Cartoon of musicians playing guitar and recorder

Royal College of Music and City, University of London launch new book exploring musical care

Friday 7 October 2022

Collaborative Insights: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Musical Care Throughout the Life Course, co-edited by academics from the Royal College of Music and City, University of London, is the first book to provide interdisciplinary insights into how musical care is understood and undertaken during distinct stages of a person’s life.

The book shares a variety of perspectives from practitioners and academic researchers to create a holistic overview of how musical care may be best delivered in different settings.

Exploring latest knowledge on musical care, it is aimed at anybody involved in the field to learn from and to influence their own practice or research. This includes music therapists working with children with special needs, palliative care nurses seeking to introduce musical care to their practice, and academic researchers seeking to investigate the role of music in care contexts.

The term 'musical care' is introduced and covers the role that music - music listening as well as music-making – can play in supporting aspects of a person's developmental and health needs, including for their physical and mental health, cognitive and behavioural development, and interpersonal relationships.

Each chapter has been written collaboratively by a music therapist and an academic in a related discipline (e.g. developmental psychology, music psychology, sociology); focuses on one life stage from infancy to the end of life; and provides a brief overview of musical care during that life stage, citing the supporting evidence, and offering new calls to action to inspire further work to better implement or understand musical care.

The book is also the cornerstone of a wider initiative to expand awareness of musical care as a concept and to drive new collaborations and interdisciplinary learning.

Created by the book's editors, the Musical Care website contains several resources including a fun and freely accessible series of animations outlining to a general audience the roles of musical care in each of the six life stages, matching the chapters of the book.


Filmed at the Royal College of Music, a launch video to the book features the editors and other experts in the field discussing the importance of the book, the musical care network the editors have set up and the accessible animations.

Dr Neta Spiro, Reader at the Centre for Performance Science at the Royal College of Music explains:

'Alongside the book we have developed the interdisciplinary network Musical Care International to welcome discussion and connection among the wide range of people that musical care touches around the world. We hope to get more people involved in this conversation.'

Co-editor of the book, Dr Katie Rose Sanfilippo, Research Fellow at the Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research at City, University of London said:

'We are delighted to have such a highly experienced and wide-ranging team of authors contribute. We hope that discussion of this book brings together all those interested in musical care, including music therapists, music psychologists, music educators and the public, to explore through collaboration and interdisciplinary working, the potential place of musical care throughout our lives.'

Commenting, Raymond MacDonald, Chair of Music Psychology and Improvisation, University of Edinburgh said:

'This is a fabulous book. Written by some of the world's leading researchers, each chapter is beautifully crafted to convey how music is a fundamental feature of human existence across the whole life. An essential read for anyone interested in the relationship between music and wellbeing.'

To find out more about the Royal College of Music’s research in music and health

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