Music as Medicine

Harpist Peggy Houng playing a harp in a library in front of four older people sitting on a couchHarpist Peggy Houng plays for a group

Though acknowledging the role of music in addressing illness is not new, recent research is illuminating how music affects the brain and other body systems in a measurable way.

Using that knowledge, practitioners can now integrate music with medicine to augment healing. The Center for Music & Medicine is continuing to expand research on the effect of music on neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and stroke.

A recent study conducted at Johns Hopkins found that group singing improved quality of life and voice strength and clarity in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Patients have continued singing weekly in the community, an endeavor also supported by the Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • Research on the Whole-Body Experience: Actively making music is a whole-body sensory and motor experience with advantages for people living with neurodegenerative diseases. The center is conducting cutting-edge research on both active and passive music experiences.
  • Dual Perspectives: Pairing an understanding of music with world-class health care, we provide a unique experience that offers you the best of both worlds.
  • Multidisciplinary, World-Class Clinical Care: The Center for Music & Medicine’s care team is a community of care providers including neurologists, neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, physical and rehabilitative therapists, speech-language pathologists and psychologists.

Music has been an integral part of the human experience as long as humanity has been around. It’s been intuitively felt to have healing properties, but now we are in a position to study the mechanisms and optimize music-based interventions.

Alexander Pantelyat, M.D., director of the Center for Music & Medicine

Music Therapy Programs

A Johns Hopkins music therapist standing next to a cart full of music therapy instruments.

Music therapy is the use of music delivered by a board-certified music therapist to improve and support an individual’s health.

Learn more about music therapy.

Our team of licensed, board-certified music therapists are honored to collaborate with patients of all ages who have a wide range of diagnoses and lived experiences, including but not limited to: neurodegenerative disorders, movement disorders, dementia, depression anxiety, and hospitalized children and adults.

Our current programs include:

Learn more about music therapy and neurologic music therapy (NMT).

Conditions We Aim to Treat with Music

Learn more about the conditions we treat in our Health section: