Proven: Live Music Is Healthy

A study conducted by two scientists at the Royal College of Music in London shows that attending a concert can reduce stress levels.

Daisy Fancourt and Aaron Williamon took saliva samples of concertgoers before and after two separate Eric Whitacre gigs – one at the Union Chapel, the other at Gloucester Cathedral – and registered a drop in glucocorticoid levels.

According to the scientists, this suggests “that attending a live performance leads to lower secretion of glucocorticoids and a reduced cortisol/cortison ratio, indicating lowered biological stress.” They note that “none of these biological changes were associated with age, musical experience or familiarity with the music being performed,” suggesting that there was “a universal response to concert attendance.”

They concede that the study has several limitations. For example, it looked only at the effects of relatively calm, classical music. It was also conducted in an uncontrolled environment, which on the other hand was exactly what separated the study from others. It nevertheless opens up the question of “the potential of cultural events to enhance people’s broader health and well-being,” they conclude.