Music and Health Care

Lea Wolf, MSW, Dr. Thomas Wolf

August 2011

A Paper Commissioned by the Musical Connections Program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute

In 2009, the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall launched the Musical Connections Program. The program was founded on these premises:

  • Music has the power to transform lives and to bring hope and comfort to people in challenging circumstances.
  • All people deserve to have great music in their lives.
  • Carnegie Hall feels a responsibility to provide and develop programs that respond to community need based on the organization’s mission and civic position.

Musical Connections took musicians to settings as diverse as adult and juvenile correctional facilities, homeless shelters, senior service organizations, and hospitals. In these settings, Musical Connections offered programs ranging from large-scale concerts for several hundred people to in-depth workshops extending over many weeks involving as few as five or six participants. Initial evaluation of the program demonstrated its profound impact on people’s lives.

Carnegie Hall then decided to expand Musical Connections nationally based on the idea that the success of local programming’s response to New York City’s needs had implications for communities across the country. One of the aims of a national partnership was to try to find an underlying set of common goals and measures that might offer opportunities for cross site documentation and assessment. A first step in this effort was to ground the work in a broader understanding of theory and practice about the way music connects to the fields in which the program is active.

This WolfBrown report was intended to do that for the field of music and health. The review of relevant literature includes a discussion of important issues in this rapidly growing field and has already become a valuable resource for organizations and individuals alike. 

Read the 2011 report.


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