MUSIC AND MEMORY

In today’s world 35.6 million people suffer from dementia with 7.7 million new cases be introduced every year. This worldwide problems leads many older adults isolated in nursing homes where little treatment can be done.  In 2006, founder of Music & Memory, Dan Cohen first came up with the idea when thinking about how when he was in a retirement home he would want to be able to listen to his favorite music.

By 2008, Dan had received funding from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation allowing him to distribute iPods to various retirement homes in New York so that he could test the program. Success stories emerged immediately and in 2010 Music & Memory was declared a non-profit organization.

These success stories were showing that music could be used in a variety of ways to help patients of these retirement homes. While originally thought of to merely to boost patient’s spirits. Scientific evidence quickly emerged showing the correlation between music and improved memory. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music therapy is used because people are able to engage in music without much cognitive functioning. The foundation declares: “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.” These effects can become particularly powerful when the music playing is associated with an event or emotion of the patient’s past. Because of this, Music & Memory makes sure to customize every iPod that is given to the patient.

In 2012, a documentary was made featuring this work called Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory. One particular clip from the film, available below, went viral almost instantly. The clip focuses on a man named Henry who suffers from severe dementia. While at first he is unresponsive and does not recognize anyone, after listening to his music his mood is instantly brightened and he is clearly more lucid. The documentary won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. In the documentary the makers highlight how we tend to try and solve every medical problem with a pill when there are really much more powerful solutions we are not even thinking of. You can watch the trailer below.

To volunteer for this cause or donate an iPod follow this link: www.musicandmemory.org

Henry:

Trailer:


THE LADY IN NUMBER 6

For this week’s post we share the incredible story of Alice Herz-Sommer, who recently passed at 110 on February 23, 2014. At her time of death she was the oldest Holocaust survivor and oldest pianist. Director Malcolm Clarke created an award winning short documentary focused on Alice Herz-Sommer and how playing the piano saved her life entitled, “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”. The documentary can be found on Netflix and clips and can be found on YouTube. (the trailer is below)

Alice Herz-Sommer was born in Prague in 1903. She began playing piano at the age of 5 and by the time Alice was an older teenager she was giving well-attended concerts all throughout Europe. In 1931 she married her husband Leopold Sommer and by 1937 they had a son, Stepan.

In 1939, the Nazi invasion was imminent and everything changed. By 1943, Alice Herz-Sommer and her son were taken to Terezin. This particular camp was different from the others and was a feeder camp of Auschwitz. The Nazi’s brought Jewish intellectuals and other talented people to stay in this camp. The actions of this camp were then filmed and shown to the world to demonstrate that the Nazi’s were treating the Jews well. Terezin had its own orchestra and various choruses of which Alice and her son took part. In the documentary one of Alice’s friends recalls arriving at the camp. She was being stripped and shaven by a prisoner when she mentioned that she played the cello. Upon hearing this talent the prisoner told her not to worry that she will be saved. Sure enough, the cello player quickly was transferred into the unit with the orchestra. In the documentary, she powerfully describes how this talent was able to keep her alive when she says: “As long as they wanted music, they couldn’t put us in the gas chamber”.

Not only did music save the lives of these talented victims literally, but it also helped them to maintain some hope and peace of mind. Alice Herz-Sommer describes music as her religion during this time as it gave her strength and as much happiness as she could have in such a terrible place. This hope allows Alice to move on from these terrible experiences and forgive those involved. Her music is able to lift her up and bring her joy while others are weighed down by hate. 

 Official Documentary Trailer: 

HOPE FOR THE DAY

In recent loss of actor and comedian Robin Williams, many people have found themselves discussing the tragic issues of depression and suicide.  At Realm Music Group we know this topic is often very hard to talk about and that it affects many people all around us. Often times people are very surprised to discover that celebrities are depressed. Due to many stereotypes surrounding depression, people often think: “What do they have to be depressed about?” Unfortunately this stereotype and false thinking leads many celebrities and other people tend to feel ashamed or embarrassed about suffering from this mental illness.

Hope for the Day has developed a beautiful project that illustrates that many artists and celebrities suffer from depression and then shows how music has helped them combat this illness. This specific project is known as “Music Saved My Life” but Hope for the Day has several other initiatives trying to help people cope with depression through music and creative expression.

The Music Saved My Life Project features various videos with interviews with renowned artists. Sometimes these videos are one on one, other times they are a group, but they always feature a talented artist sharing their personal struggle. Hope for the Day wants to show people that anyone can suffer from depression and that music and other outlets can really have a positive impact.

Each video is very different from the next as an array of musicians talk about their own paths of life. In one video, featured below, Frank Turner, an artist from the UK explains how music provided him a refuge. He shares his memory of feeling really left out and awkward until he found a musical community that acted as “a refuge for the weird kids”. This outlet helped Turner find himself and really immerse himself in the music world.

Another video features a well known music follower and merchandiser named Carlos Enrique Navarro. Navarro has become famous for a sign he created that reads: “Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better”.  This quote immediately appealed to people and become a phenomenon as people uploaded black and white photos of themselves with the sign. Navarro remembers creating the quote and how much it helped him and was amazed how much it ended up helping others. Navarro is still an active advocate for suicide prevention and uses music to fight these feelings.

Hope for the Day with its several projects is truly saving lives. To help this cause donate here: http://www.hftd.org/support-us
 

 


 

PLAYING FOR CHANGE

 

 

"We can achieve far more together as a human race than we ever could apart "

 Mark Johnson, Co-founder of Playing for Change was walking down the streets of Santa Monica, California when he heard the voice that changed everything. He heard the incredible voice of Roger Ridley singing the classic “Stand By Me”. With such a stunning voice Mark asked why Ridley was singing in the streets, his response inspired him: “Man I’m in the Joy business, I come out to be with the people”. While Playing for Change was created in 2002, it was not until this encounter in 2005 that Playing for Change formed into what it is today. It was this encounter that launched the first Song Around the World, “Stand by Me”.

 The concept behind Songs Around the World is the Playing for Change family travels around the world recording various artists in different countries performing the same song. These artists never actually met but the music they shared brought them together and Playing for Change released the final song with contributions from all the different artists. “Stand by Me” not only symbolized that inspiration Mark Johnson felt in the streets of Santa Monica, but also the belief that everyone needs someone’s help at some point. This belief is shared by the entire Playing for Change family as one of their core values states: “We can achieve far more together as a human race than we ever could apart”. You can watch the “Stand by Me” video below.


With the help of the “Stand by Me” video, Playing for Change really started to take off. In 2007, the crew decided they wanted to give back to the communities that had opened up to share with them their musical gifts. The Playing for Change Foundation was then established as a non-profit organization to help people connect through music and inspire peace throughout the world. Since then nine music schools and programs have been established throughout South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Nepal and Thailand. These programs allow kids to attend free classes about music, dance, and beyond. A Stand by Me scholarship program was also created to provide under-privileged children the opportunity to learn music and dance. The Playing for Change family is using the power of music to not only bring people together from all around the world, but also to provide children an opportunity to be a part of this experience. Follow the link below in order to donate to this beautiful cause.

https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/PlayingForChangeFoundation/OnlineDonation.html

 


 

Olodum

 

At Realm Music Group we believe that music has an immeasurable impact on people’s lives, relationships, and happiness. Because of this belief we want to introduce our new blog with one theme being The Power of Music. Every week we will be posting about inspiring stories of music changing lives or music groups changing the world for the better.

For our first post we want to focus on a group that not only created a whole new style of music but also provides countless benefits to its community: Olodum. Founded in 1979 Olodum (pronounced oh-lo-doon) is an internationally respected Afro-Brazilian group from Bahia, Brazil. The group started when it began participating in Carnival with an association that focuses on promoting African heritage and black pride through music and the arts. The head drummer of the group in the mid 1980s experimented with Afro-Caribbean rhythms and mixed them with Brazilian samba beats, merengue, salsa, and reggae. This unique combination of different beats creates a sound that cannot be copied and is undeniably irresistible. After forming their official music band, Banda Olodum they have recorded over ten CDs. The band has also performed with various international stars including Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and Spike Lee. They most recently were featured in the World Cup song, “We Are One” by Pitbull. Below you can watch their amazing video with Michael Jackson.


Some students at the Olodum schoolWe did not only pick Olodum for its awesome beats but also for all the good the group does for its community. Olodum declares that it has the mission of fighting racism, promoting pride of Afro-Brazilian culture, and fighting for civil rights for all groups that are marginalized. The city they are based in, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil is known to be one of the cities with the highest crime rates in Brazil with an average of 2.5 deaths a day. With a strong culture of violence, many gangs try and recruit young minors to do their dirty work for them. Olodum hopes to keep these children occupied and keep them away from being caught up in the violent gangs or drugs. They started this effort in 1984 with the creation of the program Beating the Drums which offered free percussion lessons to poor children and adolescents in the surrounding community. Eventually, Olodum created its own school for inner-city underprivileged children where they teach various academic courses, art courses, as well as focus on building self-esteem and encouraging economic ascension. These strong efforts made by Olodum prove the power of music to provide something meaningful in children’s life and keep them away from being sucked into a very violent culture.


If you want to learn more about Olodum, visit: www.olodum.com.br/