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Study Examines Impact of Live Music on Health and Well-Being

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Apr 19, 2016

While numerous studies have drawn a connection between the arts and health and well-being, a recent article in the journal Public Heath identified a positive correlation between attending a live musical performance and decreased stress levels. According to the authors, it is “the first study to investigate the impact of listening [to music] within a cultural space.” In particular, their study examined the impact of a live music performance on the subjects’ biological response—including levels of steroid hormones such as progesterone.

The researchers observed two groups of concert-goers during performances of Eric Whitacre compositions. Both groups were viewing the same musical material and, ideally, were exposed to a similar live music experience. Within both cohorts, concert-goers exhibited a drop in glucocorticoid levels, along with significant decreases in cortisol. Both hormones are involved in stress response, which essentially indicates that, throughout the course of the performance, the attendees experienced lower levels of stress. Over time, reduced stress has significant implications for more general health trajectories.

According to the authors, the “study opens up the question of how engaging with music and the arts in cultural settings can influence biological and psychological states and, consequently, the potential of cultural events to enhance people’s broader health and well-being.”

Read the full article here.

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