Music & Memory through Film:

A Research Project Bridging Applied Ethnomusicology, Service Learning, Creative Aging, and Experiential Ethnography through Film

These are some of the many films made by my students as part of my latest research project which sits at the crossroads of applied ethnomusicology, experiential ethnography through film, and studies of dementia and creative aging. Now in its second year, I have carried out this research in conjunction with service learning undergraduate courses in Maine and Indiana. In my course "Music and Memory: Studying Music and Alzheimer's through Film," my students and I work to help make personalized iPod playlists for residents with dementia at continuing care centers, documenting these experiences through sensory approaches to filmed ethnography.

The films not only document the experiences of reconnecting individuals to the music they most love, but also document the way this research facilitates meaningful intergenerational relationships between college students and elders and their families. Our hope is that these short ethnographic films, shared here and through various public channels, can be used to help raise awareness about the transformative power of music as a vehicle for wellness and healing, and to advocate for the importance of initiatives that promote creative aging. We also are actively working to use these films, and a series of grants and fundraising, to encourage other facilities to affiliate with the nationwide Non-Profit Organization Music and Memory. For further comments and questions please contact 

If you have a few dollars to donate, please help my students reach their fundraising goal to help bring this program to facilities and individuals in our community who cannot afford it otherwise: GoFundMe Account to Raise funds to bring more Music & Memory to Bloomington


Here are 3 of our latest batch of student-made films documenting our work with the Music & Memory Project in Spring 2017. The first was shot at the Better Day Club, and the second two at Gentry Park Senior Living, both in Bloomington, Indiana.

These two films below were shot in Waterville, Maine in Spring 2016