Can Live Music Soothe What Ails You?

Attending university is a stressful job – there are early classes, deadlines, exams… and don’t forget those endless essays. For students just getting used to college life, stress may be even further compounded by the adjustment period.

So, what does one do to cope? How about soaking in some live tunes?

With the goal of relieving student stress across campus, a group of students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have started a unique series of live music performances, called Mindful Music. A student band plays each week for half an hour somewhere on campus, and after the show, students fill out questionnaires on their stress levels and whether the show helped.

According to Mindful Music’s research director, second-year medical student Sean Dreyer, “we [healthcare students] spend a lot of time studying, and we’re very overworked… You always feel that there’s more you can be doing. There’s never that satisfaction that you’re done for the day.”

In attempts to relieve this pressure a bit, Mindful Music has so far presented performances of classical, jazz and bluegrass music. Along with lowering stress, some of the program’s other goals are to improve mood, share a positive experience across campus and promote more scientific research into the benefits of music.

Laura Obler, also a second-year medical student, said of the program:

live music“I enjoy musical performances, but, given my busy schedule and student budget, it is difficult for me to attend shows regularly. Mindful Music is a wonderful thing because it brings those performances to me. I get the chance to spend my lunch listening to music performed by talented members of our Bruin community at no cost. By the end of lunch, I feel happier, refreshed and ready to take on my afternoon courses.”

Many accounts agree that Mindful Music is working. It makes sense too: lowering student stress through music is a wonderfully intuitive project, as music has been found to relieve stress in many instances, as we explored in a previous article. And, as we also reported, lowered stress is crucial to lowering your risk of many chronic illnesses.

Besides stress, music has been scientifically linked to pain relief and reductions in behavioral issues. Can a live show heal your wounds? It’s certainly worth a shot!

-The Alternative Daily


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