• Mindful Music

Mindful Music Research Published

Mindful Music Research Published in Clinical Review Proceedings of UCLA Healthcare Volume 21

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The significant reduction in stress levels from before to after the live music performance suggests that live music may be a viable method of reducing stress levels in an academic setting, where the pressures of school and work tend to cause higher basal levels of stress. This initial uncontrolled study aimed to determine if any differences in “before” and “after” could be elicited within this brief period, and the positive results suggest that it is worthwhile to follow up with a controlled study to investigate differences between lunchtime effects with and without music.


The therapeutic effects of music in alleviating depression, anxiety, and stress have been well-established. 1-3 More broadly, music is often an integral component of healthy individuals’ lives, as an element of their culture and for recreational enjoyment. Additionally, music therapy has been shown to reduce self-reported stress levels, as well as arousal due to stress, as measured by physical parameters including heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, respiratory rate, and perceived pain levels. 4-6 While the physiological effects of listening to music are not entirely understood, associations with changes in neurochemical pathways including the dopaminergic, opioid, adrenocorticotropic, serotonergic, and oxytocin pathways have been noted. 7 Applications of music therapy in medicine have included reducing anxiety in coronary heart disease and mechanically ventilated patients, reducing stress in lowbirthweight infants and patients undergoing brain surgeries, promoting relaxation in palliative care, and improving mood in cancer patients. 8-13 Factors including the genre of music and live versus pre-recorded music also influence the response to music. Specifically, positive emotional states are more strongly associated with classical music over heavy metal, and live music over pre-recorded music. 14,15 Given the positive effects of music on mood and stress, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of live music on stress levels among students on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus.

To read the full publication, please click here.