Help long COVID victims with music therapy by Evan
Music has been found to have strong ties with memory. A 2009 study at University of California, Davis, found that the part of the brain linking music to emotion is the last to succumb to Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research at the University of Melbourne finds that dementia patients asked to write songs could remember lyrics, learn to play, and discuss songs even if they typically struggled with interacting with others or recalling recent events. Music therapy as a broader field is being used more and more for everything from Autism Spectrum Disorder to substance abuse to strokes and post-traumatic stress. It also helps improve mood and lessens the impact of depression on one’s daily life.
One common symptom of post-COVID syndrome is brain fog, which includes difficulty focusing and remembering even months after confirmed COVID infection. Because music is intertwined so heavily with memory, perception, cognition and other brain functions, it is my belief that learning to play an instrument and write short songs could assist with recovery from brain fog from COVID. Learning the basic technique of an instrument provides a person with a clear goal to focus on. Playing music is engaging and a possible emotional outlet as well. In this program, I would work with patients over Zoom sessions to help teach them a little bit about their instrument.
I have chosen the ukulele and piano as instruments because they are relatively easy to start learning and are cost-effective. Each person who has been referred to Covid Recovery San Diego will be evaluated by Gaspar Physical Therapy staff to determine if they are appropriate candidates (ie have brain fog or similar symptoms) and are interested in music therapy.
Thanks to the contributions from our community, I have raised funds to purchase some laptop computers and musical instruments that can be checked out and taken home for up to three months by each participant. We use special, color coded mini-keyboards or ukuleles to help "exercise the mind." I am working with each person in the program one-on-one on a weekly or biweekly basis, either in person or via computer. I can therefore tailor each session to one’s unique needs and abilities. No experience is necessary!
To watch a demonstration of my program, take a look at this feature on CBS Television: https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/zevely-zone/carmel-valley-teenager-music-therapy-covid-brain-fog-zevely-zone/509-b6153161-e354-4f82-afe9-edbae89a00a5