Musical creativity and well-being

Raymond MacDonald, Graeme Wilson, Felicity Baker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Participating in musical activities involves an immersive spectrum of psychological and social engagement. Connections between musical participation and health have been discussed for centuries, and relationships between the processes of music-making and wellbeing outcomes have recently garnered considerable research interest. This chapter reviews recent studies investigating such associations to identify how creative aspects of musical engagement in particular can be understood to enhance health. The chapter begins by offering some suggestions about why these processes may have beneficial effects. Three key contexts for beneficial musical engagement (music education, music therapy and community music) are examined: an organization (Limelight) who deliver music activities for individuals from disadvantaged groups; group improvisation music therapy sessions for individuals with cancer; and songwriting sessions for individuals following spinal injury. The relative contributions of creative process and creative product are considered and psychological concepts such as identity, flow, agency and scaffolding are suggested as important. The discussion extrapolates wider implications of this work to include general music-making beyond clinical, educational and community contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music
EditorsNicolas Donin
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • health
  • identity
  • community music
  • songwriting
  • improvisation
  • flow
  • absorption
  • agency
  • scaffolding
  • well-being


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