Music and health in times of the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Klaus W. Lange
  • Yiqi Sun



Elevated stress levels resulting from fear of the coronavirus, physical distancing measures and economic problems can be expected to cause psychological trauma and detrimental effects on mental health. Music appears to have salutogenetic effects, contributing to wellbeing and supporting health, and may fulfill the functions of mood regulation and social cohesion. Playing or creating music, dancing and listening to music can activate various brain regions involved in cognitive and emotional functions, thereby possibly exerting beneficial effects on physiological and psychological health. Participation in musical activities can provide an effective means of alleviating stress, anxiety and depressed mood. Music may also serve as a proxy for social interaction and may be capable of generating new or stronger social bonds. Preliminary evidence suggests a role of making and listening to music in meeting social needs and improving emotional self-regulation and coping during coronavirus-related lockdowns. Music-related behaviours appear to aid in stress-management, and their potential therapeutic value in the current pandemic deserves further consideration and warrants more systematic research. Since the capacity of music to modulate the behaviour of individuals is supported by various studies, music may be utilised as a communication tool and its effectiveness in promoting adherence to public health advice should be investigated.