states have provided funding to facilities for the Music & MemorySM program. Dan Cohen encourages all who take the Music & MemorySM training to involve a music therapist in their program. Since the inception of the program, he has worked with music therapist, Dr. Connie Tomaino, Director of the Institute of Music and Neurologic Function.

In November 2014, after a panel presentation with Dan Cohen at the AMTA National Conference, President Amy Furman convened a work group of experts to provide information, resources and networking opportunities on the topic of Music & MemorySM. The information contained here reflects the beginning of the work this group has done.

Take a look at the selected literature on music listening for older adults. Share the fact sheets at your work place.  Click on the various links for accessible videos, articles and websites.  Should you have any suggestions or ideas, please feel free to contact us.

Hearty thanks to AMTA members Emily Christensen, Regina Dennis, Leslie Henry, Barbara Reuer, Erin Spring, Dale Taylor & Jennifer Geiger for their diligence and focus as well as Alicia Clair, Amy Furman and Andrea Farbman for their review of these materials.

And AMTA members, thank you for your support!  Log in to check out the various forms and templates to help you implement your own music listening program.   We hope you find these resources helpful.