Music Matters for Adults

Giving Voice poster frame


Research Summaries

  • Older Americans who are actively involved in music show improvements with anxiety, loneliness, and depression issues that are critical in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system and improving health. (American Music Conference 2007)

In a study co-funded by the NEA and the National Institute of Mental Health and other sponsors, Gene Cohen measured the impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults.  Healthy older adults who participating in a chorale ensemble reported higher overall physical health, fewer doctor visits, less medi­cation use, fewer health problems, better morale and less loneliness when compared to the comparison group who did no musical activity. (“The Arts and Human Development: Learning across the Lifespan,” a convening by The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 14, 2011, Washington, DC).

TED Music and the Brain

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.


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