NeuRA and the Talent Development Project launch Music and Memories

Emerging singer songwriters collaborate with people diagnosed with dementia to create original songs inspired by real life.

Australia’s esteemed emerging creative artist program’, the Talent Development Project (TDP) and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), today jointly announced their industry-first partnership Music and Memories. The program connects people with dementia and young singer songwriters to produce original music inspired by the life stories of participants.

Every year, one in five Australians are diagnosed with a major brain or mind disorder. Currently, more than 421,000 Australians live with dementia. The latest data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare predicts this number could almost double by 2054, making dementia Australia’s leading cause of death within three decades.

NeuRA is a not-for-profit, independent medical research institute dedicated to improving the lives of people living with brain and nervous system disorders through research.

According to Dr Craig Sinclair, Senior Research Fellow at NeuRA and UNSW, there is good evidence music-based interventions have positive effects among people with cognitive impairment.

Exposure to music alone is understood to have therapeutic benefits, but it is also believed music provides a scaffold’ for the cognitive processes that establish memories,” said Dr Sinclair. It’s why we often see the ability to play an instrument or sing a song preserved in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia.

By partnering with the TDP, we’re building tempo on the powerful relationship between music and memories and giving people with dementia and their families a unique gift through song.”

The Music and Memories initiative connected singer songwriters Jordyn Richards, Sam Green, and Jade Steg from TDP’s graduate THRIVE program, with people who are in various stages in their dementia journey. Through a get to know’ deep dive, the musicians interviewed their respective participants to draw out who they are and what matters most to them. 

With time a burdensome factor in dementia diagnosis, giving NeuRA participants space to recount their life stories with our artists, and allowing their experience to be recorded in song before the disease progresses, we hope will be a special experience for the participant and a treasured gift to the family,” said Peter Cousens AM, TDP Artistic Director.

The collaboration is also beneficial in giving our songwriters a meaningful focus for their creativity. Our highly-talented musicians know how to develop their art, but it’s a new challenge to craft a piece that taps into the essence of someone else’s life and memories. The positive impact this can offer people with cognitive impairment, and the comforting effect on their families is giving Jordyn, Sam, and Jade true meaning and purpose in what they do.” 

This month, the TDP musicians performed and gifted their original songs to participants and their families. These songs are due to be streamed on all music platforms.

NeuRA will host its first-ever Giving Day on April 10 to encourage donors to engage with the Music and Memories campaign and support NeuRA’s life-changing research into dementia.

Dr Sinclair added; With Australia on the precipice of a significant rise in dementia rates, the development of interventions and therapeutic approaches through medical research is more important than ever. Funds raised through the NeuRA’s Giving Day will support researchers in our quest to deliver the much-needed breakthroughs of tomorrow.”

To donate or register for NeuRA Giving Day, visit: https://​www​.giv​ing​day​.neu​ra​.edu​.au/

Listen to the songs written and performed by TDP singer-songwriters Jordyn Richards, Sam Green and Jade Steg here.

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About Talent Development Project

For over 33 years, the TDP has been instrumental in developing generations of Australian musicians and performing artists through its unique NSW public high school’s program. Under the artistic direction of Peter Cousens AM, the TDP inspires, nurtures, and expands the creative talent of select young musicians, singers and songwriters and develops in them the artistry, optimism and resilience required to pursue a professional career in the performing arts.


About NeuRA

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Sydney, Australia. For over three decades, researchers at NeuRA have been dedicated to advancing medical science, aiming to prevent, treat, and cure brain and nervous system diseases, disorders and injuries. NeuRA’s research is diverse, spanning dementia, mental health, chronic pain and falls prevention. With a vision to enhance the lives of those affected by neurological challenges, our mission is to discover innovative solutions for neurodegeneration, mental health issues, and healthy ageing through world-class medical research.

To learn more about NeuRA: www​.neu​ra​.edu​.au

9 April 2024

Expertise & facilities

Dementia and Healthy Ageing

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