Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Music Hits Heart, Improves Life Quality

Music Hits Heart, Improves Life Quality

Saturday, 26 March, 2022 - 05:30
Cellist Claire Oppert plays music to soothe patient Bernard Genin, 79, at end-of-life care home Jeanne Garnier in Paris, France, May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Yiming Woo

“Music has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation,” wrote the late neurologist Oliver Sacks. A new analysis has empirically confirmed something that rings true for many music lovers – that singing, playing or listening to music can improve wellbeing and quality of life, according to The Guardian.

A review of 26 studies conducted across several countries including Australia, the UK and the US has found that music may provide a clinically significant boost to mental health.

Seven of the studies involved music therapy, 10 looked at the effect of listening to music, eight examined singing and one studied the effect of gospel music.

The analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, confirmed “music interventions are linked to meaningful improvements in wellbeing”, as measured quantitatively via standardized quality-of-life survey data. The effects were similar whether participants sang, played or listened to music.

The authors of the meta-analysis suggest that the benefit of music to mental quality of life was close in effect to improvements in mental health due to exercise and weight loss.

“Future research is needed to clarify optimal music interventions and doses for use in specific clinical and public health scenarios,” the authors said, emphasizing that there was “substantial individual variation in responses to music interventions” across the studies analyzed.

“Many of us know from personal experience how profound a music intervention can be at times that include surgery, ill-health or mental health episodes,” said Kim Cunio, an associate professor and convener of musicology at the Australian National University, who was not involved in the research.

Editor Picks