Heidi Clare, MMA

Atlantic Fellow at GBHI
UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Professional Profile
Home Country: USA
Field of Employment: Music
Key Areas: music, creativity, song writing

We have seen in recent times how easy it is to light up a person via music. There is nothing more inspiring and beautiful than a brain lit up.



Heidi Clare is an educator and a performer, and she is widely acknowledged as the best old-time fiddler currently performing. She brings this deep understanding of music, creativity, and performance to GBHI where she works to reduce the stigma of dementia and to promote brain health by helping people engage their creative minds. She is developing a radio program and podcast where she interviews high profile musicians and clinical scientists about aging and the creative process, a mysterious process to most—including musicians! These interviews show that while different levels of focused engagement lead to different levels of achievement, any brain can learn and benefit from musical engagement. She is putting this into practice by developing a musical curriculum that can be replicated in adult day health centers, assisted living communities, and other settings. Her study helps participants learn in such a way that even beginners can engage their brains musically. Clare will investigate if this type of engagement helps to prevent or slow cognitive decline over time. As a third component of her program, Clare is also writing songs about aging. These songs will share multifaceted stories of aging and have an ability to reach the public culture in a way that scientific studies don’t.

Bio: Heidi Clare earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in music from Holy Names University. She went on to perform all over the US, produce seven albums, and teach music. Clare has been twice nominated for a Grammy award.