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Arts and Culture Public Officials Breakfast 2015

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Music Can Re-Wire the Brain and Facilitate Healing (by Guest Blogger Carol Shively Mizes)

I have personally been able to see the results of the benefits of neurological music techniques, properly applied in rehabilitation with people who suffered brain injuries, strokes and spinal cord injuries. It has truly been a rewarding experience to watch patients here at MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio, recover and live a full and productive life once again. 

I enjoy working with everyone but especially enjoy watching musicians, who have lost the ability to play their instruments due to a trauma, once again have the skills to play their instrument PRIOR to leaving the inpatient unit. Music can re-connect the neuro-pathways or make new neuro-pathways in the brain to facilitate recovery. 

Two special examples of musicians that were patients here at MetroHealth, come to my mind. By all standards, both of these patients were expected to die based on their circumstances and horrible injuries; 

MetroHeatlh Music Blog photo

First, Jory Aebly, who was a victim of a violent crime, where his best friend was killed and he was shot in the head at very close range. When he finally arrived in rehab after being in the Trauma Center, Jory had intention tremors that made intricate movements near impossible. Jory tried to play the guitar himself, prior to music therapy, and could not strum without dropping the pick. With the use of neurological music therapy techniques, Jory was playing again, although slowly, in his first session of music therapy. Using this technique daily and making it more difficult over time, Jory was able to strum and accompany himself on guitar with any song he wanted to play, prior to discharge, 6 days later. 

Two months after discharge, Jory returned to MetroHealth to perform in a band, called Metro Hearts of Rhythm, made up of former patients that were musicians. The band played for a MetroHealth Foundation Reception for an hour and half. Jory also played 2 solos on guitar while singing. The news cameras were there and no one could believe how well he was doing. 

In addition to his skills returning, while in the hospital, Jory AND his mother, could finally sleep at night with the use of a special CD given to them by myself that facilitates stress reduction and sleep as shown by research. They were ever so grateful.

My next example is yet another accomplished musician who suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while performing a concert.

For more about intersections in the arts and health fields, read Creative Minds in Medicine and attend the conference on October 29 and 30.

This blog is used under license and was submitted by volunteer contributor Carol Shively Mizes, Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow and Activity Therapy Coordinator, MetroHealth Medical Center. Learn more about MetroHealth at their website, The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CPAC. CPAC does not endorse the purchase of products or services by its guest bloggers. We thank all writers for volunteering their expertise with us in order to continue to strengthen, unify and connect greater Cleveland’s arts and culture community.

Categories: arts, artsandhealth, health, Music, Physicians


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