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Promoting Health Through Music

Music and Wellness are two words increasingly positively associated. Music has been shown to promote wellness for all types of people ranging from children learning empathy through instruments to seniors’ enhanced bonding and mental engagement through music. But did you know that a nonprofit has made great strides in bringing together a diverse bench of physicians, researchers, musicians, social services workers, senior care specialists, and nonprofit community leaders, to promote the many and varied positive attributes of music on health?

The Cincinnati Music & Wellness Coalition (a 501(c)(3) originally incorporated in 2009 as Global Music and Wellness) has become a prominent promoter of health and wellness through music in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Coalition’s mission is to promote a culture of wellness through evidence-based recreational music-making. What makes the Music & Wellness Coalition so special is their combination of scientific medical research with actual music making. This idea has been supported by demonstrating a link between playing music and the positive effects on one’s overall health—lowering stress, blood pressure, and heart rate. Dr. Barry Bittman, a neurologist and early leader in recreational music making, determined that playing music within the context of a group in a pressure-free environment could reduce stress at the DNA level. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its documented interruption of essential mental health services, has made the need for music-based programs to address anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, and stress, even all that much greater.

In addition to numerous research studies conducted about the health benefits of music, this nonprofit has created many programs and hosted many events to promote its mission. For example, their annual Music & Medicine Conference brings together musicians, researchers, physicians, and other healthcare/senior care professionals to present current research on the benefits of music on various populations.

This organization is very much an inspiration, but it gets even better. This year, The Power of Music is thrilled to have the opportunity to present at the Music & Medicine conference, to promote a niche way to combat social isolationism and enhance health and wellness by spreading live, high school-led music to those in the community who need it most. We hope that through this collaboration The Power of Music can be strengthened, both literally and metaphorically, with the added resources in the Music & Wellness Coalition.

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