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Center for Music & Medicine

Music as Medicine

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.

Harpist Peggy Houng Harpist Peggy Houng plays for a group

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.

Conditions We Aim to Treat with Music

ParkinSonics Choral Group

ParkinSonics is a unique program for people with Parkinson's disease. The program explores how singing fosters improvement of neurologic function while elevating the mood and spirit. When immersing in ParkinSonics, participants’ attention moves away from illness and toward creativity. Singing together in the group has helped increase participants’ vocal volume and clarity, rhythmic movement and confidence of emotional expression, while cultivating a sense of community.

New singers are welcome to join, and no musical experience is necessary. For details, contact Ellen Talles at

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., co-director of the Center for Music & Medicine.

Zoom Drumming Classes

In February 2021, we began offering free weekly virtual drumming classes for individuals with parkinsonian disorders and their care partners. Research suggests that group drumming can improve quality of life and other symptoms in people with Parkinson disease.

For more information, contact Jason Armstrong Baker at

Music Therapy

We partner with Annapolis Music Therapy Associates, who offer comprehensive music therapy services (1:1, group, virtual and in-person) for children and adults with a range of conditions, including parkinsonism, dementia and autism spectrum disorders. For more information, please contact Kerry Devlin at

Musical Performance in Healthcare Facilities

  • Johns Hopkins Music and Medicine club members (medical students and other Hopkins volunteers) provide weekly Zoom performances for hospitalized patients and staff. Learn more (login required).
  • Musicare provides musical performances at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Mercy Medical Center, Union Memorial Hospital, Future Care/Good Samaritan Nursing Home and the Keswick Multicare Center. Learn more