Can music unlock memory?

Recently I came across the Numeric Language of Music® (NLM) program conceived by Patty Carlson. Patty is a film score composer and producer, concert pianist and music educator. She taught herself to play the piano at the age of 21 by listening to music, memorising individual parts and finding the matching tones on the keyboard.

While working as a film score producer in Aspen Colorado, she began teaching children to play the piano using her unique method of ‘understanding the language of music’ which was totally different from traditional piano lessons. Unexpectedly, her students not only learnt to play and compose complex and elegant music after just a few months — in some cases after only a few lessons — they also showed dramatic improvements in reading, writing and arithmetic. Even more extraordinary were the effects of her piano lessons on children with special needs and those on the autism spectrum.

Eleven year old Kaden was in 5th grade but performing at the level of 3rd grade. His brother Cale had been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) in which the brain has difficulty co-ordinating movements of the tongue, jaws and lips. This makes a child’s speech unintelligible and often leads to reduced vocabulary and difficulty with word order. In many cases, the condition persists into adulthood despite intensive speech pathology. Patty gave the family her Piano for Special Needs program and the boys were taught by their mother and grandmother following the instructions in Patty’s manual. One month later, Kaden progressed to Patty’s Piano Logic DVD program. Three months later, his school teachers were astounded that he’d gone from reading at a 3.4 level to a 5.8 level and his maths had advanced more quickly than any student they’d ever seen. In the same time, Cale had a 70% improvement in his speech and was being understood by everyone around him. In the world of CAS, this was unheard of.

These and many more remarkable results compelled Patty to test her Numeric Language of Music® (NLM) program with people who had dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke and brain injury. She approached an assisted living centre in San Luis, Colorado and began teaching three volunteers. The results were phenomenal.

One of the volunteers was a woman with advanced Alzheimer’s who was struggling to eat because she had difficulty getting a fork to her mouth. Within four weeks of Patty’s piano lessons, her movements became smooth and co-ordinated and her eating improved dramatically. She also started engaging with fellow residents after years of silence.

A second volunteer had severe Parkinson’s disease with incomprehensible speech, poor balance and loss of hand dexterity. After five months of practising the NLM program, she was no longer dropping her consonants, people could follow her speech and her movements were deft and flowing. A third volunteer had suffered a stroke 10 years previously. Once again, the NLM program produced reversal of symptoms.

Could it be that Patty’s unique method of musical education operates like computer code that reprograms the brain to regain lost functions?

Patty does not claim to have a cure for dementia or any other brain disease. Instead, she invites people with advanced Alzheimer’s and their care-partners to try her NLM program FREE of charge and to report on their results. Her website offers an instructional video that is incredibly easy to follow and can be taught to anyone at any stage of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. It simply involves playing specific keys, with specific fingers, in a specific order. If Dad were still alive, I wouldn’t hesitate in trying the program with him. If you or someone you know has Alzheimer’s, I encourage you to join Patty’s quest to learn about the potential of her program to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

On her dementia website ( she writes:

Watch the 20 minute NLM instructional video and repeat the steps without deviation. The parameters of our research project are basic. Played twice a week for one to three months, let us know if and when the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin to reverse. Let’s find out together.

You can learn more about Patty Carlson, her method of piano teaching and her results with children at She is an incredibly humble, generous and loving human being with a genuine desire to help people heal.

Please forward this Health-e-Byte to anyone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or another form of dementia.

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