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



Why Music Causes Memories To Flood Back

This article from the Washington Post examines the link between music and memory retrieval. The article specifically focuses on how people suffering from forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s can often recall lyrics to songs from their earlier days, even while struggling to retain short-term memories. The link between music and memory is compared to the way memories also link to olfaction.
Read More »

How Does Mental Health Play a Role in the Future of Hip Hop?

The article talks about how Dr. Olajide Williams, founder of Hip Hop Public Health and professor of neurology at Columbia University, shows how mental health should be viewed as a critical part of life. The physical and neurological benefits of music include mood improvement, stress reduction and memory retention.
Read More »

Can Music be a Tool for Social Transformation?

Professor Oscar Odena, researcher at University of Glasgow, Scotland, has created a global network of researchers studying how music affects people socially, through the Arts of Inclusion network. His research compares and contrasts social music projects around the world, determining the elements that can imporve people’s lives and bring communities together.
Read More »

What Is The Papageno Effect?

Papageno Effect [is] the idea that mainstream media can use its powers for good by reporting on suicide responsibly to have a similar influence that these three characters had on Papageno in the opera.
Read More »

Music and Health

This article explores the profound connection between music and human health indicating that music broadly enhances health and perfomance. It highlights the universal presence of music and its impact on our well-being. The neurobiology of music is discussed, emphasizing how the brain processes and interprets musical elements. The effects of music on cognitive function, stress reduction, mood, and movement are examined.
Read More »

The Rhythm of Healthier Aging

Johns Hopkins neurologist Alex Pantelyat is developing promising treatments for his aging patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases that involve no costly drugs or unpleasant side effects. These treatments are easy to pursue at home, or together with friends and family. And they appear to improve the health of patients with debilitating chronic illness while also unlocking feelings of joy and well-being.
Read More »

The Effect of Non-Verbal Music on Anxiety in Hospitalized Children

Anxiety and subsequent changes in physiological responses in children can cause side effects such as prolonged recovery time and the need to take sedatives. The anxiety caused by children’s hospitalization causes damage to their biological and psychological development. Therefore, due to this issue, in recent years, pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods have been proposed for the mental adaptation of children to the hospital environment.
Read More »