Music and public health The Blixen Hall, The Royal Library, Copenhagen, 11. 30-17. 30 Purpose of conference

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European Public Health Association (EUPHA), Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) and the Danish Society of Public Health organize the 4th European Public Health Conference in Copenhagen 10th to 12th of November ( The day before the main conference starts, a pre-conference is arranged on the topic:

music and public health

The Blixen Hall, The Royal Library, Copenhagen, 9.11. 9.30-17.30
Purpose of conference: This is the first conference on music and public health in a Nordic country. Music as/in therapy is well established as an evidence based treatment modality all over the world, so we know a lot about how and why music can help people with physiological or psychological problems and pathologies. ‘Music and health’ is a broader field where the use of music experiences to promote health and wellbeing in everyday life is studied and promoted. Music psychologists, music therapists, musicologists and health professionals are creating a knowledge base for the focused application of music experiences and activities in a public health perspective.

The purpose of this preconference is to present state-of-the-art by three internationally wellknown keynote speakers and to give an overview of the Nordic experiences with music as health promotion, and to discuss problems and achievements.

Program structure: The program is divided in three sections: (1) International perspectives on music and public health; (2) Perspectives on music and public health as seen by the research Center of Music and Health, Oslo; (3) Scandinavian perspectives on music and health, as seen by leading researchers from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Different theoretical and practical models will be presented, and recent research results from clinical and non-clinical areas will be related to the public health perspective.
Programme committee: Lars Ole Bonde, Aalborg University (chair), in collaboration with Even Ruud, Gro Trondalen and Karette Stensæth, Center for music and Health, The Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, and Finn Kamper-Jørgensen, EUPHA.
This preconference is made possible by economical support from

The Obel Family Foundation, Aalborg

Center for Music and Health, The Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo

Aalborg University, Dept. of Communication and Psychology & The Humanistic Faculty


The conference aims at having ample time for questions, discussions and networking. The three keynotes will consist of 45 minutes presentations leaving 10 minutes for questions and discussion. The other papers will last 20 minutes leaving 5 minutes for questions and discussion. There are rather long lunch and coffee breaks giving time for networking.

0900 Registration starts – coffee in the Blixen Hall

0930 Welcome address. Lars Ole Bonde, Aalborg University and Center for music and Health, Oslo.

0940 Evolution of a Model for Music Therapy in Public Health. Suzanne Hanser, founding chair Music Therapy department at Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA, and author of the book “Manage your stress and pain through music”.

1030 Improvisation, Identity and Health. Raymond MacDonald, professor of music psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, author/editor of several books on music, identity and health.

1130 Singing as a public health resource. Stephen Clift, professor of health education and head of the Sidney DeHaan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christ Church University, Folkestone UK.

1230 Lunch – in the Atrium Hall

1330 Round table with short presentations by researchers from Center for Music and Health, Olso Gro Trondalen, associate professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music and head of the center, Even Ruud, professor at Oslo University and the Norwegian Academy of Music, Karette Stensæth, associate professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Torill Vist, associate professor at University of Stavanger, Norway.

1445 Coffee break – in the Blixen Hall

1515 Music therapy in public health partnerships. Perspectives from community music therapy Brynjulf Stige, professor at Bergen University, Norway

15.45 Music and dementia - prophylactic perspectives. Hanne Mette Ridder, associate professor, Aalborg University, Denmark

1615 Music and health in everyday life Lasse Liliestam, professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden

1645 Music, emotions and adolescent mental health. Suvi Saarikallio, Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Finland

1715 Closing address. Lars Ole Bonde, Aalborg University, Denmark 1730 Closing

2000 Concert with Raymond MacDonald and Helle Lund Trio at Ingolfs kaffebar, Ingolfs Alle, 2300 Copenhagen S. DKK 100. See:


International perspectives on music and public health – Three Keynotes

Suzanne B. Hanser, Ed.D., MT-BC is founding chair of the Music Therapy Department at Berklee College of Music. She is Past President of both the World Federation of Music Therapy and National Association for Music Therapy. Dr. Hanser has served as Music Therapist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Research Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. She received a National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging and was a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine. She authors “The New Music Therapist’s Handbook” and “Manage Your Stress and Pain through Music.” E-mail:

Evolution of a Model for Music Therapy in Public Health

Dr. Hanser describes the evolution of her ideas developed from music therapy clinical practice in childbirth, depression, and cancer. She discusses how personal observations and clinical findings led to the development of new protocols and research hypotheses. Positive findings from her experimental research studies spurred questions about the psychoneuroimmunological underpinnings of the influence of music therapy interventions, and current work in this area is fruitful for explaining the Music Response. Dr. Hanser then examines how evidence-based strategies utilized in her research could be translated to the general public in a book and accompanying CD, “Manage Your Stress and Pain through Music” (co-authored with Dr. Susan Mandel). Meanwhile, new models of public health, such as mind-body medicine and integrative medicine, were re-introducing ancient practices such as acupuncture, and emphasizing natural ways to improve health through exercise and nutrition. The role of music therapy in these “innovative” approaches to modern healthcare is presented in the context of the bringing homeostasis to the autonomic nervous system, integrating music therapy into mind-body approaches, and playing a role in the new science of integrative medicine.

References relevant to the model:

Hanser, S.B. & Mandel, S. (2010). Manage Your Stress and Pain through Music. Boston: Berklee Press.

Hanser, S.B. (2010). Music, health, and well-being. In P.N. Juslin & J.A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications. Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press.

Hanser, S.B. (2009). From ancient to integrative medicine: Models for music therapy. Music and Medicine, 1(2), 87-96.

References relevant to the evolution of the model:

Hanser, S.B., Butterfield-Whitcomb, J., Kawata, M.,& Collins, B. (2011). Home-based music strategies with individuals who have dementia and their family caregivers, Journal of Music Therapy, 48(1), 2-27.

Mandel, S.E., Hanser, S.B., Ryan, L. (2010). Effects on a music-assisted relaxation and imagery compact disc recording on health-related outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation. Music Therapy Perspectives, 28, 11-21.

Deng, G.E. et al. (including Hanser, S.B.) (2009). Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: Complementary therapies and botanicals. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 7(3), 85-120.

Mandel, S.E., Hanser, S.B., Secic, M, & Davis, B.A. (2007). Effects of music therapy on health-related outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Music Therapy, 44(3), 176-197.

Hanser, S.B., Bauer-Wu, S., Kubicek, L., Healey, M., Manola, J., Hernandez, M., & Bunnell, C. (2006). Effects of a music therapy intervention on quality of life and distress in women with metastatic breast cancer. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 5(1), 14-23.

Hanser, S.B. (2004). A phenomenological analysis of music in childbirth. The Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice, 9.

Hanser, S.B. (1996). Music therapy to reduce anxiety, agitation, and depression. Nursing Home Medicine, 4(10), 286-291.

Hanser, S.B. (1996). Evolution of a research experiment: A personal account. Music Therapy International Report, 10, 20-22.

Hanser, S.B., & Thompson, L.W. (1994). Effects of a music therapy strategy on depressed older adults. Journal of Gerontology, 49(6), 265-269.

Hanser, S.B. (1990). A music therapy strategy for depressed older adults in the community. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 9(3), 283-298.

Hanser, S.B. (1989). Music therapy with depressed older adults. Journal of the International Association of Music for the Handicapped, 4(4), 16-27.

Hanser, S.B. (1988). Controversy in music listening/stress reduction research. Arts in Psychotherapy, 15, 211-217.

Hanser, S.B. (1985). Music therapy and stress reduction research. Journal of Music Therapy, 22(4), 193-206.

Hanser, S.B., Larson, S.C., & O'Connell, A.S. (1983). The effect of music on relaxation of expectant mothers during labor. Journal of Music Therapy, 20(2), 50-58.

Raymond MacDonald is Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation at Glasgow Caledonian University.  After completing his PhD at the University of Glasgow, investigating therapeutic applications of music, he worked as Artistic Director for a music company, Sounds of Progress, specialising in working with people who have special needs. He has published over 70 papers and co-edited four texts Musical Identities (2002) Musical Communication (2005) and Musical Imaginations (2012) and Music Health and Wellbeing (2012). He is Editor of the journal Psychology of Music and Associate Editor for The International Journal of Music Education, Musicae Scientae, Jazz Research Journal and Research Studies in Music Education. As a saxophonist and composer he has recorded over 50 CDs and toured and broadcast worldwide.

Improvisation, Identity and Health

This paper presents an overview of current conceptions of improvisation, highlighting a number of key themes in relation to improvisation and musical identities within a health care context (MacDonald, Kreutz and Mitchell, in press). Musical identities refer to the multitude of ways in which interactions with music (both listening and playing) can influence our sense of self (Donald, Hargreaves and Miell, 2002). An overview of the concept of musical identities will be discussed and the presentation also describes and reports the results of a music therapy research project that utilised improvisation as a central feature (Pothulaki, MacDonald and Flowers, in press). The research project involved nine patients with terminal cancer participating in a nine-week music therapy programme. All participants were interviewed before and after the intervention and the transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The analysis revealed a number of themes including: role of music in everyday life; perceived benefits of the intervention, positive feelings and the musical experience, group interaction/dynamics, free expression-communicating through music, creating space “making time for myself”. These themes reveal important issues in relation to health psychology, music psychology and music therapy, highlighting the important role of music as an innovative psychological intervention in a health care setting.


MacDonald R.A.R, &. Kreutz, G Mitchell, L.A., EDS (2012). Music, Health and Wellbeing Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MacDonald R.A.R, Miell D & Hargreaves D.J. EDS (2002). Musical Identities Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pothoulaki, M., MacDonald, R.A.R and Flowers, P (in press) An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of an Improvisational Music Therapy Program for Cancer Patients Journal of Music Therapy

Stephen Clift is Professor of Health Education in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Research Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Music, Arts and Health. He has worked in the field of health promotion and public health for over twenty-five years, and has made contributions to research, practice and training on HIV/AIDS prevention, sex education, international travel and health and the health promoting school. His current interests relate to arts and heath and particularly the potential value of group singing for health and wellbeing. He is one of the founding editors of Arts & Health: An international journal for research, policy and practice and Honorary President of the Singing Hospitals International Network.

Group singing as a public health intervention

The work of the WHO Commission of the Social Determinants of Health, under the leadership of Michael Marmot presents a considerable challenge to anyone proposing that music has some contribution to make to public health. The Commission has worked on a global level and is now focused on the European region, and has highlighted substantial inequities in health across and within countries, associated with powerful political, economic and social factors. Strikingly, however, it has given no consideration to the role of music, or the wider field of creative arts as potential contributors to positive health and wellbeing. In this presentation a case is made for the contribution of group singing in promoting psychological and social wellbeing and in helping to meet a number of key challenges linked to an increasingly elderly population and the growing burden of long-term conditions. The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health is currently engaged in a progressive research programme exploring the value of group singing for wellbeing and health. The programme started with a systematic review of all available published evidence and a major cross-national survey of choral singers in England, Germany and Australia. This provided the basis for establishing and evaluating networks of singing groups for people over the age of 60; people with severe and enduring mental health issues; people diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and people with Parkinson’s disease. Key findings from these studies will be presented. The major challenges in this field of work are to assess the extent to which active involvement in group singing can be beneficial for wellbeing and health and to identify its specific mechanisms of action. Equally important challenges are to demonstrate that such activity can be organised on a sufficient scale to have relevance for public health; and to assess potential cost-savings to health services from a health economics standpoint.


Clift, S. and Hancox, G.(2010) The significance of choral singing for sustaining psychological wellbeing: Findings from a survey of choristers in England, Australia and Germany, Music Performance Research, 3, 1, 79-96. Available at:

Clift, S. and Morrison, I. (2011) Group singing fosters mental health and wellbeing: Findings from the East Kent ‘Singing for Health’ Network Project, Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 15, 2, 88-97.

Clift, S., Nicols, J., Raisbeck, M., Whitmore, C. and Morrison, I. (2010) Group singing, wellbeing and health: A systematic review, The UNESCO Journal, 2, 1. Available at:

Livesey, L., Morrison, I., Clift, S. and Camic, P. (2011) Benefits of choral singing for social and mental wellbeing: Qualitative findings from a cross-national survey of choir members, Journal of Public Mental Health, in press

Skingley, A., Clift, S. M., Coulton, S.P., and Rodriguez, J. (2011) The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a participative community singing programme as a health promotion initiative for older people: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMC Public Health, 11, 142. Available at:

Perspectives on music and public health- as seen from the research Center of Music and Health, Oslo

Gro Trondalen, Ph.D., Music Therapist, Fellow of AMI is Professor in Music Therapy and Head of the Centre for Music and Health at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway. She is an experienced music therapy clinician – and supervisor - in the field of child welfare and adult mental health (25 years) and maintains a private practice in music therapy. Her research focus has been on clinical work linked to philosophical and theoretical perspectives. She presents- and publishes her work frequently both at a national and an international level.

Center for Music and Health – An introduction

The presentation offers an introduction to the Centre for Music and Health at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. The main objective for the Centre is to explore and expand knowledge and understanding of the relations between music and health through research and development. Music and health, understood as a field of discourse, includes studies within the field of e.g. music & technology, music psychology and music therapy. The presentation includes examples of ongoing research at the Centre.


Ruud, Even; Storsve, Vegar; Westby, Inger Anne. Hope and recognition: A Music Project among Youth in a Palestinian Refugee Camp. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy 10 (1)

Skånland, M. S. (2011) ”Use of MP3 Players as a Coping Resource”, in Music and Arts in Action, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 15-33.

Stensæth, Karette (2011) RHYME. Co-creation through tangible interaction and music. In Ballade Web site:

Trondalen, G., and L. O. Bonde. (Awaiting publ.). Music Therapy: Models and Interventions. In Music, Health and Wellbeing, edited by R. MacDonald, G. Kreutz and L. Mitchell. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Even Ruud, professor, University of Oslo, Department of Musicology and Norwegian Academy of Music (Center for music and Health). Trained as a music therapist, psychologist and musicologist. Author of books and articles within the field of music education, music and cultural studies and music therapy. Last book: Music Therapy: A Perspective from the Humanities. Barcelona Publishers 2010.

From music therapy to music and health

Music therapy as a modern scientific field was born after the Second World War. It has developed as a broad field of interdisciplinary studies, as a profession, as well as it has found its practice within many fields of medicine, special education and community services. As a discipline, music therapy is concerned about the study of the relation of man, music and health. As a profession, music therapy underlines the importance of using both music and the personal and professional knowledge of a music therapist in working with different client groups. Lately, however, we have seen a greater interest from researchers within the field of music psychology and the sociology of music to regard our everyday uses of music as a technology of self, i.e. as a way of taking care of ourselves through various rituals of music listening. This, together with recent research in the area of community music, point to how singing and playing together in groups, bands or choirs, may enhance our social capital, lead to a strengthening of social network and support people in finding meaningful and health promoting leisure time activities. Exploring the potential of music to enhance well-being and health, may become an important supplement in our effort to promote health and prevent disease.
Karette Stensæth holds a post.doc. position in the research project RHYME. Co-creation through tangible interaction and music (Project partners are Interaction Design/AHO, Informatics/UiO and Centre for Music and Health/Norwegian Academy of Music). Since 2008 associate professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music/Coordinator for Centre for Music and Health. Since 1989 Music therapist at Haug skole og ressurssenter, Bærum, Norway . E-mail: and

Can musical furniture promote health?

I will introduce the interdisciplinary research project RHYME by asking: Can musical furniture promote health? If it can, how?

RHYME is a collaboration between leading partners in Norway and abroad in the fields Tangible interaction, Universal Design and Music & Health. Project partners are Interaction Design/AHO, Informatics/UiO and Centre for Music and Health/Norwegian Academy of Music. The project addresses the lack of health improving multimodal ICT, for people with disabilities. The main project objective is to improve health and well-being, through a new treatment paradigm based on collaborative, tangible, interactive, net based "smart things" (in the project also known as musical furniture), with multimedia capabilities. A goal is to motivate people to engage in communication, collaboration and co-creation, with the goal to reduce isolation and passivity, evoke feelings, ability to act and create social relations, and thereby improve health and well-being.


Stensæth, K. (2010). ”Å spele med hjartet i halsen”. Om helse, Bakhtinsk dialog og eksistensielle overtonar i musikkterapi med eit barn med multifunksjonshemming. I Stensæth, K., Eggen, A.T. og Frisk, R. (eds.) Musikk, helse, multifunksjonshemming, p. 105-128, NMH-publikasjoner 2010:2, Skrifterien fra Senter for musikk og helse. Oslo: Norwegian Academy of Music.
Torill Vist works as associate professor at the University of Stavanger, Faculty of Arts and Education. She leads the research group Aesthetic and Emotional Learning Processes, which is part of the Department of Early Childhood Education. Although her PhD was in music education, the topic, Music Experience as Potentials for Emotion Knowledge has shown relevance also for music therapy, music psychology and early childhood education and care. Emotion knowledge through music can also be relevant in a general health perspective, for instant related to identity, emotion regulation, expressivity and emotion interaction.

Music and public health from a perspective of emotion knowledge

The presentation will discuss music and public health from a perspective of emotion knowledge (Vist 2011). Using examples from interviews of adults (Vist 2009) and from early childhood education and care (Vist in press), Torill Vist will show how music experience can be considered a mediating tool for emotion knowledge, and how this also can influence our health. However, different aspects of emotion knowledge may influence different aspects of health. Emotion availability, consciousness and understanding will be related both to social interaction, to identity and self-efficacy skills. The contexts of music experiences reveal a stronger acceptance when it comes to emotion expression, affording what self psychology would consider better vitality and mental health (Monsen 2000). But the experiences also help in reflecting upon emotions, the music becoming a “mirror” or “container”, and thereby making the emotions more explicit and easier to reflect upon. Further music experiences can help us regulate our own emotions, and other’s emotions as in the well known musical interaction between infant and caregiver. This points towards a resource-oriented approach to public health, also as part of early childhood and music education.


Monsen, J. T. (2000). Vitalitet, psykiske forstyrrelser og psykoterapi: Utdrag fra klinisk psykologi. Oslo: Tano.

Vist, T. (2009). Musikkopplevelse som muligheter for følelseskunnskap: En studie av musikkopplevelse som medierende redskap for følelseskunnskap, med vekt på emosjonell tilgjengelighet og forståelse [Music Experience as Potentials for Emotion Knowledge: A Study of Music Experience as a Mediating Tool for Emotion Knowledge, Focusing on Emotion Availability and Understanding]. 2009:4, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo.

Vist, T. (2011). Følelseskunnskap og helse: Musikk og identitet i et kunnskapsperspektiv [Emotion Knowledge and Health: Music and Identity in a Knowlede Perspekctive]. I K. Stensæth & L. O. Bonde (red.), Musikk, helse, identitet [Music, Health, Identity]: Skriftserie fra Senter for musikk og helse. Oslo: Norges Musikkhøgskole.

Vist, T. (in press). Music Experience in Early Childhood – Potential for Emotion Knowledge? International Journal of Early Childhood, 43(3).


Scandinavian perspectives on music and health

Brynjulf Stige, PhD, Professor in Music Therapy, The Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, and Head of Research at GAMUT, Uni Health, Uni Research. Since he started working as a music therapist in 1983, Stige has taken interest in music therapy’s relationship to community participation and health promotion. Books in English include Culture-Centered Music Therapy (2002), Contemporary Voices in Music Therapy (2002, edited with Carolyn Kenny), Where Music Helps (2010, with Gary Ansdell, Cochavit Elefant & Mercedes Pavlicevic), Invitation to Community Music Therapy (2012, with Leif Edvard Aarø), and Elaborations toward a Notion of Community Music Therapy (forthcoming as ebook). Stige is founding co-editor (with Carolyn Kenny and Cheryl Dileo) of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy ( E-mail:

Music Therapy in Public Health Partnerships – Perspectives from Community Music Therapy

The Alma Ata conference on primary health care, set up by the WHO in 1978, agreed on a declaration that was inspired by a positive notion of health and that challenged disciplines like music therapy to take issues such as human rights, health inequities, and community participation into consideration. This declaration, in tandem with developments within national cultural policies in the 1970s, paved the way for the first community music therapy projects in Western Norway in the 1980s (Stige, 1996). This paper will revisit some of these early projects and examine how public health partnerships were developed. The notion of partnership will then be discussed in some more detail (Amdam, 2010) and related to current international developments within the field of community music therapy (Stige et al., 2010; Stige & Aarø, 2012). Through this lens the paper will address one common misunderstanding of the field of community music therapy, namely the assumption that music therapists necessarily work with clients or patients, that is, people that have been diagnosed by the health care system and referred to the music therapist as a specialist.


Amdam, Roar (2010). Planning in Health Promotion Work. An Empowerment Model. New York: Routledge.

Stige, Brynjulf (1996). Music, Music Therapy, and Health Promotion. In: Report. International UNESCO-conference, Oslo, September 1995. Oslo, Norway: The Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO.

Stige, Brynjulf, Gary Ansdell, Cochavit Elefant & Mercédès Pavlicevic (2010). Where Music Helps. Community Music Therapy in Action and Reflection. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

Stige, Brynjulf & Leif Edvard Aarø (2012). Invitation to Community Music Therapy. New York: Routledge.

Hanne Mette Ridder is const. Professor in music therapy at University of Aalborg, Denmark, and head of the Doctoral Programme in Music Therapy. She is a certified clinical music therapy supervisor, and President of the European Music Therapy Confederation, EMTC. Her research is focused on music therapy, gerontology and dementia as well as the use of singing and voicework.

Music and dementia. Prophylactic perspectives

Prophylaxis means measures designed to preserve health. In relation to dementia care we can talk of four different levels of preventing the disease and preserving health. In the presentation the latest Cochrane review as well as a literature review from the journal Ageing & Mental Health will be presented. Further, different ongoing research studies will be introduced where the use of music in relation to treatment, diagnosis and rehabilitation is investigated, and where there is a focus on whether music activities or music therapy can reduce agitation and depression and the use of physical and chemical restraints in dementia care.


Ridder, H.M. (2011). How can singing in music therapy influence social engagement for people with dementia? Insights from the polyvagal theory. In F. Baker & S. Uhlig (Eds.) Voice Work in Music Therapy. London: JKP.
Ridder, H.M. (2007) En integrativ terapeutisk anvendelse af sang med udgangspunkt i neuropsykologiske, psykofysiologiske og psykodynamiske teorier. I L.O. Bonde (red): Musik og Psykologi. Psyke og Logos, 2007(1). København: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag.
Spiro, N. (2010) EDITORIAL. Music and dementia: Observing effects and searching for underlying theories. Aging & Mental Health, 14(8), 891-899.

Lars Lilliestam, professor of musicology, Department of Cultural sciences, Gothenburg. Born in 1951. I have done studies of blues, Swedish rock music, ear playing and music in tv-commercials. In recent years my research has dealt with the question of ”what people do with music – and music with people”, and that expression is the subtitle of my book Musikliv (Musical life) from 2009.

Together with my colleague Thomas Bossius, I have just finished a comprehensive interview study, Music in People’s Lives, with 42 people about their musical activities. E-mail:

Music and health in everyday life

I will give a short presentation of some results from the research project Music in People’s Lives that I have just finished together with my colleague Thomas Bossius. The focus will be on everyday music use, self therapy with music, the use of memories of music, music as ideology concluding with some remarks on the concept of existential health. The presentation will be illustrated with quotes from some of our informants. I will also present a sketch of a planned multi-disciplinary research project about music listening and health.


Bossius, Thomas – Lilliestam, Lars (forthcoming) Musiken och jag. (The music and me). Bo Ejeby Förlag, Göteborg.

Lilliestam, Lars (2009) Musikliv. Vad människor gör med musik – och music med människor. (Musical life. What people do with music – and music with people). Bo Ejeby Förlag, Göteborg.

Suvi Saarikallio works as an Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research at the Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Saarikallio's research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of musical behavior, including emotion, personality, development, and wellbeing. Saarikallio is an internationally acknowledged expert particularly in research on music as emotional self-regulation in adolescence. She won the ESCOM Young Researcher Award (2006), has actively published articles in international peer-reviewed journals, given invited lectures at international seminars, and is currently leading a 5-year research project on “Music-related emotional competence and adolescent mental health”.

Music, Emotions and Adolescent Mental Health

The strong impact of music on emotion is widely acknowledged (e.g. Juslin & Sloboda, 2001), and researchers have proposed that music may enhance affective awareness (Ruud, 1997) and promote adolescents’ emotional self-regulation (Saarikallio & Erkkilä, 2007). The relevance of music for mental health may indeed be grounded in music’s influence on emotional processing, as emotional competence in general is known central for mental health and wellbeing (e.g., Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

However, little is known about how music‐related emotional competence relates to general emotional wellbeing. The current paper introduces a new research project on adolescents’ emotional competence in music, which seeks to investigate how emotional recognition, emotional expression, and emotional self‐regulation through music relate to adolescents’ emotional development and wellbeing. Recent results regarding the connections between general emotionality and adolescents’ emotion perception in music as well as the effects of music on adolescents’ emotional self-regulation, evidenced by heart-rate-variability measures and self-reports, will be presented at the conference.


Juslin, & J.A. Sloboda (Eds.), (2001). Music and Emotion: Theory and Research. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mayer, J. D. & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Implications for educators, pp. 3-31. New York: Basic Books.

Ruud, E. (1997). Music and the Quality of Life. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 6 (2), 86-97.

Saarikallio, S. & Erkkilä, J. (2007). The Role of Music in Adolescents’ Mood Regulation. Psychology of Music, 35 (1), 88-109.






Lars Ole























United States






K. Højlund


























United Kingdom

Hanne Mette




















Marie Strand




















Inge N. Pedersen Aalborg Denmark

Bolette Daniels Beck Aalborg Denmark

Ursula Skou Copenhagen Denmark

Bo Nilsson Malmö Sweden

Anders-Petter Andersson Göteborg Sweden

Birgitta Capellen Oslo Norway

Kirsten Brunbech København Denmark

Margrethe Langer Bro Esbjerg Denmark

Steen Raaahauge Aarhus Denmark

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