Music can be a great resource to express emotions, connect with others, and find solace and relaxation. Although music is everywhere and widely accessible, it is still often seen as a domain for specialists to engage with music in a purposeful manner. These videos are intended to illustrate what everyone can do with music! We are a team of music-enthusiasts (practicing musicians and researchers) and keen to share what we think is possible through music. Hope you will feel inspired and select a song, pick up a forgotten instrument, sing or just turn on the radio with greater intent!


Newborns to three years old

Verna Vazquez (Family & Music, Mexico) introduces three fun activities to accompany music for families with infants from 0-3 years old:

  • recognising emotions

  • body awareness

  • regulating behaviour

Verna is Coordinator of Arts, and founder of Family and Music Society in Mexico City. She has dedicated the last 10 years to early childhood music education, and 3 years to explore music as a tool for facilitating maternal, and family bonding, in order to give a low-cost and easy-access tool to vulnerable population and/or families at risk.

Music offers a great background for relaxing activities that help to have some real quality time as a family with a young infant. Do these activities with your child as a single parent or with the whole family.

Three to five year olds

Polly Ives (Concerteenies) discusses how people can connect with 3-5 years old through musical activities focussing on:

  • Music and Fun

  • Music and emotion

  • Music and Imagination

  • Music and Routine

  • Make it Relevant to children

Polly specialises in music for 0-7 year olds through her own concert series Concerteenies, based in Sheffield. She regularly works as a concert presenter, workshop leader and trainer with arts organisations, orchestras, music venues, nurseries, schools and Music Hubs around the country.

Teenagers upwards

Kate Wareham, PhD researcher at the University of Sheffield, shares some of the ways young people use music to help manage mood and emotions when:

  • you want to feel grounded

  • you feel angry

  • you are feeling alone

  • everything gets a bit much

Kate is researching music listening practices in the lives of young people living in temporary accommodation, in homelessness services and in military bases.

Music is a way that young people manage emotions, social interactions and private space among many other uses!

Later life

Dr Nicola Pennill (University of Sheffield) shares reflections on some of the ways in which music can be part of later life:

  • learning new skills and developing a sense of purpose and identity

  • creating social connections through group music and attending courses

  • sharing powerful musical memories which can evoke recollections of significant times, places and relationships

Nicola's research interests include group music participation, wellbeing, music and age, and musician education. Recent research has shown that wellbeing benefits of group music making in older people include a common purpose, shared and individual learning, social connections, and a renewed sense of identity.

Music Mind Machine

These videos are an initiative of the Music, Mind, Machine (MMM) research centre of the Department of Music, The University of Sheffield, directed by Prof. Renee Timmers

MMM conducts research on everyday uses of music to express and regulate emotions and promote wellbeing.

Further information can be found on the MMM website

See also Psychology of Music @ The University of Sheffield

Other resources

You may also be interested in the following resources related to music research and arts and wellbeing.

Podcasts on iResearch Music

Map of organisations working in the area of music for wellbeing in Sheffield