Leslie Shoecraft, NMT-BC (Neurologic Music Therapist, Board Certified), of Rhythm - N - You, leads the efforts for the Music Therapy program.
Music is an essential part of improving the quality of life. While music has traditionally been thought of as soothing, relaxing, and pleasant to listen to, Music Therapy uses music to help with rehabilitation in several ways. It can provide help with pain relief and make necessary physical therapy a pleasant experience and not a chore.
Music Therapy can improve speech in residents with speech problems through the use of rhythm and pitch exercises during singing. Recent neurological research suggests that singing uses parts of the brain other than the speech center, and music therapy can help retrain the brain's pathways to improve speech, even if that part of the brain has been injured.
Often, temporary improvement in memory and communication in dementias (including Alzheimer's) can be seen by having the resident sing familiar songs and then try to recall experiences related to the song.
Participation in the playing of musical instruments and composing songs can result in better resident cooperation in necessary physical exercise sessions. It also helps develop decision-making and socialization skills. Music Therapy uses music to encourage specific needed exercises, more socialization, and to improve activities of daily living. It does so in a pleasant, entertaining way.