As the pandemic controls mean a necessary shutdown of live music events, artists and venues around the world have been finding alternative, virtual ways to entertain and uplift their audiences. Which is hugely positive, says Dr Rosemary Golding, Senior Lecturer in Music, because music is important for our wellbeing.
Residents around the world, including Italy, Sydney and San Francisco have taken to their balconies to sing or to hear singers as they give impromptu concerts to ease the isolation, recent headlines have reported.
On social media a video went viral as a group of police officers sang and danced to a traditional children’s song in every street in Algaida for three hours, to ensure that every child got to see the performance. Across the music genres, singers and performers have continued to perform in new ways and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Rosemary Golding, Senior Lecturer of Music at The Open University, contributes to music modules at the OU and her research investigates musicians and institutions in a historical context.
Here she explains why music in these testing times is so important for wellbeing.
“Music has long been closely connected with health and wellbeing.
The Ancient Greeks recognised the important part music can play in both physical and mental health; Plato described music as the ‘medicine of the soul’.
Music is lifting the spirits
“It is therefore of little surprise communities have turned to music as a source of comfort and strength in the current Coronavirus pandemic.
“From singing opera on balconies to rousing choruses shared between neighbours, to virtual online choirs, music has become a symbol of togetherness at a time when people are forced apart.
“Listening to music, or performing alone, is also an important aid for mental health. Nineteenth-century medics well understood the power of music to lift the spirits, even though research into the brain was little developed.
“At a time when musicians’ talents are more appreciated than ever, however, many are desperate for assistance having lost freelance performing and teaching work. When normality resumes, let us remember the importance music plays in times of crisis and value our musicians accordingly.
Research suggests that music can stimulate the body’s natural feel good chemicals. It can help energise our mood and provide an outlet for us to take control of our feelings.
“At this unprecedented time, musicians who are used to full diaries with recording music or touring have used their channels to reach our to their fans.
“Through the power of their social media channels, despite the social distancing and the call to stay at home, the entertainment artists and musicians bring to us is needed and hopefully will see many of us through the very difficult time in our lives.”
Find out more:
- To find out more about music, visit OpenLearn and try one of the many music-related free courses.
- Or browse our modules, degrees and music-related qualifications.
- Find out more about supporting your child during self isolation