Playing a musical instrument can have several benefits for individuals with dementia, a progressive cognitive decline condition.
Here are some reasons to play an instrument with dementia, supported by references from reputable sources:
- Cognitive stimulation: Playing a musical instrument can provide cognitive stimulation for individuals with dementia. Engaging in a complex and coordinated activity like playing an instrument can stimulate various cognitive functions, including memory, attention, motor skills, and executive functions. According to a study published in the journal “Gerontology,” musical instrument playing was found to improve cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (Särkämö, et al., 2014).
- Emotional connection: Music has the power to evoke emotions and memories. Playing an instrument can help individuals with dementia connect emotionally with themselves and others. It can bring back memories, evoke positive emotions, and create opportunities for self-expression, which can enhance their overall well-being and quality of life.
- Social interaction: Playing an instrument can provide opportunities for social interaction, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with dementia who may experience social isolation. Playing music with others, such as in a group or with a caregiver or family member, can foster social connections, improve communication, and enhance social skills, leading to improved emotional and mental well-being.
- Sensory stimulation: Playing a musical instrument involves various sensory experiences, such as listening to the sounds, feeling the vibrations, and manipulating the instrument. These sensory stimulations can help individuals with dementia engage their senses, increase sensory awareness, and promote sensory integration, leading to improved cognitive and sensory-motor functions.
- Joy and pleasure: Playing an instrument can be a source of joy, pleasure, and personal fulfilment for individuals with dementia. It can provide a sense of accomplishment, boost self-esteem, and enhance mood, leading to improved emotional well-being and quality of life.
At Brookfield Music, we wholeheartedly embrace the joy of making music and strive to inspire individuals of all ages to embark on a musical journey tailored to their preferences.
Discover our range of music classes tailored for children, adults, and seniors. If you’re uncertain about your starting point, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be delighted to explore various possibilities with you.
Särkämö, T., Tervaniemi, M., Laitinen, S., Numminen, A., Kurki, M., Johnson, J. K., & Rantanen, P. (2014). Cognitive, emotional, and social benefits of regular musical activities in early dementia: Randomised controlled study. Gerontology, 60(4), 431-450.
Note: It’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a music therapist for individualised recommendations and guidance on using music and musical instruments as a therapeutic intervention for individuals with dementia or any other medical condition.