In this unusual time, during which every one of us is facing a new set of personal challenges, people are finding many ways to cope and to thrive.  
 
This week, the Arts in the UK received an unprecedented package of Government support, underlining the importance of music in our lives.  
 
As if we didn’t already know it, scientists say that music is helping carry us through the crisis. 
In a blog for the University of Oxford, Professor Eric Clarke, an expert in the psychology of music, discussed how music has been a big support for communities. Clarke explained: “It’s very striking that, from early on in this serious phase, people have felt moved or motivated make music. Music is a collective experience which can overcome physical distance, since one of the advantages of the auditory domain is that physical distance doesn’t necessarily impede social togetherness.” 
 
A 2011 Harvard Medical School article explored the various benefits of music including how “a 2006 study of 60 adults with chronic pain found that music was able to reduce pain, depression, and disability. And a 2009 meta-analysis found that music-assisted relaxation can improve the quality of sleep in patients with sleep disorders.” 
In 2017 the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, issued the Inquiry Report “Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing”. Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: 
 
"There is growing evidence that engagement in activities like dance, music, drama, painting and reading help ease our minds and heal our bodies. This timely report sets out a clear policy framework for the cultural sector to continue its impressive work in improving people’s health and wellbeing." 
 
The 2017 report highlights work across Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, led by Breathe Arts Health Research which brings music, dance and poetry into clinical spaces. This work has been found to reduce anxiety. The report also highlights that, “Children with additional needs are able to express themselves through music. The connection between music therapy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been explored since the 1970s.” 

Music, Children and Young People 

Back in February 2017, our guest blogger, Dawn Rose discussed the various benefits of music participation for children
 
But even just listening to music can help with anxiety or depression as well as helping you to study, as discussed here
 
Music is an integral part of life for many young people. It can help them express themselves and helps develop bonds between friends. As this article from the TES states, “There is nothing like music and art for sparking creativity, tapping into emotions and helping young people understand and develop their own life while navigating that of others.” 
 
Music Departments in Schools can also be a key safe space for pupils to meet – summed up in this video 

So what? 

Understanding the value of music can get us through challenging times. Here are some ways you can engage with your family or pupils using music. 
 
Share your favourite music. Discuss why you like the piece of music, perhaps share why it is special. When did you first hear it? Did you listen to it at particular point in your life? How does the music make you feel? 
Create playlists of your favourite music to go along with other activities eg hand washing in school, long journeys, chores at home. 
Listen out for music on tv, in films or in computer games – how does that music make you feel? How does the music reflect what is happening on screen? 
Pick a song and write some new verses 
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