This paper presents a music therapy methodology for cognitive rehabilitation of elderly people. The training is prefigured in order to solicit in elderly people with severe learning disabilities the gradual re-appropriation of basic mental functions through the stimulation of separate processes. A preliminary phase allowed researches to specify the objectives and gather information about the most appropriate way to start the training within a specific institution. As a second step, the patients that would had benefit more from the intervention were selected. In addition, the most effective music-therapy activities with geriatric patients were identified. A second part of the training, which took place with a smaller group of patients with a higher average level of intellectual capability, allowed to develop a new series of musical exercises aimed at the reactivation of complex cognitive operations, requiring more memory load than the previously proposed ones, and a deeper conceptual elaboration. The training was then validated, and the findings have allowed researchers to specify the conditions that make music therapy sessions effective, the most efficient ways to lead them, the impact they have on the personnel and organization of the institutions, the necessary training for those involved. Qualitative data also provided positive feedback about the interest and participation of older people in this type of initiative.
Keywords: Music-therapy, rehabilitation, elderly, cognitive empowerment