Senior citizens ‘find solace in attending Mind and Melody music sessions’

Michelle Silva/ Contributing Writer

Mind and Melody at FIU is fine-tuning its pitch to attract new members.

The newly founded chapter of the non-profit organization is expanding it services which already uses music to aid those with neurological impairments.

Carolina Formoso, the chapter’s president, says Mind and Melody uses the music as interactive therapy, and the impairments serviced by the club vary in nature.

“Right now, we work with individuals that are older that experience Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes [or] different forms of dementia,” Formoso said.

As the organization grows, the e-board envisions an expansion of its sessions and a broadening of its audience.

“We want to make it to the national level and we also want to incorporate different age groups…and different types of neurological impairments,” Formoso said.

Mind and Melody, INC. was created in 2014, said Formoso. The young non-profit relies exclusively on volunteers to keep the programs growing.

“Participating in Mind and Melody is actually a really rewarding opportunity [to] be among an older community,” said Elizabeth Medina, the organization’s public relations coordinator.

Formoso explains that senior citizens who attend music sessions by Mind and Melody find as much solace in their weekly reprieve from conventional therapy as their session leaders do. Members of the group Formoso led last semester reminded her of the importance they placed on the sessions.

“They would remember that I would come on a specific day to teach them music [and] it was very rewarding to hear that. They would say to their families ‘please don’t pick me up on this day because I’m going to learn a little bit about music,’” Formoso said.

While Mind and Melody’s public relations team is looking to add to the list of facilities they collaborate with, they are also looking to strengthen the organization’s membership numbers. Joining FIU’s chapter of Mind and Melody is a two-step process, Formoso says. The process includes a background check and interview that excludes questions about musical ability.

“We’re always looking for volunteers and we’re always looking for musicians,” said Formoso. “We welcome all types of students despite their music background.”

Volunteering with the organization accounts for part of the operation, but part time paid opportunities exist within Mind and Melody as well, according to Medina.

“That’s our [current] goal, to see if we can target some musicians so they can be hired,” Medina tells student media.

Formoso says volunteer opportunities with Mind and Melody are available to all members of the FIU community. Volunteers help senior citizens play user-friendly instruments, like maracas and xylophones.

“The focus of volunteers is to help the [participants], to make sure that the individual is …getting all that they can get from the session,” said Formoso.

Mind and Melody also by provides multi-lingual sessions. Catering to individuals, Medina and Formoso emphasize, is the key to helping the mind through melodies.

According to Formoso, facilities currently partnering with Mind and Melody are home to Spanish-speaking, Creole-speaking, and English-speaking individuals. As such, the organization makes sure to provide translations in all three languages. The organization welcomes new volunteers fluent in any language.

Students interested in joining the non-profit organization can find more information at mindandmelody.org. FIU’s chapter meets every other Monday in GC 286.

Image retrieved from Flickr. 

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