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Music Therapy

September 23, 2016

The Masonic Home of Virginia is a Life Plan Community,[1] and that means that we cover a large swath of care needs. One of those needs is memory support, and I’d like to highlight its highest level – the Richard E. Brown Unit – where the Home is doing some of its greatest work.

I recently read an article in the Chicago Tribune[2] about the healing power of music in the lives of residents with dementia. It piqued my interest, so I asked our REB staff Barbara J. and John Z. if it were something that they use, and as it turns out, it is. For the past seven years, the REB Unit has been using music therapy with its residents once a week. I decided to sit in on a session to see what it was like, and I was absolutely thrilled.

Music therapy, to a lay person, looks incredibly engaging. The music therapist, Daniel Goldschmidt,[3] lead the group by greeting each member with a song, asking each by name how they were feeling. Afterward, he sang a number of songs based around that day’s theme (the outdoors) and participants grabbed shakers, drums, and tambourines to join in with his guitar playing and singing. It was a fantastic site to see.

What impressed me the most was the resident response to the music. They were engaged and enjoying it quite a bit, which speaks to the power that music has in our general well being. I am far from an expert, but it seemed to me that everyone who attended could take something from the session – it certainly improved my mood!

Of course, all of this is made possible through the generosity of our donors and supporters throughout the Commonwealth. The REB Unit began with a large gift made by Richard E. Brown, the unit’s namesake. The leadership of our supporters has left a legacy of caring that lives on today. This is no more apparent than in programs like music therapy.

If you would like to make a gift to the REB Unit, please click the button below.


[1] But you knew that.



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