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New CD brings caregivers and elderly together

A Beth Abraham music therapist has come up with an innovative way to bring together caregivers and their patients for improved interaction.

Marlon Sobol, director of Beth Abraham’s Family of Health Services acclaimed musical therapy program, has released a CD that has brought together the traditional Afro-Caribbean rhythms that most of the caregivers are familiar with from their culture and five traditional standards that geriatric patients who may be suffering from the onset of dementia often are able to remember from their youth.

“Keep on Moving-Music for Therapeutic Rhythmic Activities” includes performances by Sobol, jazz music icon David Amram, and Sobol’s reggae, hip hop and jazz influenced band Shem’s Disciples, who first perform each song complete and then later in a mixed section that allows the patients and the caregivers to identify parts of the music they are both accustomed to, interact with one another, and then even join in the percussion parts of the songs.

“The idea came about when I saw the cultural and generational disconnect between the geriatric patient and caregiver, and thought of music as a way to bridge the gap,” Sobol said. “I was playing the music live with my band when the idea of fusing together traditional standards that are set to Caribbean beats came to me.”

Sobol sees the CD, which is also available on iTunes, as an effective and affordable tool for people who wish to enhance their interaction and communication with loved ones suffering from impairments, besides being a helpful tool for everyday interactions between the staff and patients at Beth Abraham Family of Health Care.

“Most of the staff is from the Caribbean, while the patients are American,” Sobol said. “So the patients will recognize the melody, and the caregiver can get into the rhythm.

The CD includes five tracks of American standards including Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies”; Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher’s classic “Don’t Fence Me In”; “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”, by Gus Edwards and Edward Madden; and iconic American traditional numbers “Home on the Range “and “Red River Valley.”

Sobol and Shem’s Disciples first perform each song as a complete and fully mixed selection. Next, each song’s rhythm track featuring percussion instruments is isolated so that caregiver or therapist and patient can hear, learn and practice, participating in the song.

Finally, an elongated production of each song, minus the percussion tracks, is offered, allowing patient and caregiver to join in on the percussion parts they just learned to complete the musical arrangement.

“Keep on Moving-Music for Therapeutic Rhythmic Activities” is priced at $15 and is available on iTunes.

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