Powerful impact of music even evident in grandmother with Alzheimer’s

By Grace Peterson 

First place winner 

Pelican Rotary essay contest 

Grace Peterson

My great-grandma has Alzheimer’s disease. A disease with no cure. She has struggled with it for years and it has taken a toll on her brain. 

She doesn’t remember her kids or her grand-children. My grandma can’t function on her own: she relies on others to clothe and feed her. 

There is only one thing my grandma can remember; music. Lay a keyboard on her lap, and she is able to play notes and move her fingers to a rhythm. Music has a powerful impact on everybody, my grandma is living proof.  

Music is the truth. It is a way to express who we really are, and show our true emotions. We can find ourselves in the tunes that we listen to. Music allows us to express how we feel when we cannot find the words. Most of us have special music or playlists that we listen to when we are feeling sad, confident, confused, etc.  Connecting to music is one effective way to become more honest about who you are, what you are really experiencing, and dealing with your emotions. 

Music is fair to everyone. Every single person in the world has access to music. Whether singing or playing instruments themselves, it is one thing everyone is guaranteed to have with them to help them through life. There are many different ways to be involved with music. Some people find music through everyday things like the radio. Others make the music themselves with the help of their voice or instrument. No matter the source of the music, everyone has access to their melodies every day. 

The Pelican Rapids wind ensemble, under director Sean Fitzsimmons, at the recent Feb. 21 winter band concert. Grace Peterson, first chair in the flute section, chose music as the topic of her first place entry in the Pelican Rapids Area Rotary Club essay contest.

Friendships are essential. We need friends in our lives to be our support systems. Music can help connect people in various different ways. One way that music has done this for me is through my Europe trip. I went on this trip with 300 other band and choir students throughout the whole state of Minnesota. Going into the trip, I knew approximately ten people in the whole group, but I came out with an expanded family of 300. Every single one of us was connected through this music trip that we all journeyed on together. From the music we played to the memories we shared, we became connected and new friendships were formed. They were my family created by music. 

Music brings out the good in people and builds goodwill. People volunteer to play at various places to see other people happy. I have volunteered to play music for my church, in nursing homes, and at special ceremonies. Sharing my music with other people causes a great feeling of joy to myself, along with the people that I am playing for. People become happier when they share their music. Many individuals will sing for groups through the bad times to help them cope, and to brighten their moods. Music brings everyone together, and it can help others to become happier.

Music passes the 4 way test because of its strong impact on everyone’s lives. The way it brings people together and builds goodwill, shows just how important music is. Whether at home in Pelican Rapids or across the world in Europe, music has always been with me. It will always be a part of everyone’s lives. A world without music is a world I wouldn’t want to live in. 

As I continue on my journey through life, I will continue to embark on my musical journey.