I continue to be fascinated by playing piano’s positive effect on dementia and Alzheimers disease.

Even more beautiful, useful, wonderful reasons to make the effort towards becoming a recreational piano player … What a nice story originally from PBS Newshour regarding dementia and Alzheimers.

15 Comments
  • labelledominique
    Posted at 08:07h, 01 September Reply

    Music therapists like me have known this to be true, for quite some time, given that a share of our work is with the elderly. It’s refreshing to see that this knowledge is becoming more widespread, accepted and established. Thanks for doing your part by sharing this report.

  • John Wm. Bell
    Posted at 10:45h, 01 September Reply

    Being a trumpet player and orchestral/Big Band musician for 60 years, I was devastated when diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer. I was required to have all teeth removed to have radiation treatment. Learning piano keeps me in touch with a world I am no longer a part of. It helps very much with the mental anguish.—Thank You

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 14:25h, 01 September Reply

      So, so sorry about the cancer. But, so, so THRILLED that a piano can keep you connected, if even in a lesser way. Try to find the joy in playing!

  • John
    Posted at 12:45h, 01 September Reply

    Scott,

    I am a longtime combat veteran of the Vietnam war. Many, many years, to this day, I suffered from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), until I began playing the piano. Whenever I would have a flashback (usually in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning), I would get up go straight to my piano and begin playing. Instantaneous relief. The VA medical staff advised that playing the piano was one of the best things to do for PTSD.

    Just thought I would share that.

    John

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 14:23h, 01 September Reply

      That’s so interesting John… Music does crazy powerful things for your brain that’s for sure! Glad it helps you…

  • Wayne Hamilton
    Posted at 14:19h, 01 September Reply

    Thanks Scott, About 10 years ago my cousin came for a visit and brought her husband who was in his 60’s and had advanced Alzheimers. He hadn’t spoken one word in over 6 months. He had played harmonica pretty well when he was younger. I would always play some piano for my cousiin when she came for a visit so naturally I got around to sitting at the piano and knocking out some old standard Broadway songs for them. suddenly Charlie (her husband) just starting singing the words to the songs I was playing and he was getting them right. He was having a ball.. very happy. My cousin was shocked and said he had not spoken one word in over 6 months… It was a happy day for all of us.
    Thanks for all the good you do Scott… Hope you like my story.
    Wayne

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 14:22h, 01 September Reply

      That’s really a great story Wayne. Thanks for sharing!

  • David Talley
    Posted at 18:29h, 01 September Reply

    so glad to see something like this that can give HOPE for my love for music and to know that Iam on the right track please stay in touch thanks Scott H.

  • Phyllis Casper
    Posted at 11:15h, 02 September Reply

    I agree that music is very important to Alzheimer patients. I used to have a friend whose husband had Alzheimer’s and I would play church hymns for him and you could see something come over him when he heard the music. He enjoyed it so much.

  • Effat Monem
    Posted at 20:58h, 05 September Reply

    Last December I just crossed the 80 years old line, still fumbling with my “fancy” Keyboard, still stumbling with some software I bought in 2001 and still fascinated by your book (Playing Piano in a Flash) and your presentation on the PBS Network a few years back, about how to play just to enjoy and not to make a career (in addition to your publications and programs about “Chords” …..etc…..etc).

    Your recent video about the music effect on the elderly, made me really start craving again to play the piano. Now with my old age, I think I need it more than ever before. I am going to join your free lessons here and see what happens. I will also appreciate any help or advice from you, because I simply like your method and your approach. Thanks.

  • dol
    Posted at 15:03h, 06 September Reply

    WHY DO YOU MAKE LIFE DIFFICULT WHEN TRYING TO LISTEN TO YOU SELL YOUR PIANO COURSE? I KNOW IT IS THE STYLE NOWADAYS TO DROWN OUT SPEECH WITH B.S. POUNDING, HAMMERING, SCRAPING, ETC., AND IN YOUR CASE LOUD MUSIC ACCOMPANYING SAID SPEECH. IT IS EXTREMELY ANNOYING, SO ANNOYING TO ME THAT I AM GOING TO WAIT TO (MAYBE) ORDER YOUR PIANO COURSE. AM I THE ONLY ONE WITH SENSITIVE EARS?

    • Scott Houston
      Posted at 15:09h, 08 September Reply

      So sorry, but I have no clue what you are referring to? I can tell you are very aggravated… I usually put a 10 sec intro reel into these blog vids that has some theme music in it, but it comes AFTER a spoken intro, and there is ZERO dialogue while it is going on. I never use any other background music in my vids. Just me and my piano.

      Wondering if maybe some video ad started playing in a background window of your browser while you were watching my vid?

      I’ll make you a deal… I give you my word that I will NEVER include any “B.S. POUNDING, HAMMERING, SCRAPING, AND IN YOUR CASE LOUD MUSIC” in a video if you promise to turn off your caps lock and check that something else wasn’t playing at the same time my vid was. If you were hearing music over dialogue, it wasn’t me…

      Thanks,
      SH

  • Ernest Ayo
    Posted at 21:25h, 13 September Reply

    First became aware of this phenomena with an interview of the Buena Vista Social Club, a group of pre-revolutionary musicians playing Cuban music. Their elderly piano player who suffers sever dementia plays perfectly once the band starts, even long solos.

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