Passport to Music connects music and memory


Passport to Music by BAI and MIM
Music can affect us in powerful ways,
especially when it comes to mood
and memory. An offering by the
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and the
Musical Instrument Museum
supports this engaging connection.

Passport to Music is a life enrichment program offered by the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in partnership with the Musical Instrument Museum.

Designed for persons with mild to moderate memory loss and their care partner, guests experience a different region of the world each week.

The goal is to explore memories in this unique environment through music and, by engaging in interactive experiences, guests can trace cultural roots and traditions.

The language of the soul

Music can affect us in powerful ways, especially when it comes to mood and memory. In support of this engaging connection, Passport to Music takes advantage of an appreciation of the world’s diverse cultures that MIM demonstrates by showing how we innovate, adapt, and learn from each other to create music—the language of the soul.

“We’re excited to offer this series to people and families within our community, because it offers an opportunity to help them remain socially active and engaged which is key to maintaining quality of life,” said Lori Nisson, LCSW, Family and Community Services director at BAI. “While Alzheimer’s and other related dementias affect mood, memory, and language, music can function as a powerful tool in eliciting positive memories, emotions, and interactions.”

Diane and Marlin Gerdts
Diane Gerdts, a former choir
director enjoyed Passport to Music
as much as her husband Marlin,
who has Alzheimer's disease.

Music is good for the soul

Phoenix resident Diane Gerdts has seen the positive results music has had on her 85-year-old husband Marlin, who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years. As a former choir director, Diane knows the power and influence of music and she was thrilled to participate during the pilot program. She said she couldn’t believe how much Marlin enjoyed himself.

“My husband really blossomed during that event. That was a joy to me,” she said. “But it was also a great experience for me to meet other families and caregivers. We’re all going through the same journey in different ways, that connection was incredible.”

The Summer Series of Passport to Music gets underway this week and the Fall Series begins November 1. Sessions are held quarterly for five consecutive Fridays and participants are encouraged to attend all sessions in their selected series.

This program was funded as a result of generous support from Rosario Strano in honor of his wife Judy Loker to the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation. To support programs and activities, visit