May 6, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jared Mintz
Commonpoint Queens Music Therapy Program Provides Comfort To Those Navigating Coronavirus Pandemic
Queens, NY — We can all relate to music – it evokes memories, helps us express ourselves, and it can provide comfort and much-needed distraction. For these reasons and more, music therapy has become a particularly popular program being offered at Commonpoint Queens.
Levin Valayil is a music therapist and he witnesses the benefits of music therapy every Friday when he “meets” with members of Commonpoint Queens’ senior community.
“Music therapy is the use of music and musical activities to care for people who are experiencing physical or emotional difficulties, which we are all now feeling,” said Valayil. “I see how the music really brings people to life. The songs help them reminisce and recall happy moments they have shared with family and friends. Some of the participants suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss while others are simply isolated in their homes. Listening to music brings everyone joy, helps with memory recall since music is connected to many different areas in the brain, and brings people together.”
Working with older adults during the coronavirus pandemic is a different experience than face-to-face interactions. Valayil is very conscious to “call on” the people participating in the virtual program to ensure each is engaged.
“Music therapy is very effective for people of all ages and abilities,” said Barbara Becker-Bruno, Assistant Vice President of Older Adult Services at Commonpoint Queens. “So many older adults are currently isolated and lonely, and those with memory issues are susceptible to regression. Music is a powerful therapeutic tool that brings people together, helps them engage, and produces positive energy. Sometimes Levin will use the music to spur discussions about feelings which is especially important for all of us during this period of quarantine.”
“Music provides a way for people to connect using just a few words or even without words,” said Commonpoint Queens CEO, Danielle Ellman. “It spans all cultures, all ages. We use music to create bridges. It can create a tranquil or exuberant experience for the participants as well. Our goal is to help our clients through this period of isolation healthy physically and mentally. It’s about comfort, enrichment, and love.”
More About Commonpoint Queens
The social services organization Commonpoint Queens helps individuals and families of diverse backgrounds find support, connections and opportunities during all stages of their lives. Guided by the Jewish values of service and justice for six decades, the agency has a range of programs at 52 sites across Queens, assisting 50,000 people each year. To learn more, go to www.commonpointqueens.org.