ADRAG Resource Partner Music Mends Minds Makes The Cover

Category Alzheimer's / Posted on 29 May 2022 by Administrator

ADRAG resource partner Music Mends Minds was the cover story for the May 2022 issue of the Rotary Magazine.  Click here to view the entire article.

Music Mends Minds Drums Up New Program

Category Alzheimer's / Posted on 29 May 2022 by Administrator



Music Mends Minds (MMM), a nonprofit that creates musical support groups for individuals with neurological disorders has expanded its musical offerings to include drum circles in addition to sing-alongs and bands.MMM is drumming up a new program to reach more seniors around the globe.



Rotary International and MMM have been working in partnership through the Global Initiative-“Music Mends Minds: Energize & Empower Through Music” to help bring music to seniors around the globe by creating a network to educate numbers of Rotary clubs on the best practices of helping those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s through music-making and socialization. We are so grateful to ADRAG to be partnering in this endeavor!

MMM’s Founder and Executive Director Carol Rosenstein is inviting volunteers throughout the Rotary world to support the power of music in changing brain chemistry for seniors who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, Carol was featured on the cover of the Rotary Magazine and the article on pages 28-35, calling all Rotarians to start a musical group.

See: Rotarv Magazine Mav 2022

“We’re looking for musical messengers to consider starting musical groups through their clubs at a grassroots level. Every one of our groups is unique, as long as music is the common thread we’re on board,” Rosenstein says.

MMM currently has a roster of 20 bands across the globe, including Rwanda and Canada, as well as a triweekly Zoom platform led by board-certified music therapists. But drum circles, in particular, have the potential to appeal to a wider audience because anyone can take part regardless of their previous musical experience.

Scientific studies have shown that the benefits of music are undeniable. Music is retained in the brain differently than other cognitive functions and can be accessed as a form of communication when other avenues are lost. The synchronized rhythms that are incorporated in drum circles stimulate 12 areas of the brain that are integral in motor skills, auditory and sequence processing, and working memory (Bengtsson et al, 2009).

Performing in a drum circle can also help improve physical gait, posture and mobility in Parkinson’s patients. The patterned nature of rhythm promotes voluntary movement by allowing muscles to time their movement to the beat of the rhythmic sounds (Nombela et al, 2013). Research also shows that music in general improves cognitive function, self-esteem, speech, attention, executive functioning, orientation and reduces anxiety, agitation and depression.

John Fitzgerald, who leads MMM’s Culver City Senior Center Drum Circle and has over 20 years of experience designing and facilitating drum circles and rhythm experiences, says playing music engages creativity, intuition and a sense of play.

“Rhythm, a fundamental part of music, is a constant in our lives; our hearts beat, we live in cycles of day and night, and we mark the seconds, minutes, hours, and days of our lives. Perhaps this is why drumming is so intuitive for people, and engages people of every description, background or challenge.

Music, and indeed rhythm, crosses every imaginable boundary; generational, language, cultural, to join us together in an experience of co-created joy and self expression. Caregivers and their loved ones, their children and siblings and friends are equals in the drum circle, in this joyful and engaging experience encouraging well-being and connection,” he said.

MMM makes it easy to start singalongs, drum circles, and bands with an online curriculum that can be tailored to fit specific and cultural community needs in Rotary clubs and districts. The program includes an educational video library, step-by-step instructions on how to start a band and regular virtual check-in sessions that offer guidance and problem-solving tips. Visit this link for more information:

Thanks again to ADRAG for this important partnership!

In April, Music Mends Minds hosted a free screening of the new documentary, Have You Heard About Greg? (HYHAG). HYHAG puts a human face on the most terrifying disease of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Greg O'Brien, an award-winning investigative reporter, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 59 and is committed to sharing his experience to get people talking about this disease. The film captures a frank, yet funny, heartfelt story of a disease that afflicts 50 million people worldwide and affects hundreds of millions of caretakers. After billions have been spent on research, it remains poorly understood. Beyond capturing Greg’s redemptive journey, the film hopes to make brain health a priority in daily life and to inspire both patients and caregivers to pay attention to early detection and preparation for Alzheimer’s and other brain afflictions.

The event also reunited singers from MMM’s flagship 5th Dementia band for the first time since the pandemic began. They were accompanied by the Brentwood Presbyterian Church Choir on songs such as Under the Boardwalk and Over the Rainbow.

HYAG was produced and directed by Steve Ecclesine. Greg’s and Steve’s mothers were friends and they both died of Alzheimer’s. Steve became a Hollywood producer and reconnected with Greg after a 50-year hiatus. Greg was the keynote speaker at a caregiver’s conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Steve drove out to shoot his speech and immediately knew he wanted to tell this powerful story about a real-life hero on a real-life hero’s journey.

For more information about Music Mends Minds



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Category Alzheimer's / Posted on 28 May 2022 by Administrator

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Music Mends Minds - Restoring the rhythm of life

Category Alzheimer's / Posted on 29 May 2020 by Administrator






Music Mends Minds (MMM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates musical support groups and bands for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and PTSD. These musical support groups foster a community between the musicians and singers, as well as their families, friends, and caregivers, all of whom thrive on the socialization and music-making. MMM also aims to educate the community and public about the latest scientific findings regarding the benefits of music and the brain through several platforms, including online and in print resources. Today, some medical researchers consider music the “new frontier” for treating dementia and managing the symptoms of other neurological/psychological disorders, and MMM is at the forefront of this organic movement, utilizing music to lift the spirits and change the brain chemistry of patients.

MMM was founded by Los Angeles-based retiree Carol Rosenstein, a former chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, who holds a master’s degree in psychology, and helped pioneer holistic medicine as it is practiced today. Her husband, Irwin, is now 84 and has suffered with dementia and Parkinson’s for the past 15 years. Carol and Irwin met in 1985. 

In 2014, Carol enrolled Irwin in the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patient Care program. When he began playing the piano for participating students and adults, something miraculous happened. It was clear that playing music empowered Irwin, who became more aware, responsive, confident, energetic, talkative, and hopeful after just a few weeks.

Says Carol of their journey, “I feel so blessed to have my buddy back and a quality of life that was missing in our home for a very long time. Ours was a love story that I thought was over, but now continues ... just to a little different beat. Playing music creates such excitement, that it alters the chemistry of the brain by causing the release of natural dopamine, which controls movement, mood, and cognition. Music not only mends minds, but families and relationships. I like to say it restores the rhythm of life and I want to share that medicine with others.” 

Inspired by the dramatic transformation in Irwin’s condition through playing music and socializing, Carol launched MMM and the organization’s inaugural band, The 5th Dementia, in August 2014. Soon, the caregivers and doctors of other band members began reporting substantial improvements as well. Hear the 5th Dementia in concert:

Today, new bands are being formed both nationally and internationally by people who have been inspired by our story. Rotary International Clubs have taken on MMM as their service projects and as part of their community outreach across the globe. Other organizations, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, have launched bands through their Home for Heroes program, founding e Band of Heroes” in West Los Angeles. There are a total of 18 bands worldwide, with many more to come!#x2F;p>

Researchers are also supporting the idea that music is powerful medicine. Music memories seem to be stored and accessed differently than our “declarative” or event-specific memories. Even individuals with cognitive and memory deficits find their musical memories are intact. 

Integrating familiar songs with personal experiences has been shown to help and motivate individuals who struggle to retrieve and process their personal lives and memories (Fraile et al, 2019).

MMM continues to support this new frontier of the scientific relationship between music and the brain, and vows to educate our audience and outreach with the latest information regarding its various health benefits.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, MMM has now moved to an online global platform through Zoom led by our Board-Certified Music Therapist, where our seniors and their caregivers can enjoy music-making and socialization from the comfort and safety of their own homes. 


We meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 1:00 - 2:00 PM PST.

This is a FREE SERVICE for anybody to join in on the fun!


To join our Zoom sessions, please click the link below:

(If you do not have Zoom installed, you will be prompted to install Zoom—follow the on-screen instructions and click the link again to join)



5th Dementia Band in Concert

II've Got Rhythm - 5th Dementia Band

Music Mends Minds Theme Song

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