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Does live music offer any health benefits?

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When was the last occasion when you went to a live music performance? That doesn’t have to be a trip to your local stadium for an outrageously expensive stage play; it may be someone with a guitar at the coffee shop, a jazz quartet at the farmers market, or a school concert or visiting one of the theatres in New Jersey. These encounters are not only enjoyable, but they may also be beneficial to one’s health.

According to data by O2, which owns numerous live music venues in the UK, as well as independent study reports from Australia, live music is associated with feelings of well-being, self-worth, and connectedness to others. Their findings reveal that seeing live music might contribute to these happy mental sensations more than activities such as yoga or spending some time with a dog.

It may appear that so much qualitative science verifies what we already know via experience and folk wisdom. However, this does not render such studies obsolete. Rather, it lays the groundwork for more in-depth inquiries into individual causes and effects, which can lead to a more sophisticated knowledge of general phenomena. 

“People who actively engaged with music through dancing and visiting events such as concerts and musicals reported a higher level of subjective well-being,” according to the Australian study. The study, titled “If You’re Happy and You Know It: Music Engagement and Subjective Wellbeing,” published in March 2017, defines ‘wellbeing’ as “the scientific psychological term for general mood ‘happiness,’ which is positive, stable, and constant over time.”

Although it is a self-reported measure, subjective well-being (SWB) assists psychologists in identifying effective therapy for depression and mood disorders. One of them is meaningfully engaging with music, and you don’t have to be a musician to gain the benefits. While “producing music and performing foster self-exploration, emotional expression, self-esteem, and confidence,” according to the study’s authors, interacting with music as a fan is also “associated with higher mood when examined in terms of activation and valence.”

However, simply listening to recorded music will not provide the same benefits. While “recent technical advances” and streaming services have “increased the availability and accessibility to music,” “engaging with music extends beyond passive listening.” The “social component of music engagement” is largely responsible for the beneficial effects of active participation in a music scene—for example, as a member of a fan community or festival audience. Listening by oneself may improve one’s physical and emotional wellness. “Listening in the presence of others is related to more positive experiences.”

Live music generally lowers stress levels, enhances social bonds while decreasing pain levels, and can even biologically cause people to experience “skin-orgasms.” One hopes that the report offers a compelling case for sponsoring live music as a mental health project. 

Conclusion

Experiencing live music can impact our health very positively. Studies show that it can reduce stress, pain level, increase social bonding, increase self-esteem and alleviate depression. No specific music or type of music encounter is related to this research. Going to a park concert, or seeing a musician perform at a restaurant or winery, all count. The act of enjoying music with other people appears to be the most important—so call your crew and get those tickets to any of the New Jersey music venues now!

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