The National Alliance of Musicians in Healthcare​ (NAMIH)

The National Alliance of Musicians in Healthcare​ (NAMIH) logo

The National Alliance of Musicians in Healthcare​ (NAMIH) represents practitioners delivering  person­centred music­making within healthcare. Alliance members are unified by shared  outcomes, standards and ethics. Together we gather research and information on best practice  and advocate for its use in healthcare. Members form strong cross sector partnerships with  healthcare professionals​ and ​creative participatory music making opportunities at hospital  bedsides and in group settings. Our music­making is participant led and includes urban, folk,  jazz and improvisational styles.

An international body of evidence is emerging which demonstrates the value of music­making in  supporting the health of the most vulnerable. Music­making brings elements to healthcare that  go beyond the reach of medicine but work in concert with it. ​Music­making has a place at every  stage of our journey with mental and physical health; from premature babies through to acute  and end of life care, music provides real, tangible benefits. In chronic ill health when patients  lack mobility, dexterity, verbal communication or sight; music enhances quality of life and  creates a medium of communication.

Clinicians have provided a wealth of feedback demonstrating the transformational outcomes for  their patients and the environments they work in. 

“I get more Blood Tests done in the same time when they (the musicians) are here. It creates a calm atmosphere for the patients. We always have a long waiting list for this clinic so this is very helpful.” Clinician, Pulse Arts Broomfield Hospital project.

We believe:

A)    The current gap between Arts and Health could be transformed by cross-department working at Government level

B)    An in-depth review and evaluation of existing studies should be undertaken to collate robust research which demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of non-clinical interventions.

C)    Participatory music-making for well-being needs to be integrated into the heart of healthcare services

D)    This work should be supported with long-term funding streams that enable organisations to plan for sustainable, measurable work.

NAMIH members create programmes that embed music-making in healthcare culture in specialist,

residential and community settings. Specialist Musicians create demonstrable outcomes for participants and the organisations that support them including:

-reduced anxiety and social isolation of participants/families/carers

-improved self-expression and optimism

-improved ability of healthcare professionals to support patients

-cultural opportunities and progression routes from which participants may otherwise be excluded

Music in Healthcare is:

●       Person-centred

●       Engaging with people at every stage of their healthcare journey from early onset to acute physical and mental ill health

●       Delivered by a highly skilled network, experienced in working in healthcare resulting in truly inclusive work

●       Committed to cross-sector partnerships

“Youth Music is committed to investing in music-making opportunities for young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance. Being in hospital can be one of the most stressful experiences. Our portfolio demonstrates positive outcomes for young people created by highly skilled practitioners delivering everything from folk music in children’s hospitals to urban music in secure mental health units. This work is made possible through a dedicated approach to building meaningful partnerships between arts organisations and healthcare settings.”

Matt Griffiths, CEO, Youth Music

We translate medical ethics to music-making: autonomy, beneficence/non-maleficence, justice, dignity, confidentiality, informed consent.

Musicians in Healthcare are funded by grant-giving bodies, NHS commissions and Local Authorities. We work across the healthcare sector in hospitals, care homes, acute mental health and community settings and provide training and apprenticeships for Musicians and healthcare staff. Participants include:

●       Premature babies and mothers

●       Children and young people with complex health and additional needs

●       People with dementia

●       People with chronic lung disease

Methodologies include:

●       academic research

●       external/ internal evaluation using an outcomes approach

●       questionnaires and observations of participants, supporting staff and musicians.

OPUS Music CIC commissioned CLADAC report which concludes that their work:

-        supports the health of children, helping recovery or coping with illness

-        increases resilience

-        is very empowering, especially for children who have so little control over their circumstances

-         moderates feelings of anger, anxiety and frustration by providing opportunities for play, curiosity and nurture

Report here: 

Lime Arts: Music For Health

Report commissioned by Royal Northern College of Music, funded by Youth at Music Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital .

Pulse Arts CIC

Independent evaluation by Aspirational Arts Partnerships.


Evaluation film: Music-making in acute hospitals with PWD.

Hertfordshire Music Services

Musical Memory Box, an intergenerational reminiscence project.

The Alzheimer's Society, Singing for The Brain

Programme evaluation suggests that music-making provides a stimulus to memory and can result in improved mood, increased self-expression and communication.

Dr Claire Garabedian, University of Worcester

“I’d Rather Have Music!”

Findings support prior research regarding beneficial effects of individualised music for PWD adding the possibility that music supports well-being, and enhances patient/carer interaction in the moment. Music creates a 'haven' for people at all stages of  dementia.

rb&h Arts

Singing for breathing programme. First in the UK to be evaluated with two RCT’s. Evaluation ongoing.

British Lung Foundation

Delivering specialist training to Singing for Lung Health facilitators across the UK with evaluation by Imperial college, London available this year.

Costanza Preti, University College London

Published research on multiple aspects of music in healthcare

Rhythmix, Wishing Well programme

Feasibility Study pending: September 2016 - March 2017. Academic Supervision by Professor Sube Banerjee.

      Can it be demonstrated that live music

     -Enhances interaction between people with dementia and nursing staff.

-Reduces distressed behaviours in people with dementia

Contributing Organisations:

OPUS Music


Lime Arts

Pulse Arts

Wellspring Music

Cascade Music

The Alzheimer’s Society

Dr Claire Garabedian, University of Worcester

Hertfordshire Music Services

rb&hArts/ BLF

Understanding Arts

Costanza Preti PHD

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England