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Music, Health and Happiness

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

This course is currently not being offered in the academic year 2015 - 2016.

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We all know how music can change our mood. But recent research shows that it can also create major benefits for both our mental and physical health. Solo music can regulate your breathing, your brain waves and your blood supply. Choirs produce a sense of well-being and music therapy can help people with severe health problems. This ‘hands-on’ course explores the latest research and also invites you to experience ways of breathing, chanting and drumming for yourself. You can also listen to music from across the world and across the centuries. You need no previous musical knowledge or skills. Just come along and try it!

Do some kinds of music lift your spirits? Do others make you feel depressed? Enrol today onto this course as we try to discover what it is about music that takes you up or down.

Who is this course for?

This course is intended for anyone who wishes to explore how and why music can enrich our life and can help benefit our mental and physical health. This course explores a new and rapidly growing field of research. It looks at the influence of different types of music on our mental and even physical health. We all use music to lift our mood, but where does that boost come from and how can we explain it? We will play many examples in the class (including those that you bring yourself) and try to score them as ‘uppers’ or ‘downers’. And we will explore the way your brain responds to them to produce a mood or emotion.

But as well as mental health, listening to music (and still more, making it) also affects your physical health. In this class we will look at breathing, and how breath is converted into sound. Singing without words is a form of chanting and it has been used in spiritual practices for thousands of years. What has only become clear recently is that chanting also has profound physical effects on your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and brain waves. And you do not need any spiritual intention to practise it.

We will also look at the benefits of making music in groups. Community choirs are appearing like never before, and singing together also has particular health benefits which we shall explore. They include the social experience of being in a group and the sense of achievement in producing a group sound. Indeed, after 10 weeks together we will be producing some rich and satisfying harmonies. But even if you feel too embarrassed to make yourself heard, you can still benefit by sitting there and listening.

As well as sound, music has rhythm. So we will try to refine our rhythmic sense with clapping and drumming exercises. In addition we will listen to dozens of examples from around the world and across the centuries.

So, this literally is a ‘hands on’ course. But what it is definitely not is a singing class. You do not have to be afraid of getting it wrong. Just come along, feel pleasantly stimulated, and most importantly, enjoy the experience!

Learning and Teaching

Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include discussions, practical and listening exercises and vocal/breathing/drumming workshop sessions. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all.

Coursework and Assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.


There are no formal examinations. Our assessments are flexible to suit the course and the student. Assessment for this module is through practical and written exercises and/or a course learning journal.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.


The tutor will recommend titles, as appropriate.

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on

(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.