Music as a Resource for Health and Wellbeing

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
Ingrid Söderback (ed.)International Handbook of Occupational Therapy Interventions10.1007/978-3-319-08141-0_60

60. Music as a Resource for Health and Wellbeing

Norma Daykin  and Leslie G. K. Bunt2

Department of Health and Social Scences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

Music Therapy Department, Glenside Campus, University of the West of England, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, BS16 1DD Bristol, UK



Norma Daykin


This chapter explores the use of music as a resource for health and wellbeing. Drawing on recent evidence, the contribution of music to a range of health and wellbeing outcomes, including physiologic, psychological, clinical, and social impacts, are outlined.

The chapter identifies key issues for practitioners to consider when using music. These include the background and experience of clients, the importance of facilitation skills, and the need to cope with the sometimes powerful emotional responses to music.

Finally, the chapter highlights the need for further research into the ways in which music can contribute to treatment, rehabilitation, and quality of life in a wide range of settings.

HealthMusicMusic therapyQuality of life

‘It has had a huge, huge influence on me…it did make me change my mind and change my college course, zwhich …improved my life…. I’ve got something to motivate me….’ ‘It gave me something to look forward to…it was good… gave us all an opportunity to spread our wings and try things that we would like to try…. He helped me…put certain things into perspective.’—Quotes from Ethan and Elisa, participants in a participatory music project for young people in youth justice settings, from De Viggiani et al. 2013


Music can be a resource for health and wellbeing in a range of settings, and there are many ways in which music can contribute to the treatment and rehabilitation. There are key issues, challenges, and considerations for practice in using music therapeutically. Music has been used to enhance health and wellbeing for centuries. Up until the second half of the twentieth century, music was used mainly in hospitals as an entertaining diversion, as an aid to convalescence, and as a morale booster (Bunt and Stige 2014). During the past 50 years, there has been a growing recognition of the clinical benefits of music, including listening and playing, in a wide variety of health-care settings. These benefits have mostly been explored within professional music therapy literature . However, the purpose of this chapter is to identify the broad uses of music in health care.


Recorded music and live music performance can be used in a variety of ways to contribute to the prevention and rehabilitation for the children and adults with a wide range of conditions. Music can do the following:

  • Create a relaxing and calming atmosphere

  • Be a form of physical activity; music making supports both individual and group treatment plans

  • Offer emotional and psychological support

  • Enhance motivation.

  • Provide opportunities for enjoyment and social interaction.

  • Help clients cope with chronic or challenging conditions.


Candidates for the Intervention

Music can benefit a wide range of clients of all ages, both genders, and different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Settings Where Music Is Used

Diverse musical approaches are adopted in many health and social care settings including primary care, preschool nurseries, hospitals, hospices, residential care homes, community day centres for adults with physical disabilities and sensory impairments, prisons, special schools, and mainstream schools. Music therapy is well established in a number of health-care areas, particularly child and adult mental health and learning disabilities services (Bunt and Hoskyns 2002; Bunt and Stige 2014). Music is also increasingly used in other disciplines, such as cancer care (Daykin et al. 2006) and in community and public health settings (Clift et al. 2012, 2013).

Only gold members can continue reading. Log In or Register to continue

May 21, 2017 | Posted by in GENERAL | Comments Off on Music as a Resource for Health and Wellbeing
Premium Wordpress Themes by UFO Themes