Music Connects


  • Marjorie Lee jacobs Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation



Psychiatric rehabilitation aims to promote health recovery from significant losses, both physical and psychological, that have derailed the lives of adults and young adults so that they can actively participate in rebuilding and recreating themselves.  The population faces premature morbidity and experiences higher than average rates of chronic and life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary diseases. When participants join any of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation programs, they take on the role of student, increasing their knowledge, skills, and supports to further their personal goals and recovery journeys.               

Most of the mind-body, rehabilitation interventions I design and teach utilize music to boost mood and motivation, facilitate social connection, increase concentration, improve memory, create new memories, deepen respiration, promote movement, and elicit the relaxation response.  In addition, I use seated and walking meditation (often combined with nature sounds, music, chanting, and/or singing) to cultivate attention, curiosity, awareness, acceptance, an expanded perspective, accurate perceptions, compassion, and optimism. 

The poem Music Connects was inspired primarily by my 13-week intervention entitled Developing Spirituality for Stress Resilience that I recently taught spring semester 2017. I have been teaching and developing this course since 2007. The 17 participants were adults and young adults diagnosed with one or more of the following: trauma- and stressor related disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Each class of Developing Spirituality for Stress Resilience encouraged   its participants in class to engage in a variety of music-related activities to inspire hope, feel part of a community, and let their spirits soar by together listening to music, reading aloud song lyrics, reflecting upon and discussing the lyrics’ relevance to their lives, and singing.  Music Connects was written during the second week of the semester when there was quite a bit of resistance from four participants to singing aloud.  After writing the poem, I shared it with everyone the following week.  The results are found in the poem.

Author Biography

Marjorie Lee jacobs, Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Marjorie Jacobs, MA with a CAGS in Integrative Holistic Health Studies, is a psychiatric rehabilitation clinician at the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation where she designs and teaches promising group interventions for adults diagnosed with a serious mental illness based on the applications of mindfulness practice (meditation, music listening, singing, and dancing), positive psychology, and neuroscience in order to help build stress resilience and facilitate mental health recovery.