Music-based program may boost seniors’ brain function, mood
By C. E. Huggins
(Reuters Health) – A music-based training program that challenges both the body and the mind may improve brain function and mood among seniors, suggests a new study from Switzerland.
“The take-home message is that 6-months of music-based multitask training (i.e., Jaques-Dalcroze eurhythmics) – a specific training regimen which was previously shown to be effective in improving gait and reducing falls – has beneficial effects on cognition and mood in older adults,” Dr. M�lany Hars, of Geneva University Hospitals, told Reuters Health in an email.
Jacques-Dalcroze eurhythmics was developed in the early part of the 20th century by the Swiss composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze as a way to better understand music through movement. It is practiced worldwide, particularly in the fields of music, theater, dance and therapy, according to Hars.
A typical Jacques-Dalcroze session involves participants adapting their movements to the rhythmic changes of improvised piano music. In Hars’ study, the participants were challenged to perform specific multitasking skills, such as walking to the rhythm of a piano while handling a percussion instrument and responding to changes in the piano’s rhythm.
The study participants were also asked to perform quick reaction exercises, such as starting or stopping to walk or changing their walking speed on command, as well as matching their steps to the long or short music notes that were played.