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Academic Journal – Connection Between Music & Memory

The human psyche’s connection to music is commonly researched promoted as musicology, however it is the connection between music, memory, and emotions that are all intertwined to create such a powerful display of remembering. I have previously studied the impact of music therapy and the magical moments that are created through the use of music therapy in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. This was the subject of the incredible documentary, ‘Alive Inside’, whereby a social worker played patients favourite songs from their past, that held great meaning, on an iPod and they came alive. The emotional connection that was so synonymous with these songs that were so personal to them allowed them to have their identities back, thus enabling them to connect with their reality again as the music memories flowed through them. This academic journal states, “While short-term memories are fleeting, it is theorized that music has the potential to become a long-term memory after just one hearing,” meaning that music and the emotional ties we bond to it in our consciousness with such intensity that upon hearing it our brain instantly makes the connection with the memory and urges the memory forward. This is beautifully illustrated in the emotionally ridden scene in Coco whereby Miguel sings the song “Remember Me” that her father used to sing her as a child to his grandmother, Coco, who suffers from a form of dementia, to remember her father to stop him from being forgotten in the Land of the Dead, thus killing him for the second and final time.  The song holds such emotional significance between Coco and her father that the memories surge to the surface and she remembers, allowing him to see her again on the Day of the Dead after so many years.

Natasha Perkin

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