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What's Up Magazine

The Meaning of What Happiness is

Sep 22, 2014 02:51PM ● By Cate Reynolds
How is it we can remember all the words to a Christmas carol we heard only a few times on a holiday TV special 20 years ago, yet can’t recall the password we created last month for Amazon Prime? Why were you never able to memorize all 18 stanzas of “The Raven,” but you can easily retrieve the complete lyrics to every number on Abbey Road? It seems the answer may lie in exactly what we are trying to remember. For when it comes to music, our brains seem to absorb and retain.

Music, you see, is structured and formatted, and our brains love that and respond. The hippocampus and the frontal cortex are two areas in the brain that are associated with memory. The trick isn’t storing stuff in those areas, it’s getting it back out efficiently. Patients with brain injuries, strokes, Alzheimer’s have all benefited from musical therapies. Music is a powerful mnemonic device (a fancy term for a memory technique named after the Greek goddess of memory, Mnemosyne). Music helps the brain retrieve the correct file from the memory banks.

Bottom Line: Speaking of musical memories—here are two important dates to remember: October 17th or 18th. You can choose either date to attend the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Night Celebration. There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres, open bar, a concert, fireworks, a post-concert Champagne celebration and, no doubt, unforgettable music. RSVP by Oct. 6th to 410-263-0907.
—S.H.