Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to kick off Minnesota Music Therapy Week by attending the Statewide Music Therapy Association of MN Conference. Dr. James Gardiner, a neuropsychologist from South Dakota, spoke at the keynote session about “Brain Tuning”. This term refers to the process of using music to improve attention, memory, and executive functioning skills in everyday life.
As we explored the different areas of the brain and what parts of our bodies they control, we got to see how music can be a powerful force that enhances cognitive abilities. For example, creation of long term memory is often associated with the temporal lobe, but it actually operates as a network of neural connections, drawing from several locations in the brain. Adding music to the memory event enhances all areas of the brain, so it creates a larger and more varied network, which strengthens the memory. In turn, recall of the event can be initiated from anywhere in the memory network.
In addition to learning more about our brains, we also got to hang out with some of the best music therapists and colleagues in the state! One of the reasons I love state conventions and supervision, is the chance to share stories and ideas with other therapists in the area. It’s also one of the best ways to brainstorm about advocating for music therapy. If you have a group that’s interested in learning more about music therapy services, check out the Minnesota Music Therapy Association’s private practice page, or contact us!