Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory

    Wednesday April 18, 2012 @ 7:00 PM

    Price: $20.00
    Member Price: $18.00

    2011, USA, Michael Rossato-Bennet

    Presented in cooperation with the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter.

    Social worker Dan Cohen, executive director of Music & Memory, engages with Dr. Scott Small, Professor of Neurology at Columbia University, after a screening of the new film Alive Inside.

    This screening is now sold out. Please check the schedule here for more opportunities to see this film.

    Ticket price includes a Q&A with Alzheimer’s specialists & post-program information table staffed by experts from the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter.

    A film by Michael Rossato-Bennett.

    An Ximotion Film.

    Alzheimer’s disease is terrifying because one loses one’s memory. 5.6 million people in the U.S. are struggling with dementia and memory loss and 10 million more people are connected to them. There is no known cure and the numbers of sufferers is on the rise. ALIVE INSIDE follows Dan Cohen, a social worker who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home. What Dan Cohen discovers by accident, and scientists have been studying for years, is that a person suffering from memory loss can seem to “awaken” when given music they have an emotional attachment to. As Oliver Sacks explains, ‘Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience. Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory.”

    The film is witness to this reawakening of ‘lost’ patients. The effect on the patient, the family, the caregiver is both touching and inspiring. The introduction of personalized music into patient’s lives seems to be able to open new vistas of experience, especially those with the least ability to interact. The aim of this film is to encourage widespread adoption of personalized music programs in nursing homes. The reward is enormous and the cost low.


    Dan Cohen is a social worker and the Executive Director of Music & Memory, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the elderly and infirm through the use of personalized music and digital technology. In 2006, Dan had the idea of bringing iPods stocked with patients’ favorite music to long-term care facilities. Faced with an overwhelmingly positive response, Cohen expanded upon this endeavor, founding The iPod Project. The aims of The iPod Project are to support the initiation of iPod-based personalized music programs regardless of one’s location (e.g. at home, in a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospital, or hospice) and raise public awareness about the benefits of keeping engaged with a rich personal music environment regardless of physical, cognitive, or social condition.


    Scott Small, M.D. is a professor of Neurology at Columbia University. He specializes in cognitive neuroscience of working memory and control and of category learning and conceptual representations. His research interests include the use of brain imaging to understand how the hippocampus functions during normal associative memory, and how the hippocampus fails during aging and Alzheimer’s disease.



    Full Screening Schedule

    Wednesday, April 18 – 7:00 p.m.

    Friday, April 20 – 6:30 p.m.

    Saturday, April 21 – 11:30 a.m. / 2:30 p.m. / 5:30 p.m.


    Watch Trailer


    In the Press

    Tapping Music's Power to Heal the Brain, The Globe and Mail (Canada)


    About Brainwave 2012

    Now in its fifth year, Brainwave brings people from diverse walks of life together to engage with neuroscientists in one-on-one conversations in order to better understand the workings of our minds. Starting February 2012 we will focus on how memory is processed in the brain. Learn more:

    Presenting Sponsor


    Brainwave 2012 is made possible, in part, by support from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism.