One of my biggest joys as a music therapist is supporting others (musician or not) in connecting through music. This is especially true for those caring for those living with dementia.

What if I told you all you needed to start was a book that comes with a CD and 5 minutes? Would you believe me?

Highlights of this resource

Mary Sue Wilkinson’s book Songs You Know By Heart is THAT resource. Laid out in an easy to read format, you’ll be guided through the basics of what to do and how to share. A basic 15 minute music and movement plan is shared followed by tips and highlights on the 17 songs found on the CD. Within the book you’ll also find an overview of Teepa Snow’s The GEMS® model with how it relates to sharing music.

How to use this resource

Books like this make it easy for caregivers to share music. The greatest gift is how quickly you will feel empowered to use music. The songs highlighted are classics that can serve as wonderful examples for the musician and non-musician to emulate. However, the songs highlighted are becoming less familiar to those requiring support as they live with dementia, Use it as a model for sharing other music like that highlighted on Music Sparks.

The GEMS® model will add understanding and encourage you to see the person living with dementia. Most powerful are the reflection exercises in connecting the music to the GEMS® stage. Thinking about what, why and how you share is key. Observing for the response is also important.

Musician or not, you can connect Musician or not, you can connect through music

This book deserves to be readily available within facilities for family members and staff to use. Adding to resource libraries from religious institutions to the public library will encourage others to continue connecting, to continuing singing with those living with dementia.

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