Research Says Experiencing Live Music Can Help You Live a Longer, Happier Life
Good news for concertgoers! Whether your music venue of choice is is a local park or a packed arena, these findings confirm that music can boost your mood and reduce stress.
When was the last time you saw live music? That doesn’t have to mean a trip to your nearest stadium for a wildly expensive stage show—it could be seeing someone with a guitar at the coffee shop, a jazz quartet at the farmers market, or a recital at a school. Not only are these experiences fun, but they might have health benefits, too.
Research from O2, which owns many live music venues in the UK, says that live music is correlated with feelings of well-being, self-worth, and closeness to others. Their findings, done with help from a researcher named Patrick Fagan, from Goldsmiths University, show that seeing live music can contribute to these positive mental feelings more than activities like yoga or spending time with a dog.
It's worth noting that O2 has a vested interest in promoting its own business, but that doesn’t mean the study is inaccurate. A 2016 study published in the journal Public Health found that seeing live music can reduce levels of cortisol and cortisone, stress hormones released by the body’s adrenal glands. Lower levels of those stress hormones mean less stress.
Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease looked specifically at older adults, and found that listening to music can have all kinds of benefits, ranging from reduction in stress to better-quality sleep and a more positive mood. A 2017 study tested subjects’ subjective well-being—essentially a survey to judge how a person is feeling about themselves. That study found that engaging in music with others, for example at a concert or by dancing, has a notably positive effect on the way people feel. (We have to agree: There's not much better than dancing with your girlfriends while listening to your favorite musician on stage!)
Again, there’s no particular music or type of music experience associated with this research. Going to see a concert in the park, watching a band perform at a restaurant or winery—that all counts. It’s the act of experiencing music with other people that seems to matter most—so call your crew and get those tickets!