Music Makers May Be Healthier

Groundbreaking scientific research has revealed
a potent link among music making, stress
reduction and general health that clearly
demonstrates the many benefits of making music,
in addition to it being very enjoyable.

High Anxiety
Stress is widespread in today's society. The
pace and pressure of life are constant causes of
stress, and ongoing exposure to stress can cause
conditions such as heart disease I, cancer,
infections, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
Additionally, no two people react to stress in the
same way, making dealing with stress a complex
Music May Be The Answer
In recent scientific studies, leisure music
making for recreation was shown to dramatically
reduce stress levels on a very basic human level.
The significance of the study is the fact that
specific genomic markers for stress were
positively affected through leisure music-making
activities. There were no therapeutic drugs or
other medical therapies applied to the
participants in the study. Furthermore, the
participants were not experienced music makers
and considered themselves to be non-musical.

Barry Bittman, M.D.2, principal investiga-
tor of the study, states,
"While traditional
musical instruction might eventually lead to
Carnegie Hall, I now consider recreational
music making an antidote to stress."

Music Making May Aid in the
Prevention of Alzheimer's
A team of researchers, led by Joe Verghese,
M.D.5 reported that participation in a variety
of leisure activities may lower the risk of
developing certain forms of dementia, including
Alzheimer's, among older adults. The five year
study showed that leisure activities such as,
reading, playing board games, playing a
musical instrument, and dancing, were connected
with a reduction in the risk of dementia. Overall,
the team discovered that those regularly
participating in leisure activities may experience
up to a 63 percent risk reduction for dementia,
with those being most active having the lowest
Music-Making Linked to Stress Reduction
Earlier Study Reveals the Wellness
Benefits of Music Making
The Music Making and Wellness Project",
demonstrates that group Piano/Keyboard classes
given to older people had significant effects on
increasing levels of human growth hormone
(HGH). Increased levels of HGH can have a
positive impact on aging phenomena such as
osteoporosis, energy levels, wrinkling, muscle
mass, and aches and pains. Additionally, the same
study reveals significant decreases in anxiety,
depression, and feelings of loneliness - three
factors that are critical to coping with stress,
stimulating the immune system, and improving
health. The study further suggests that older
people involved in music classes experienced ...
•        Decreased levels of anxiety
•        Decreased depression
•        Decreased feelings of loneliness

Furthermore, making music may significantly
improve quality of life and feelings of well-
being. Making music helps people relax, feel
better, and deal positively with stress. Making
music may also enhance the immune system
function and help fight disease.
1Barry Bittman, M.D.
Author "Recreational
music-making alters gene expression pathways in
patients with coronary heart disease," Medical
Science Monitor Volume 19, 139-147 (February
Dr. Bittman is a neurologist and chief executive
officer and director of the Mind-Body Wellness
Center Meadville, PA, and CEO, Exceptional
Cancer Patients, a non-profit organization.
2Barry Bittman, M.D. principal investigator
Recreational music-making modulates the human
stress response: a preliminary individualized gene
expression strategy," Medical Science Monitor
Volume 11, Number 2, (February 2005)
3Panl Majeski, "The Power Of Music," Music
Trades Magazine pg. 186-193 (August 2005).
4Ted Tims, PhD. Principal Investigator "Music
Making and Wellness Project" Study conducted at
the Universities of Miami, South Florida, Kansas,
Western Michigan, Michigan State, and the
Karolinska Medical Institute in Sweden.
Dr. Tims is Professor and Chair of Music
Therapy, Michigan State University
5 Joe Verghese, M.D. lead researcher New
Journal of Medicine (June 19,2003).