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



Musical participation and positive youth development in middle school

This Fender and USC-sponsored study examined positive youth development (PYD), school connectedness (SC), and hopeful future expectations (HFE) in middle school students (N = 120) with four levels of musical participation in school-based and extracurricular music programs. They examined many variable and also noted that students from lower socio-economic circumstances benefited more, showing the importance of access to music education.
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Effect of Music Therapy as a Non-Pharmacological Measure Applied to Alzheimer’s Disease Patients: A Systematic Review

This article took an interesting angle: in addition to examining how music therapy could help with reducing some symptoms of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, it also examined how music can help their caregivers. The researchers looked at 16 studies across a variety of geographies, sample sizes (though researchers said most were small), and control group vs no control group.
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Music Therapy Helps Ease Depression in Children, Adolescents With ADHD

This article details study results showing that music therapy can be used to help children and adolescents with ADHD. They used a small sample, 36 children/adolescents with ADHD, 18 of which received the usal care and 18 who received standard care and music therapy. The test group’s music therapy was both active and receptive for a period of three months.
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Extended Music Education Enhances The Quality of School Life

The claim of whether music education can create social benefits in the school environment was tested in 10 Finnish schools with an extended music curricular class and control classes. The quality of school life (QSL) was assessed by a representative sample (N=735) of pupils at years 3 and 6 (9- and 12-years-olds).
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Promises of Music in Education?

The article examines the evolving educational landscape, emphasizing the increasing need for skills like problem-solving and social abilities. It focuses on the potential of music in supporting learning, reviewing evidence from various settings. The discussion covers formal music training showing structural brain changes in children engaged in music. Intervention studies highlight improved cognitive and language skills following intensive music training.
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