How Music Can Keep Old Memories Alive
Start writing a post

How Music Can Keep Old Memories Alive

Memories can be triggered through music and some are using it to reach those with Alzheimer's and other cognitive conditions.

How Music Can Keep Old Memories Alive

As I get older, I find myself reminiscing about my childhood and my past 20 years of life. I just finished my second year of college, and have two years left. I’m standing on the threshold of adulthood, and time has gone by so fast. As I get older, some of my memories become fuzzier, but one source of memory that has stayed intact is my music memory.

When you listen to music, you use multiple areas in your brain (Doctors Video). You use a different part of your brain to understand the language, process the rhythm, tap your foot, and sing the lyrics. Your hippocampus is the main structure for memory storage in the brain, but the cool thing about music is that it is not all stored in that one structure. Although some of my memories become fuzzy, others can be triggered by music.

For example, when I was about four years old, I had a concert in my room to Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” which was on the NOW 4 Cassette Tape -- there are now 58 NOWs). I put pillows on the ground for seating and made tickets, and when the time came I rolled up my shirt so I was showing my tummy like Britney. The bed was my stage and I rocked it, and I will never forget that funny memory when I hear that song. I still remember most of the words!

My dad also had a tradition of letting me buy one CD per vacation. As soon as I bought that CD, it became the soundtrack to the trip. Now, every time I hear certain songs I immediately think back to the corresponding trip. So without realizing it, my dad helped solidify some of those vacations in my memory through music. So whether you bought a CD for a trip or a song was playing during a special moment, those songs become triggers for future reminiscing.

The Music and Memory Organization has used this form of memory to benefit others. They "help people in nursing homes and other care organizations who suffer from a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music." Music has sparked memories in various patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's because although one part of the brain might not be working, other parts are still able to remember the music.

The excitement on these people's' faces can be seen in the documentary, "Alive Inside." The trailer gives you a glimpse of the happiness these people feel to have music back in their lives. At one point a man is crying tears of joy, another man is smiling ear to ear, and a woman is dancing around. These people are able to experience the music that played throughout their lives and remember some of their fondest memories, and their past.

Music is wonderful and we listen to it throughout our lives. From "Baby Beluga" to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling!", I know I've developed a string of memories that I can revisit throughout my life, and that is a beautiful thing. Everyone has special songs and I hope you enjoy them throughout your life and smile fondly on your memories.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Ready or not, here come the holidays, friends, and if you're as obsessed with the spirit of the season as I am, you are much more ready than not. Thanks to Hallmark Channel's Monopoly game making it possible to celebrate all year long, you can be ready now, too!

Keep Reading... Show less
Stephanie Tango

The pandemic has been in our world for more than half of 2020 and people are still acting stupid. If anything, they're getting stupider. They think that the virus is gone. It's not. Stop going to frat parties. Stop trying to go places without a mask. I wish things were normal, too. They're not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Kai Parlett

In the summer of 2017, 20 type 1 diabetics completed a 10-week 4,000+ mile bike ride from New York to California. They biked against the advice of doctors, family, and friends. Many were skeptical that people with diabetes could complete such a physically challenging trip without putting themselves in danger due to their disease.

Keep Reading... Show less

That's right, you heard that correctly: Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich called off their engagement after the couple originally announced their engagement in July after beginning to date in March.

Keep Reading... Show less

Demi Lovato's Called-Off Engagement Reminds Us Of The Importance Of Taking Our Time In Relationships

While this may be another hardship she sadly has to endure, I know she will find a way to inspire and help others through it.


I am heartbroken.

Keep Reading... Show less

We all love a good ol' sappy Christmas movie and this year, the Hallmark Channel is finally giving us what we want: diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Seasonal Depression Is Real And It Deserves Our Attention

Check in on your friends throughout the winter season, it can be brutal.


As we transition seasons and enter the last few months of the year, some are feeling grand about this natural shift. But that doesn't mean everyone is thrilled that the weather is cooling down — it's important to extend your knowledge to the phenomenon that is seasonal depression.

The lack of sunlight during the later seasons of the year, beginning with autumn, triggers a state of depression for about 15% of the population. This results in the lack of serotonin provided by the sun, causing it to be hard for some to do a lot of the things that would normally be deemed simple tasks to do during the earlier times in the year like getting out of bed, showering, going to work/school, etc. A major difference is an intense need for sleep similar to a hibernation effect.

Keep Reading... Show less

September is Suicide Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to raise awareness, further educate yourself, and remember the reality that mental illnesses present. Yet it's critical to understand that suicide awareness is not an annual Instagram hashtag to use and forget. Actively advocating for mental health resources, progress in education, and a broken stigma is an everyday ask — an activity that we can each participate in.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments