"Sing Along with Margaret" is a unique project that brings meaningful music to people with Alzheimer's disease and advanced dementia. Music is very powerful, and research shows it is therapeutic: it improves mood, lowers anxiety, reduces depression, and helps people with dementia connect with the present through shared moments of joy. In the video above we are singing "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" -- a happy song with a positive message that puts everyone in a good mood.
All of the songs we record are well known, well loved favorites: songs like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." We also recorded an "album" of hymns and sacred songs, and we will soon begin recording our Christmas "album" with favorites such as "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night."
What makes this project unique?
Margaret is my mother, she is 84 years old, and she has Alzheimer's disease. While she has lost almost all her ability to talk, she can still sing! And music has become one of the main ways she communicates. This project is unique because this music is not only for people with Alzheimer’s disease, it is sung by a special lady with the disease, and she wants to share her joy with others.
Even though it has been known that music has many benefits for people with dementia, there is nobody creating music specifically for this population. The downloadable recordings in the “Sing Along with Margaret” project are all well-known, well-liked favorites; but we incorporate repetition, verbal cues, and words of praise and encouragement. More than just background music, our songs are engaging and encourage participation. Musical responsiveness, as well as sensory awareness and emotional memory, are considered “continuing abilities” for people with dementia, as these skills often remain intact and are rarely compromised by the disease. Our music evokes a response, stimulates the senses, and taps into emotions and memories, and that’s why this type of music therapy is so beneficial to those with Alzheimer’s disease and advanced dementia.
There is nothing else like this available anywhere. Visit our website for more information about "Sing Along with Margaret."
The Wisconsin Dementia Care System Redesign: A Plan for a Dementia-Capable Wisconsin (published earlier this year by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services) recommends a music therapy program that teaches caregivers and health professionals how to purchase music on iTunes to create play lists of “favorite songs” for patients. These songs are then delivered using an iPod with headphones. There are over 100 care facilities in Wisconsin using this program. Caregivers must locate and download music, but it is not always easy to find appropriate songs, and there is a fee charged for downloading much of what is available through iTunes. We want to make the collection of songs in “Sing Along with Margaret” available as FREE downloads to anyone who wants to use these songs as music therapy.
Licensing Fees: $300
Processing Fee (part of licensing): $250
Many of the songs we recorded are in the public domain; however, there are some that are still under copyright and require a license to distribute digitally. Licensing is acquired through The Harry Fox Agency. I researched the licensing fees for those songs, and to allow 200 downloads of each song, it would cost about $20 per song. The licensing fees for these songs total $300 (these are royalty fees that are paid back to those who hold the copyright for these songs). There is also a standard processing fee of $250, so the cost of our project totals $550.
If we go over out funding goal, we will use 100% of the funds to further expand this project.
We want to raise this money so that we can then offer these songs FREE to anyone who wants to use these songs as music therapy with those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Without your donation, we would have to charge as much as $1 per download to cover the licensing fees. We feel this cost would be a burden on families caring for a loved one with dementia. With your help we can provide music therapy to hundreds of people at no cost to them.
Thank you for reading our story and we hope you consider helping us fund this unique and meaningful project.
Risks and challenges
We have about half of the songs already recorded, and they are already being used as part of Margaret's music therapy program. The main cost of this project is securing the licensing rights so that we can make this music available as mp3 downloads. If we do not secure a license and pay royalties for the use of these songs, we will be in violation of federal copyright laws and vulnerable to legal action. The cost of licensing fees is the only barrier to completing this project.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)