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Community classroom

Above: ASU students Tabitha Williams (far left) and Rachel Quirbach (far right) bring music therapy to elderly adults Mike Markgraf and Cindy Hikida, activating memory centers that spark learning.

Sparking memory and learning in older adults

The Macarena
Twist and Shout
With a Little Help from My Friends

These great singalong songs recently en-livened the Tempe Adult Day Health Services center. But the 29 ASU music therapy stu-dents leading the older adults in song had a larger purpose than making merry: to use music to stimulate minds, spark a memory and encourage movement and laughter.

Our classroom is the community,” says Belgrave, who researches intergenerational programming. With the majority of intergen-erational music therapy focusing on disabil-ities in children, Belgrave says she wanted students to work with adults with memory challenges. This project allowed patients to sing old songs while introducing them to new instruments, which activates memory centers that spark learning.

“They all knew the songs and were pas-sionate about singing them,” says junior Acadia Caupp, a recipient of the New Amer-ican University Provost’s Scholarship who is double-majoring in music therapy and vocal performance. “And they showed such a will-ingness to answer our questions.”


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