Music has power to transform health, wellbeing and communities – UK report

The new report calls for support from the government, the public and music, health and social care sectors to turn recommendations into action.

Music for Dementia, the leading health and music campaign, and UK Music, the umbrella body for the UK music industry, have created the Power of Music report to show how music can be used to improve the lives of those dealing with illnesses such as dementia, depression, and other debilitating conditions.

At a time when health and social care services remain under intense pressure, it demonstrates how the use of music can support staff, create financial savings and help to achieve improved health and care outcomes.

The report’s publication follows a year-long study by UK Music and Music for Dementia, following in-depth consultation with key stakeholders from charities, government and the health and social care sectors as well as musicians, music therapists, people living with dementia and their carers.

The Power of Music report sets out four key recommendations:

  • The appointment of the UK’s first Power of Music Commissioner and establishment of a Government taskforce.
  • A major public awareness campaign supported by a new online information platform, development of which is being led by Universal Music UK.
  • Support for frontline workers by providing better training on the role of music in health and care including establishing an accessible training module to help practitioners understand how best to use music as part of the care they provide.
  • Provision of extra funding to help make music accessible to all, to be delivered by new investment partnerships between Government, industry and philanthropists.

Music for Dementia Campaign Director Grace Meadows said, ‘The pandemic has shown us how we urgently need to reimagine health and social care in the UK. Music has a critical role to play in this and while we’re committed to making this happen, we can’t do this alone.

‘One of our biggest challenges is that many people still don’t fully appreciate the power of music, but we could begin to change that within a year. We’re calling upon the Government and leaders in the fields of health, care, music, charity and philanthropy to work together to ensure the greater use of music in social prescribing and make it a key tool in public health strategies’.

UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who contributed the report’s foreword said: ‘Music can be a powerful tool. It is clear to me that more should be done to understand the social value of music, and the unique opportunities it presents to alleviate long-term and chronic conditions, including learning disabilities, depression and dementia. I look forward to working with the creative and health sectors to harness the power of music and boost its untapped potential to support health and wellbeing.’

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said, ‘Every day, more and more evidence emerges about the extraordinary health benefits of music and its potency as a non-pharmacological intervention. Whether it is in improving wellbeing and quality of life, boosting mental health or supporting dementia care, music has an incredible power to improve people’s lives.

‘When used correctly, music can be a miracle medicine – and while there are thousands of people across the country who have seen this first-hand, there are millions more who have yet to enjoy its benefits’.

Read Power of Music here.