Live Music for a Longer Life

Did you know that attending live events bi-weekly has the potential to extend your life by nine years? Forget the Yoga and the Dog Walking and go to a live event to feel 21% after about 20 minutes – the Yoga only helps up to 10% and the Dog Walking 7%. And that happy feeling translates into a healthier person according to a recent study by O2 and Patrick Fagan, expert in behavioural science and Associate Lecturer at Goldsmith’s University. Remember the studies that found that listening to Mozart increases a child’s intelligence? Everyone got very excited about the options and the State of Georgia decided to give every new mother a cassette tape with Mozart music so they could foster a new generation with superior intelligence. And of course the boom of educational baby materials featuring Mozart music made a huge economic impact. Unfortunately, it turned out that the effect of listening to Classical music is more of a soothing kind and helps with focus and structure during the moment of testing. The predicted long-term effects of building up additional brain cells were somewhat questionable. Nonetheless – getting Classical music in everyone’s hands is still a positive outcome and the babies certainly benefited from listening to Mozart’s music in many ways.

So here is the new craze – going to live concerts makes you a happier, healthier, more socially adept person and potentially increases one’s life span up to nine years. That sounds like great news to me – as a musician a boost to attendance and the confirmation of doing something beneficial on many levels is wonderful.  Here is a comment by the scientist behind the study.

Patrick Fagan, Expert in Behavioural Science and Associate Lecturer at Goldsmith’s University, said:

“Our research showcases the profound impact gigs have on feelings of health, happiness and wellbeing – with fortnightly or regular attendance being the key. Combining all of our findings with O2’s research, we arrive at a prescription of a gig a fortnight which could pave the way for almost a decade more years of life.”

If I put my researcher hat on, there are a few caveats though to the good news. The sponsor for the study is the London O2 arena who’s interest of course is to increase attendance, maybe a bit of conflict of interest in interpreting the results? Also – maybe the causality is a bit different, maybe people who go to concerts are already happier, healthier, and more social and hence they enjoy the experience already on a different level than the non-attendees? And how does the style of music, the concert venue, the size of the audience, the company to go with influence the overall experience – is it the same for a Chamber Music Recital where you sit quiet and listen as for Bonnaroo, where the weekend is one big party? And what about a musical, a theater piece, an opera? There are many more questions and speculations on the validity and impact – but, if we can have a similar effect as the Mozart effect with an increase in audiences and support for the live music business I’m happy to observe the benefits and look forward to lots of happy people at our performances.

Of course, the big SHEROES CD release concert week is coming up – very exciting, join us for some happiness!

Jazz and Gender Panel + SHEroes Concert,  Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, School of Jazz Performance Space, Room I531, Arnhold Hall 55 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011

An Die Musik live 409 North Charles Street Second Floor, Baltimore, Friday, April 6, 8pm

Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road Cleveland, OH 44106, Sunday, April 8, 7pm