Music & Memory


To improve the experiences of consumers in NSW Health services through Music & Memory.


International evaluations have shown that Music & Memory:

  • reduces depression, anxiety and pain
  • helps awaken the mind and restore identity
  • participants are happier, calmer and more social
  • reconnects participants with caregivers, family and friends
  • reduces the need for psychotropic medications
  • increases awareness, engagement and cognition.


Music & Memory is an accredited program that uses individual, personalised playlists on iPods to help improve the lives of people accessing healthcare. With support from the ACI and the NSW Ministry of Health, 21 sites across 10 local health districts will pilot Music & Memory in aged care, multipurpose services, palliative care, mental health services, dementia day care, trauma services and surgery. Music & memory is an accredited program run through the Arts Health Institute.


Developed in 2006 by Dan Cohen in the USA, Music & Memory is a systematic way to provide personalised music playlists of beloved music on iPods.

Music is profoundly linked to personal memories and our brains are hardwired to connect music with long-term memory. Uncovering music with deep personal meaning helps to bring joy and comfort to those with dementia, mental illness, chronic illness or those who are suffering from loneliness or isolation.

In 2015, Music & Memory was in over 3000 health care services in the United States. Using readily available technology, Music & Memory is now exclusively delivered in Australia by the Arts Health Institute. The program includes structured education and training to support organisation wide implementation.


  • Arts Health Institutes
  • NSW Ministry of Health

Key Dates

Pilot Sites

21 sites were selected to participate in the Music & Memory pilot. The sites include: in-patient aged care units, multipurpose services, palliative care units, mental health services; dementia units; trauma services; and residential aged care. Pilot sites are located across NSW including metropolitan, regional and rural locations.



Eurobodalla Medical, Surgical and Sub-acute wards

Southern NSW LHD

Braidwood MPS

Southern NSW LHD

Wagga Wagga Hospital GEM and TACP

Murrumbidgee LHD

Hillston MPS

Murrumbidgee LHD

Bingara MPS

Hunter New England LHD

John Hunter Hospital Trauma Unit

Hunter New England LHD

Wallsend Residential Aged Care Facility

Hunter New England LHD

Tweed Hospital Mental Health Unit

Northern NSW LHD

Dunedoo MPS

Western NSW LHD

Nyngan MPS

Western NSW LHD

Rylstone MPS

Western NSW LHD

Blayney MPS

Western NSW LHD

Hornsby Adult Mental Health

Northern Sydney LHD

Hornsby Rehab and Aged Care Service

Northern Sydney LHD

St George Hospital Aged Care

South Eastern Sydney LHD

Mary Potter House Dementia Day Care Centre

South Eastern Sydney LHD

Blacktown Mt Druitt Palliative Care Unit and Aged Care

Western Sydney LHD

Concord Hospital Aged Care and Rehab

Sydney LHD

Canterbury Hospital Telopea Ward

Sydney LHD

Wyong Hospital Mental Health

Central Coast LHD

Central Coast Children and Young People's Mental Health

Central Coast LHD

Implementation Sites


The ACI will be undertaking a limited evaluation of the Music and Memory pilot to answer the following evaluation questions.

  • Can Music & Memory be successfully implemented within a NSW healthcare setting?
  • How does the Music & Memory program impact on patient, family and staff experiences of care?

Related Initiatives

Further Details

Music & Memory - Arts Health Institute


Bronwen Conn
Patient Experience and Consumer Engagement Project Officer
02 9464 4722

Chris Shipway
A/Director, Clinical Program Design and Implementation
02 9464 4605

Page Top | Added: 5 July 2016 | Last modified: 4 August 2016

Bronwen Conn
Patient Experience and Consumer Engagement Project Officer
02 9464 4722