Evidence Meeting 2: The role of music in improving public health

A series of evidence meetings conducted at the House of Lords examining the full value of music to UK society.

Questions to be addressed in this meeting:

  1. There is now extensive research dating back decades regarding the numerous ways in which music (both listening and actively participating) can deliver positive health benefits. Is it time to stop talking and start acting? Music offers value as a low risk non-invasive early intervention. So in a time of reduced budgets and significant public health concerns should we be reducing the emphasis on further research and instead focusing resources on increasing actual basic engagement on the ground?

  2. The Prime Minister has announced the government’s ambition to roll-out social prescribing by 2023. To date it has proven very difficult to encourage medical professionals to engage with local music communities. How can we ensure that the future generation of medical professionals are aware of the non-invasive benefits of music as a low risk early intervention and naturally forge closer bonds with the local music community, prescribing music as an initial default where appropriate rather than leaning towards pharmaceutical options (singing, dancing, attending live music events, learning instruments, songwriting).

  3. Music is a universal language that speaks to everyone and unites people from all walks of life. It’s a highly effective tool for communicating important messaging and information to the public. Music audiences are extensive, especially in terms of mainstream popular music. The popular music genre has been recycling and evolving since the 1950s. It crosses age and class boundaries. How can we better harness music and the music industry (both local and national) to convey key health messaging and increase the amount of music engagement in people’s daily life?


Expert Witnesses


Matt Campion, Co-Founder of Music 4 Mental Health

Matt and co-founder Jordan Stephens (Rizzlekicks) launched the award winning #IAMWHOLE campaign in 2016 in partnership with the NHS and YMCA to address the mental health problems experienced by young people. In November 2018 they launched the first ever Music 4 Mental Health concert featuring Ed Sheeran, James Arthur, Ella Eyre, Anne-Marie and Olly Murs.

Professor Holland has an extensive career in medicine and medical education, working with the national education bodies, the General Medical Council and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Professor Chris Holland, Dean, Kent & Medway Medical School (opening 2020)

Professor Catherine Loveday, University of Westminster

Professor Loveday is a cognitive neuroscientist who began her career with a PhD in the neuropsychology of memory and ageing. Her published research has examined the psychology of music and she continues to be active in this field.

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