Just this month, I traveled with Doctor Bill Thomas to speak with doctors and therapists to urge them to include music and its therapeutic qualities in the daily lives of dementia patients. We spoke with doctors at the AgeWell Institute in Jacksonville and music therapists at TrustBridge in West Palm beach, and performed for seniors in Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Springs and Tampa. When I returned from Florida, I was honored to perform for over 300 people in White Plains, NY, and work with seniors there.
The positive impacts of music are evident to me in the participation of the seniors in centers in all of these places. Even when we played music that was not familiar to them, every single person was dancing or moving, and smiling. Seeing someone with dementia or who can barely move participate is a gift. On this trip, I was reminded of concerts I've given where people were dancing, shouting on summer nights. I realized that when a person in a wheelchair who starts out motionless, after a couple of songs, is just simply moving his shoulder in rhythm, he is connecting with the energy all around him in just the same way. That shoulder movement feels as loud and joyous as any concert I've played where people are jumping and singing.