How Music Can Influence the Body: Perspectives From Current Research


  • Imogen Nicola Clark University of Melbourne
  • Jeanette Tamplin University of Melbourne



music, singing, health, body


Music is widely used by people of all ages as a stimulant and relaxant to manage everyday situations. Whether to motivate us for exercise or to help us unwind after a busy day, we seem to have an intuitive understanding about the influences music has on our bodies. The body’s responses to music are both conscious and unconscious, involving entrainment with rhythm, hormonal and neurological reactions, and changes in mood, emotion, and pain perception. This article explains these physiological responses to music and provides guidelines for consideration when selecting music to evoke desired bodily responses. Applications using music in rehabilitation are also provided to illustrate health-promoting qualities of music.

Author Biographies

Imogen Nicola Clark, University of Melbourne

Imogen Clark is a music therapy tutor at The University of Melbourne, PhD candidate at La Trobe University, and music therapist at Austin Health, Australia. Her research concentrates on music to improve health and wellbeing in older adults. Further interests focus on music therapy training and the growth of music therapy as a profession. Imogen has published in several peer reviewed music therapy and medical journals, and is an active contributor to the Australian Music Therapy Association.

Jeanette Tamplin, University of Melbourne

Dr Jeanette Tamplin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Music Therapy at the University of Melbourne, and Honorary Fellow in the Institute for Breathing and Sleep at Austin Health. She graduated with a PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2012, in which she investigated the effects of singing on respiratory function, voice, and mood for people with quadriplegia. She has worked clinically as a music therapist in the neurorehabilitation field for 15 years.




How to Cite

Clark, I. N., & Tamplin, J. (2016). How Music Can Influence the Body: Perspectives From Current Research. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 16(2).