Content starts here
AARP AARP States Tennessee

AARP, Vanderbilt University Exploring the Healing Power of Music

They say, music heals all wounds.


That’s the driving idea behind an innovative new partnership between AARP Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and the National Museum of African American Music.

This trio of Nashville-based organizations formed a collaboration earlier this summer to put music to work - as part of the healing process for military veterans suffering from dementia and PTSD.

“With this collaboration, we have created a community-based therapeutic music program for senior and veterans audiences,” explained Akash Gururaja, Lead Research Assistant for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Music in the ICU program.


With support from several grants, including funds the AARP Brain Health Initiative, the project kicked off its pilot outreach sessions, engaging veterans with music performances at long-term care facilities in Middle Tennessee.

The effort seeks to identify the impact of music to promote health, especially in older adults and veterans, as it relates to enhancing the field of health longevity. Musicians have already been performing for veterans in long-term care facilities in Nashville.

“Supporting veterans and their families is a priority for AARP Tennessee, and this initiative explores a new way to do that,” said Mia McNeil, AARP Tennessee State Director. “Music has shown to provide significant emotional and mental health benefits, and maybe it’s possible that it can help physical healing as well.”


During a formal program launch event at the National Museum of African-American Music in downtown Nashville, the group shared experiences from two pilot sessions held recently in the Nashville area.

Co-led by Vanderbilt faculty Dr. Ruth Kleinpell and Dr. Joseph Schlesinger, plans are underway to grow the initiative.

"The program expands the therapeutic music program and ongoing research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center," explained Ruth Kleinpell PhD RN."

“We look forward to expanding the therapeutic music program to additional community and veterans audiences,” said Dr. Joseph Schlesinger from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

About AARP Tennessee
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.