WAAM’s Music Impact Research Center (MIRC) funds, researches, aggregates, and disseminates data measuring music’s influence through rigorous, scientific means. 


We have formed a community of domain experts to develop and guide priorities. The team is responsible for curating leading third-party research, as well as producing original content to illustrate and substantiate the tangible link between music and key success metrics. Our analysis is publicly available; it is also shared with our grantees and factors into the evaluation of program delivery. 


Interested in the minds behind this effort? Meet our research team!


Metrics Linking Guitars Over Guns to Broader Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Improving Capacities and Experiences

The We Are All Music Foundation, in partnership with Hello Insight, recently undertook a case study of one of our Power of Music Grantees – Guitars Over Guns – to showcase how their music mentoring program has helped bring about some striking improvements across key metrics showing progress towards Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

Photo credit: Isaac Rodriguez

For CORE SEL, 58% of participants showed improvement in this umbrella category.

Core SEL is further broken down into the follow sub-categories:


Measures a young person’s desire to engage with and contribute to family, community, and society

of participants reported improvement


Measures the ability of a young person to regulate their emotions and behavior, take positive risks, and persist through life’s challenges

of participants reported improvement

Positive Identity

Measures a young person's internal sense of who they are and confidence to explore the multiple facets of their identities

of participants reported improvement

Academic Self-Efficacy

Measures a young person's motivation and perceived mastery over their own learning, school performance, and potential to attain academic success

of participants reported improvement

Social Skills

Measures the ability of a young person to take others’ perspectives into account, and to develop a sense of caring and empathy

of participants reported improvement



Study protocol for the Alzheimer and music therapy study: An RCT to compare the efficacy of music therapy and physical activity on brain plasticity, depressive symptoms, and cognitive decline, in a population with and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

There is anecdotal evidence for beneficial effects of music therapy in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). However, there is a lack of rigorous research investigating this issue. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of music therapy and physical activity on brain plasticity, mood, and cognition in a population with AD and at risk for AD.
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A Randomized Control Trial of Meditation Compared to Music Listening to Improve Cognitive Function for Breast Cancer Survivors: Feasibility and Acceptability

This study focuses on attempting to identify affordable treatments to combat brain fog and cognitive decline connected to breast cancer treatment. It reviews the impacts of meditation and listening to music. Overall all members of the study reported improved mood and cognitive abilities. AUTHOR SUMMARY: Ashley M. Henneghan a b, Heather Becker a, Michelle L.
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A Population-Level Analysis of Associations Between School Music Participation and Academic Achievement

The study is a population level analysis (n = 112,916) examining relationships between music education and mathematics, science and Engligh achievement in highschool. It also controlled for factors such as language/cultural background and socioeconomic status. School music achievement positively related to scores on all subjects; such relationships were stronger for achievement in instrumental music compared with vocal music.
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Connecting Veterans Through the Power of Percussion

An article from the US Department of Veteran Affairs, this focuses on the use of drum circles to releive symptoms of PTSD among veterans. Resilient Rhythms is the name of the program and it is used by VA therapists to help Veterans deal with trauma, socialize with other Veterans, and express themselves more freely. The instructors’ goal, they said.
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