Hentoff on Jazz: The Healing Touch

Guitarist and vocalist Marlina Teich travels around with other musicians in her group, Jazzheimers, an organization that brings jazz to people with Alzheimer’s in hospitals and other healthcare facilities in San Francisco.  Teich takes requests from her listeners who often sing or drum along during the performance.  Teich explained that music helps her listeners trigger memories, and described an instance where after listening to Teich play “It Had to be You,” a participant told a story of a bomb shelter she used to go to during World War II where she first heard the song.  Teich said, “They respond to music in such a different way than other people reaching them in a way that talking, medicine, psychotherapy and other forms of therapy don’t.  I want to honor their experience of living long lives in a society that warehouses the elderly.”

Jazz.com, June 16, 2009
Written By: Nat Henthoff