Musicians report less stress and higher levels of wellbeing, study reveals

Playing and listening to musical instruments can improve people’s overall mental health and wellbeing, a major study has revealed.

The new research, published by the University of Sheffield, looks into the emotional benefits of brass instruments on an individual’s psychological, social, emotional and spiritual health.

Alongside physical gains in lung capacity, the researchers found that brass players report less stress and higher levels of positive wellbeing than peers.

Increased resilience and improved mood were also reported by participants.

The social element of being in a band and listening to music also held psychological benefits. According to the study, brass band players reported making new friends, feeling part of a community, having support networks and a sense of belonging from being part of a group of musicians.

Commenting on the study, lead author Michael Bonshor said: “Our research has clearly shown that playing in brass bands can be beneficial for individual physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Players report perceived improvements in respiratory and cardiovascular health, general fitness, cognitive skills, mental wellbeing and social engagement.

“Our survey respondents particularly valued the opportunities for community building, reporting a sense of social bonding and belonging, not only within the brass band world but also through their band’s musical role in a range of public events and fundraising activities for the wider community. We are hoping that these findings will encourage people to participate in this sociable way of contributing to our physical and mental health.”

The study follows recent research which found that listening to just over an hour of music each day can have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. According to the report, published by the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST), the type of music listened to can play a role on somebody’s mood, with energetic, upbeat music making someone feel motivated or uplifted, while relaxing music can make someone feel calm and at peace.

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