Just about everyone has had an experience where hearing a song for the first time in a long time will transport them to another place and time, recalling memories so vivid that it actually feels like they’re there again, if only for a moment. And just about everyone will also probably, at some point in their lives, know someone stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. Which is why I think a new documentary titled Alive Inside — a film that explores music’s ability to evoke emotion and memory recall in people with Alzheimer’s — will resonate with a lot of people.
Alive Inside follows as social worker Dan Cohen, executive director of the non-profit Music & Memory, brings iPods to a nursing home. The transformation in barely responsive, “lost” patients was remarkable…the music worked like a jolt of electricity for patients, transporting them back in time and even allowing them to speak animatedly after the music was turned off.
(Dr. Oliver) Sacks explains, “Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience. Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory.” Furthermore, he says, “music brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”
Pretty remarkable stuff. I dare you to not get a little choked up watching the clip from the film below. Meanwhile, Alive Inside premieres at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City on April 18.