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Module WXM-3309:
Music in Health & Well-being

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Gwawr Ifan

Overall aims and purpose

Students will: Acquire a solid understanding of the general medical conditions that are treated by music in a therapeutic context. Acquire a solid understanding of the specific skills that are required of professional musicians or music therapists working in healthcare settings. Develop skills in expressing their opinions on the effectiveness of music as a tool to promote health and well-being in various fields. Read and gather information from a wide range of literature relating to the use of music to promote health and well-being in one specific area.

Course content

In this module, there will be an opportunity to consider the impact that music can have in a psychological, emotional and social context, and the connections between music, health and well-being from a variety of historical and cultural perspectives. You will learn about some of the main areas in which music is used to promote well-being. The use of music in a wide variety of therapeutic contexts will be considered and discussed, as well as the effectiveness of music in treating physical and mental health conditions.

Assessment Criteria


Upper Second Class: B- to B+ (60%-69%)
The distinguishing quality is the ability to construct focused argument which is properly evidenced. The work will therefore probably demonstrate the ability to understand the discussion of a work of art and to apply that knowledge to different works; the conveyance of a general knowledge and understanding of the topic as a whole, and of a more detailed knowledge and understanding of specific areas; competent bibliographical and footnoting skills; effective communication of ideas and argument; thoughtful contribution to oral discussion; ability to see problems and contradictions within source reading; skills in observation and analysis. Upper Second Class work may contain many of the same qualities which apply in First Class work, but they will be demonstrated at a less independent level, or the work may be outstanding in one First-class characteristic but significantly deficient in another.


Fail: E and below (0%-39%)
Failure at honours level comes automatically from: plagiarism; lack of a bibliography (except in the rare cases where a bibliography is not required), or the provision of an obviously bogus bibliography; lack of footnotes/endnotes (except in the rare cases where footnotes/endnotes are not required); failure to fulfil the module’s stated learning outcomes. Failure usually comes from insufficient study, knowledge and/or understanding. It may also be the result of passive and inaccurate reliance on your sources; ignoring teaching and handout instructions; weak and confused discussion which demonstrates serious misunderstandings or ignorance; reliance on previously gained knowledge (for example at A-Level) which has not been re-negotiated; illiterate writing; inadequate oral expression; inability to address the topic; expression of unexamined value judgements.

Third Class: D- to D+ (40%-49%)
The crucial achievement is demonstration of a basic grasp of what the topic is about, and the sort of material involved. However, the mark will be limited to this level by such things as: mere repetition of information without demonstration of real understanding; confusion of argument which indicates a failure to properly understand the material; inability to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant; inability to grasp ideas; inclusion of factual errors; seriously defective bibliographical or footnoting skills; poor expression; oral reticence; scrappy presentation.


First Class: A- and A (70%-83%)
The distinguishing quality is evidence of real intellectual and independent thought in a sustained discussion. Work at this level will probably demonstrate initiative in carrying out research beyond the obvious sources; ability to evaluate critically sources used; sustained and coherent discussion; articulate expression in speaking and writing; ability to bring together material from disparate sources; observational and analytical skills of a high order; the ability to employ knowledge to illuminate musical texts; indications of wide knowledge beyond the narrow confines of the topic addressed; the ability to lead oral discussion; ability to identify and rigorously confront problems in the topic, contradictions in texts, or lacunae in available evidence.

First Class: A+ to A** (84%-100%)
Work at this level is highly original and of a standard that attains or closely approaches professional standards. The work will demonstrate in a consistent manner all of the features listed in the A-/A (70%-83%) category, and will be of such a quality that it either stands up to publication or broadcast in its submitted state or has the potential for publication or broadcast with presentational amendments.

C- to C+

Lower Second Class: C- to C+ (50%-59%)
The main quality which warrants marks in this category is the amassing of a reasonable body of relevant material drawn from a fairly wide range of reading or other forms of information retrieval, sorted into a coherent order and expressed intelligibly. Qualities which limit the mark to this level are: incoherent arguments, or argument which is defective in some way; limited or defective bibliography or footnotes; limited understanding of ideas or argument; limited evidence of a broad knowledge and understanding of the topic; limited engagement with negotiating and renegotiating ideas in oral discussion; limited evidence of serious thought, as opposed to straightforward diligence.

Learning outcomes

  1. On completing the module, students will be able to develop critical arguments effectively and rigorously on the effectiveness of music as a tool to promote health and well-being

  2. On completing the module, students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth and thorough understanding of the general medical conditions that are treated by music in a therapeutic contex

  3. On completing the module, students will be able to demonstrate a detailed and mature understanding of the specific skills that are required of professional musicians or music therapists working in healthcare settings

  4. On completing the module, students will be able to evaluate and analyse information from a wide range of academic sources relating to the use of music to promote health and well-being in one specific area.

  5. On completing the module, students will be able to apply models of reflective practice to critically evaluate and analyse a musical event in a healthcare setting in the community, supported by their own observations as well as relevant academic literature.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Choose ONE of the following questions:

  1. According to the music therapist Juliette Alvin, ‘we can recognise Plato and Aristotle as the forerunners of music therapy’. To what extent is this true?

  2. Describe and evaluate, using specific case studies, the way in which music may be used to help children with Cerebral Palsy.

  3. Provide a critical discussion of the way in which ‘Mozart Effect’ was popularised, and consider to what extent there is solid evidence to support the ‘Mozart Effect’ theory?

  4. Using specific case studies, explain the music provision that is offered to prisoners OR offenders with mental illnesses. Thus evaluate the use of music in promoting the health and wellbeing of offenders.

  5. Provide an outline of the provision of music in health and wellbeing that is offered in the UK today. Evaluate the strategies and action plans that exist in various parts of the country to develop and promote this provision.


Prepare a 10 minute presentation, introducing a specific subject area within music, health and wellbeing.

There will be an opportunity to choose a topic of your choice at the beginning of the semester. You are free to choose a topic which is of interest to you. However, level 6 students will need to choose a subject area that hasn’t been discussed in class, and a subject which is relatively new to the field of music, health and wellbeing.


Write a reflective report of 1000 words, answering the following question:

By referring to the musical event you observed, prepare a report which will guide future musicians on the specific skills that are required to work as musicians in healthcare settings.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


11 weekly seminars of 1 hours each

Private study

Individual work, including: - Reading and preparing answers to questions set in class on a weekly basis. These will form the basis of an academic discussion in the weekly seminars. - Researching and preparing for their assignments.


11 weekly lectures of 2 hours each


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.


Talis Reading list

Reading list

See reading list for WXM 3187.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: