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Can Music Make You Sick? Final Report and Recommendations – MusicTank

Can Music Make You Sick? Final Report and Recommendations

01 Nov 2017

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This report is based on the findings of what became the largest known academic study of its type, conducted by Sally Gross and Dr. George Musgrave, University of Westminster/ MusicTank, and commissioned by Help Musicians UK.  The full study can be found under the Our Reports section of this website.

This HMUK report summarises the findings and how these inform their #musicmindsmatter campaign.

Key findings:

  • Music makers’ relationship to their work is integral to their sense of self.  It’s how they define themselves.
  • People in the music industry need to believe in themselves and in their work, yet the unpredictable nature of the business can knock that belief.
  • Music makers can be reflective and highly self-critical, and exist in an environment of constant critical feedback.
  • A career in music is often precarious and unpredictable.
  • Many musicians have several different jobs as part of a portfolio career, and as a result can feel as though they work 24/7 and can’t take a break.
  • It can be hard for musicians to admit to insecurities because of competition and wanting to appear on top of things.
  • Family, friends and partners play an important role in supporting musicians, but this can also lead to feelings of guilt.
  • Musicians’ working environment can be anti-social and unsympathetic, with some people experiencing sexual abuse, harassment, bullying and coercion.
  • Musicians can find it hard to access affordable professional help for mental health issues.
  • As many musicians are self-employed, they can feel on their own when it comes to dealing with mental health problems.
  • There needs to be a drive to improve working conditions across the music industries and enhance understanding of the challenges faced by creative workers.
  • More work is required to explore how discrimination, sexism and diversity impact on the working climate for musicians.


Help Musicians UK; Publ. Nov 2017