Ep. 16: The Backstory of “Awakenings” and “The Music Never Stopped,” with Dr. Concetta Tomaino (basis of a main character in each film)

Ep. 16: The Backstory of “Awakenings” and “The Music Never Stopped,” with Dr. Concetta Tomaino (basis of a main character in each film)

 

November 12, 2019

Dr. Concetta Tomaino co-founded the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function with the renowned author and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks. Tomaino’s work is highlighted in two feature films based on Dr. Sacks’ work: The Music Never Stopped; and Awakenings, with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Dr. Tomaino is internationally known for her research in the clinical applications of music and neurologic rehabilitation.  In this episode, she discusses her work with Dr. Sacks, highlighted in two feature films.  She also describes “active music making” as an effective and low-risk form of intervention for those suffering from neurological impairments AND depression or lack of motivation.

Guest

Our guest today joins us from Mt. Vernon, NY. Dr. Concetta Tomaino is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. Her co-founder was the late renowned author neurologist Oliver Sacks. Dr. Tomaino is internationally known for her research in the clinical applications of music and neurologic rehabilitation.  She lectures on music therapy throughout the world. Her work has been featured in national programs including 48 Hours and 60 Minutes; in international programs including the BBC; and in books on health and healing. She has served on many boards and received numerous awards. She is on the faculty of Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and Concordia College-NY.

Improv

Dr. Tomaino recommends creating a playlist that matches the beats per minute (bpm) of the activity you will be doing. Use a metronome (or free metronome app, such as MetroTimer) to find an appropriate tempo for the activity. Then create a playlist of songs matching this speed. This can be used to regulate an uneven gait, improve balance when walking, etc. (or increase your pace if you’re a runner!).

Connect

Coda

Dr. Tomaino tells the story of hearing Count Basie and Louie Armstrong play live in a park when she was about 10 years old. That was the moment she became intrigued with the trumpet as an instrument.  She went on to play the trumpet, which set in motion the career she has had.

Additional Resources

Listener Improv

Thank you, Listeners, for joining us today. A special thank-you goes to listener Julie. Julie says: “I’m a dental hygienist, and many clients plug in their earbuds and listen to music or podcasts while getting their teeth cleaned, either because it helps them avoid feeling anxious, or just because it makes the time more enjoyable for them.  Sometimes I recommend that to clients, and they may say, ‘Is that OK? I feel like it’s rude.’ I assure them it’s perfectly fine.” 

This is another Listener Improv that falls into the category of “I wish I thought of this a long time ago.” I don’t know why this NEVER has occurred to me. My dentist does have TV screens for us to watch while they’re working on us, and the patient can select the channel. But I’m not a network TV watcher, so I always watch news; but it’s just to sort of pass the time and I would much rather be listening to one of the regular podcasts I subscribe to. I have to tell you, Julie, that this Listener Improv made such an impact on me that I had a dream about it. I had a dream that I showed up for my regular cleaning, and once I got there, I realized I had forgotten my earbuds. I was so irritated with myself — I JUST heard this great idea, I totally planned to do it and was looking forward to it — I can’t believe I completely biffed on bringing my earbuds! I am totally doing this Improv at my next dentist appointment. Thank you, Julie!

Please let me know, like Julie, a practical, concrete way you enhance life with music. Leave a comment below, comment on social media (I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn), or in an email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com). If you enjoy the show, please subscribe, rate, and review in whatever podcatcher you use — and tell a friend! Word of mouth is THE biggest influencer. If you have a smart speaker, remember: you can listen to the show by saying, “Alexa [or Hey Google], play Enhance Life with Music podcast.” Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

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