At the MIT Media Lab, Tod Machover and the Opera of the Future team are exploring the frontiers of what Machover calls “personalized opera”, music that is created for each individual and designed to elicit responses specifically tailored to that person’s needs. One person may seek music to calm and focus the mind. Another may desire music to energize and stimulate creativity. Most of us depend on others to create songs that touch our emotions, but suppose you could gain insight into the deep interplay of musical forms and your psyche, and generate your ideal music? We can only begin to imagine how powerful and transformative such music could be.
In the meantime, the music that already exists can work wonders, if it can reach those who need it. The Music and Memory foundation is showing how music, delivered via an iPod loaded with a personalized playlist, can awaken people impaired by severe neurological disorders. Watch this video of “Henry”, a man in the catatonic grip of advanced Alzheimer’s disease. A session of listening to music literally “restores Henry to himself.”
The foundation can’t keep up with requests from nursing homes for iPods for their residents. Please consider donating a new or used iPod. Help people connect to their music, and to their selves.