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71% of people who listened to orchestral music during lockdown cited tangible benefits

Harriet Clifford

Study finds orchestral music during lockdown improved mental health

11:42, 8th October 2020

To mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has released findings from recent research into music and mental health. The findings reveal that seven in 10 (71%) people who listened to orchestral music during home isolation cited tangible and lasting positive impacts on their mood and wellbeing. 

A nationally representative sample of 2,110 adults took part in the May 2020 study, with 309 of the sample describing themselves as classical music or opera fans. Other findings included that a third (35%) said orchestral music helped them to relax and maintain a sense of calmness and wellbeing, while 18% said it lifted their mood and 14% said it helped their productivity and concentration with work and studies. 

The research also found that those over 55 were most likely to say that orchestral music during lockdown had a positive impact on their mental health (72%), and 49% of over 55s said it helped them to remain calm, which was twice the proportion of those under 35. 

Comparisons were also made with other genres of music, with results finding that twice as many people turned to orchestral music to relax as those who turned to jazz (9%) or blues (10%), and three times as many who turned to gospel music (6%). 

James Williams, managing director of the RPO, said, ‘World Mental Health Day is a chance to remind ourselves of the power of music, the meaning it brings to our lives, and the structure and sense it brings to the society we create. Who hasn’t – at some point in their lives – felt their hair stand on end when listening to some music, or felt calmer and more in control listening to other music? It helps us to get up in the morning, or block out our worries at the end of the day. 

‘Under the enormous pressures and challenges that 2020 has thrown us, this has been the tonic that has been needed. Many have relied on music as a way of coping, while others have sought ways to fulfil their mental and emotional existences. As musicians, it is our role to provide society with a cushion to help their mental health, to fire people’s spirit and to give hope and comfort during this most isolated and lonely time in our modern history.’

The research was carried out by Maru/Blue for the RPO. 



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