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(Credit: Melvin Darrell)


Study claims playing a musical instrument boosts mental health in 89% of adults


A recent study which took place over the lockdown period has suggested that playing a musical instrument boosts mental health in 89% of adults.

Niall Breslin’s Where Is My Mind? podcast conducted the research which looks at the relationship between music and mental health. The episode is titled The Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown and Breslin purchased over 400 ukuleles for it and gave them to adults who are trying to deal with ailing their mental health.

Each person was then instructed how to play ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and then told to record a section of the song each for a collective cover version. The ukulele section of the episode was designed to look at directly how learning an instrument can affect a person’s mood, while a larger study on the subject was commissioned with a broader pool.

Those results discovered that 89% of UK adults who regularly play a musical instrument feel it positively affects their mental health. Out of that number, 56% felt relaxed, 48% felt satisfaction and 43% felt peaceful. Over a third of the pool said that playing music gave them “a sense of purpose in life.”

Additionally, 75% of participants said they play their respective instruments of choice when they need to unwind or de-stress. When asked when exactly that occurs, 54% said after a stressful day at work, 34% said it’s when they’re worried about money, and 30% said it’s when they’re nervous about an upcoming event.

Emma Cooke, one of the participants of the study, explained: “To keep myself strong and sane, I practised yoga, mindfulness and continued with my hobbies. Learning the ukulele was such a challenge, but like anything you just have to stick with it, follow the advice and stay focused.

“Not thinking about the news or being attached to social media was hugely satisfying and gave me a sense of purpose. I will definitely continue playing, and would encourage anyone who finds themself in isolation, and facing challenges with their mental health to do the same.”

Listen to the podcast, below.