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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why are musical memories so powerful?

There is considerable research showing that the music we listen to in our "courting years" is the music that means the most to us in our last few decades of life. Think about it...what did you listen to when you were in high school? Was it the Platters, the Beatles, the Carpenters, Madonna, Cindy Lauper??? It seems that every generation thinks that the music from their courting years is the best. Why? Could it be that when we're "falling in love" in our teen years, the power neurochemicals released in our brains imprint the music in an indelible way?

Think about it...go back in time and let me know what you think!



Ted said...

That makes sense to me . I've never thought of that. I still listen to the same music I did as a teenager in high school. Mostly hard rock. In fact any new music I like is still in the same style that I listened to those many years ago. I have often wondered if I'll still be rockin' into my eighties! Gues this would explain why if I am. Ted E.

jan said...

Hi Alice,

I was so happy to read what you wrote.. What I have to add is: "Exactly!" I've been playing music wellness programs for ten years now, and the common thread, I believe is what you state in this very paragraph. It's always about those particular years. For me it's Chicago, Aretha, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder. My physiological response is different. I play music every day now, just about, for seniors, and every time I play those special songs for people - whatever age or ethnicity - if I can find what's "signficant" to them (that's a word I use a lot these days) is what I play. The results have been quite amazing. I see people turn colors. One woman told me she hadn't heard her mother sing in over a year. And, I took two people out of comas! I will testify: music is as powerful as you say it is~ Keep up the great work - Jan Leder (

Anonymous said...

This is meaningful to me as a musician. I like a wide variety of music but I'm always drawn back to what I listened to in those formative high school years- Beatles, Motown, Hendrix, Doors & Cream, i.e. I respect and enjoy playing classical music (which I do for a living), but I love playing & listening to those older artists & those styles of music most of all!