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Study: 78 minutes of music a day aids wellbeing

A new study into the therapeutic benefits of music has recommended listening to a minimum of 78 minutes of music a day, in order to maintain a healthy mind and body.

Conducted by the British Academy of Sound Therapy (Bast) and music streaming platform Deezer, the study analysed how people use music to process emotions.

Of the over 7,500 people studied, 90% said they use music to help them relax and 82% listen to music to feel happy. Almost half of respondents saw music as a way of overcoming sadness, with 28% also using music as a way to manage anger. A third of participants found music enhances their levels of concentration.

The study found that the therapeutic benefits of music become evident after 11 minutes of listening. In the case of happiness, listeners need only wait five minutes to reap the emotional rewards of a song.

“Dedicating time each day to listen to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our wellbeing,” comments Bast founder Lyz Cooper. “Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear.”

The Bast- and Deezer-led study found that pop music was most likely to induce feeling of happiness, with songs by Pharrell Williams (‘Happy’), Ariana Grande (‘God is a woman’), Ed Sheeran (‘Sing’) and Little Mix (‘Salute’), as well as classics by Abba (‘Dancing Queen’), Bob Marley (‘Jammin’) and Queen (‘Don’t Stop Me Now’) favoured by respondents.

“Dedicating time each day to listen to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our wellbeing”

Classical music by Beethoven, Pachelbel, Mozart and Bocelli was deemed the most relaxing and the best for concentration. Songs by Simon and Garfunkel, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac also slipped into the relaxation category, with Pink and Jean-Michel Jarre featuring on the best-for-concentration list.

Rock and metal were the genres of choice for listeners wishing to combat anger, with tracks by AC/DC (‘Highway to Hell’), Rammstein (‘Du Hast’), Metallica (‘Enter Sandman’), Linkin Park (In the End’) and Nirvana (‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’) named by participants.

Elton John, Bon Jovi, Bob Marley, Christina Aguilera, Johnny Cash, Queen, Whitney Houston and Leonard Cohen were found to be the favourite artists for listeners overcoming sadness.

“Music influences our lives and at Deezer we try to understand and embrace the relationship that people have with their favourite tunes,” says Frederic Anteime, vice president of content and productions at Deezer.

“Now we’ve been able to go even deeper into that relationship and see how people use music to manage different mental states. The results offer an idea for how music can be used to manage our emotional and mental health on a daily basis, especially when you have a wide library at your fingertips.”

Deezer has created five playlists based on the results of the study with the recommended breakdown of different music style and genres for a ‘balanced’ musical intake.

 


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Nordoff Robbins appoints new CEO

Sandra Schembri will be the new chief executive of music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, taking over from Julie Whelan who retires later this year.

Schembri has spent the past ten years as chief executive of homeless charity and members’ club the House of St Barnabas. She has previously held positions at Bloomberg, the Royal Academy of Arts and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

“As someone who’s always had a love of music, I’m really excited by the prospect of leading a charity that champions the positive impact it has on people’s health and wellbeing,” says Schembri.

“I’m looking forward to working to make music therapy more readily available for people affected by life-limiting illness, disability and isolation,” adds the incoming chief executive.

Nordoff Robbins chairman David Munns comments: “As the UK’s largest music therapy charity we have ambitious plans to significantly increase access to our services for those who need it most.”

“I’m looking forward to working to make music therapy more readily available for people affected by life-limiting illness, disability and isolation”

Munns states that Schembri was a “stand-out candidate” and “a proven leader with the experience and energy to help us achieve [our] goal.”

During her five-year tenure, outgoing chief executive Whelan doubled the number of people the charity supports through music therapy and increased the number of therapists employed by the charity.

Whelan also led the merger with Nordoff Robbins’ sister organisation in Scotland and oversaw the launch of a third training base in Newcastle, adding to already established centres in Manchester and London.

Schembri will join Nordoff Robbins as incoming chief executive on 7 October, before Whelan formally stands down on 5 November.

Nordoff Robbins works in partnership with care homes, schools and hospitals to enrich the lives of vulnerable people through music.  The charity’s Get Loud campaign (which enables fans to see artists at intimate venues) is designed to raise awareness of the work it does.


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Sick Britons to be prescribed concerts and playlists

Patients with mental health conditions and degenerative diseases should be prescribed concerts, playlists and music classes in addition to medication, according to Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock MP.

In a speech to King’s Fund, a UK health think tank, yesterday, Hancock suggested trips to concert venues, as well as ‘personal playlists’ of music, could be prescribed to help patients and their families cope with the symptoms of brain diseases such as dementia – a practice dubbed “social prescribing”.

“We’ve been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and perspiration,” he said, reports the Times. “Social prescribing can help us combat over-medicalising people. It’s about moving from patient-centred care to person-centred care.”

Hancock – formerly the UK’s culture minister, where he worked towards securing a ban on ticket bots, as well as the abolition of the controversial ‘form 696’ – said a National Academy for Social Prescribing will also be established to champion the plans.

“Social prescribing can help us combat over-medicalising people”

“We should value the arts because they’re essential to our health and wellbeing,” added. “And that’s not me as a former culture secretary, who’s spent a lot of time around luvvies, saying it. It’s scientifically proven. Access to the arts improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental-health charity Mind, welcomes the proposals but says they need to be matched with the proper funding, according to the BBC.

“Local services have been subject to substantial cuts over the past decade,” he comments. “This prevention strategy must be matched with long-term investment, if we want to see it become a reality and making a real difference to people’s everyday lives.”

 


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