d’music’a: magnified.

At choir practice, a choir member asked me:

Why d’music’a?

It’s a fair question.  The name is definitely different and doesn’t follow to any straight-forward rules.

My goal in creating the choir was to take advantage of the ways music and social stimulation can weave their way past any barriers which dementia can create.  There’s something magical about how shared music is able to find pathways we often assume are lost.  And, so far, so good.  In fact, here’s what one member of the choir shared recently:

“what’s great is that although my [family member’s] short term memory generally seems to last no more than about 15 seconds she has the choir very firmly in her mid/long term memory now and feels very positive about it indeed.”

Yes!  It’s this kind of reaction that makes the choir such a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone involved, especially me.

But, why call it d’music’a?  My challenge was to name the choir in a way that cut through the stigma and stereotypes that the word dementia is so often shadowed by and instead highlight the importance of music as our goal.  How could I help people to see the possibility beyond the diagnosis of dementia?  How could I help them see what music is capable of creating?

While finding answers to those questions, I also needed a name that would be memorable as well as easy to hear and say.  It has to roll off the tongue and be heavy with consonants and slightly, well, musical.  The better it is to say, the easier it is for those with verbal challenges to access it and be part of it.

Finally, I wanted the name to be framed in a reference of dementia but not focussed on it.  Members of the choir regardless of whether they have dementia or not should not feel that they are associating themselves with the medical definition of dementia, far too often burdened with expectations of shouldn’ts, can’ts and don’ts.

I wanted to magnify what we would be able to do — create music.

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