Staff perceptions of live classical music in an urban medical clinic: A qualitative investigation

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Despite a lack of well-controlled empirical studies to support its implementation, recorded music is often utilized in medical waiting areas. More specifically, there is a dearth of data concerning how live classical music in a medical waiting area might affect the overall environment as well as the perceptions of staff who provide medical treatment. The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to understand medical staff perceptions of live classical music in a primary care clinic waiting area. The authors implemented a live music program consisting of live classical piano and guitar music in the waiting area of a small urban clinic. The researchers conducted individual semi-structured interviews with eight medical personnel who worked at the clinic. Data analysis was based upon Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six phases of thematic analysis. Emerging themes included: (a) the clinic is a unique arts-filled healthcare provider; (b) live music is different than recorded music; (c) live music blends without overpowering the environment; (d) live music facilitates non-medical interaction; and (e) beneficial affective results of the live music. Overall, medical staff perceived the presence of live classical music in the clinic waiting area positively and all interviewees requested increases in the frequency of the live music. Based upon a mutually advantageous collaborative partnership between a university music therapy program and a university medical clinic, the authors suggest implementing similar programs for the benefit of the patients, staff, and students. Implications for clinical practice, limitations, and suggestions for future research concerning live music in medical waiting areas are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 6 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015


  • clinic
  • live music
  • music
  • perception
  • waiting room


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