Remembering the life of John Mann

21 November 2019

John Mann, was the lead singer of Spirit of the West has passed away and while we celebrate the man whose voice underscored countless Canadian celebrations it is hard not to talk about the illness that took his life far too soon. John Mann was diagnosed with early onset Alzhiemers at the age of 50 years old. 
Research shows that music therapy provides tremendous benefits for Alzheimer’s patients. Despite that he was no longer able to perform his songs, music was still very much a part of John Mann’s life. 
Music Therapy is a powerful tool for people living with dementia: music has proven to increase physical and social activity; reignite memories; and improve sleep, mood, cognition, communication, and overall quality of life.
Music can serve a means of communication for those where the function of language has become very challenging or lost. Language appears to be a relatively new function of the brain in human history, whereas music is pre-verbal and is pancultural. Music is a pre-verbal and sometimes non-verbal brain function, predating the ability for language. Furthermore, music is processed by many different parts of the brain rather than just one center, as in language. The elements of music such as rhythm, pitch, and melody and are all processed differently. The emotions are also tied in with music, thus activating the limbic system. Oliver Sacks, an advocate of music therapy, says that we listen to music with our muscles.
As we celebrate the legend that was John Mann, we encourage you learn more about the healing power of music here