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September 24, 2010

Hope Through Harmony

San Clemente Times (CA):

Bob Barry, a Project Manager at Volt Engineering, reeled into depression when he was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease nine years ago. Although he has a successful career and a loving family, he became angry at God and full of self-pity. He lost his ability to run and even walking became difficult. Eventually his right arm began to shake, and his voice became softer.

After four years of asking, “Why me?” Barry discovered that the choice before him was to either sit and wallow in his grief and discomfort, or throw himself against it. He decided the latter, with gusto.

Barry joined the Tremble Clefs, one of only a few such singing programs in the nation, and while experts agree singing is physically and cognitively beneficial to those with Parkinson’s, Barry also found a great hobby, made lasting friendships and developed a new attitude toward life.

Barry first heard the Tremble Clefs while attending a Parkinson’s support group at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. He thought it looked like fun.

Whether a confident or closet singer, breaking into song has more benefits than meets the ear. Aside from boosting your mood and confidence, music is clinically proven to reduce your brain’s perception of pain, reduce blood pressure, is extremely effective in memory recall and can regulate heart and respiratory rates, according to the Center for Music Therapy in Texas.

The Tremble Clefs, sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation, employ music as therapy.

Music therapy is a “tool of great power...because of its unique capacity to organize or reorganize cerebral function when it has been damaged,” said Professor of Neurology Oliver Sacks. Music therapy helps patients cognitively, and physically by using their voices and moving their bodies. New research shows that exercise, social stimulation and singing can help postpone Parkinson symptoms even more effectively than early diagnosis and medication.

Less than a dozen Tremble Clefs groups exist in the nation. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at September 24, 2010 12:00 AM

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