Health The magic of music therapy must be heard to be believed

March 20, 2023

Music is the food of love, music is the answer, music is the soul speaking…music is just magic, isn’t it? The most elemental, mysterious and powerful art form, and useful too, as proven on Drivetime (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 4.30pm).

Dr Shane Cassidy is a neurological music therapist, and he spoke to Sarah McInerney about how music can be used to treat a range of debilitating illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke.

It activates and stimulates a widespread, bilateral — left and right hemispheres — network of brain regions, he said. These are all involved when we move, speak and pay attention and play a part in our memory, emotional regulation. So music therapy is used “to promote non-musical goals”, for instance developing speech again after injury.

Interestingly, they don’t use any particular type of music; it’s quite varied, and generally tailored to the person’s preferences, although work to improve movement will use more rhythmic music.

A fascinating story of incredible work being done by some very clever people. Standing ovation.

Should Ennis become Ireland’s newest city? The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 9am) posed the question. Some local councillors are pushing for the capital of Clare to be awarded city status, to attract business, state bodies and employment. Reporter Siofra Mulqueen spoke to locals about where they stand on this, and rather surprisingly, a (small) majority are opposed.

I would have assumed the opposite, but former mayor Michael Guilfoyle made the ‘anti’ argument fairly well: “We don’t have the population, and apart from that if you got city status everything would go through the roof price-wise. The bigger you are, the bigger the problems.”

That said, the most memorable quote came from the unnamed man who declared: “It would bring more life into the town. Right now there’s more life in a dog’s back than there is in Ennis.”

The Oscars, and “awards season” in general, is surely one of the most tedious phenomena in modern life. When did people start taking these ridiculous “competitions” so seriously? It’s art, for God’s sake — not sport.

That said, only a real churl would begrudge the mighty Cartoon Saloon their moment in the sun. The Kilkenny animation studio’s brilliant children’s film Wolfwalkers has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Co-director Tom Moore told The Hard Shoulder (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 4pm): “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s surreal and you never get used to it, and it blows my mind that this independent studio, from a small place in the middle of Ireland, will be going up against the likes of Pixar and Disney.

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Dr Shane Cassidy founder of Ireland's first music therapy neurology clinic on LMFM 95.8

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Dublin music therapy service will have free workshop for people with Parkinson's

Neurolinks provides professional music therapy services for people who are living with a neurological condition or who are neurodivergent, their caregivers and families.


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