Tag Archive | "Hill Strategies Research"

Music as Medicine

Music as Medicine

Music provides us pleasure and contributes to education outcomes. It’s also been identified as a factor in promoting good health, and is a potential intervention tool in health care.

We know from a Hill Strategies report that pop concert attendees have a 23% greater likelihood of reporting very good or excellent health than non-attendees, even after controlling for other factors. But why is that? A review of 400 research papers provided several answers.

First, music boosts our immune system by increasing both immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity of the mucous system, and natural killer cell counts, white cells that attack virus-infected and tumor cells.

Second, music appears to have anti-inflammatory properties, by inducing positive changes in cytokines, an hormone-like protein which regulates the intensity and duration of immune responses.

Third, music acts as a buffer to stress. Relaxing music reduces our levels of cortisol and beta-endorphin, two stress hormones which, although useful in crisis situations, may act as neurotoxins and have detrimental consequences for health when they are activated over a prolonged period.

Fourth, music initiates brainstem responses that, in turn, regulate heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

Fifth, music is often listen to or played in group context. This reinforces social support networks, which public health specialists have found to be one of the most important social determinant of health.

Music in an Istambul hospitalThese effects of music have garnered attention of healthcare practitioners, who are beginning to exploit the therapeutic potential of music. For example, music was shown to be more effective than Valium to reduce anxiety prior to a surgery. Music also reduces anxiety levels and need for sedative drugs in intensive care unit patients. Similarly, listening to relaxing music after a surgery reduces postoperative pain, lowers the need for opiate drugs to cope with the pain and accelerates recovery.

Music also helps to reduce age-related illnesses and cognitive declines. Among many things, it energizes people suffering from dementia and it supports general wellbeing of elder people.

Music is affordable, and has none of the undesirable side effects that many pharmaceutical products have. (Or, if music does create an addiction, it’s a pleasant and harmless one.) That’s why so many studies conclude that music as a therapeutic intervention should be considered, along with traditional therapeutic interventions, in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health care.

Don’t wait to be sick. Listen to music now, go to a concert, sing a song or play your favourite musical instrument. It’s good for you, and for your health.

To learn more about music and health, visit the Arts Health Network Canada.

Prepared by Frédéric Julien, for CAPACOA and Orchestras Canada

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly NewsletterComments Off

We are Wired for Music

We are Wired for Music

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast… and to stimulate the human brain.

For thousands of years, we have used music in our everyday life as a means of relaxation or a source of stimulation. In the last decades, music has been used in clinical setting to promote physical and psychological health and well-being. Earlier this year, a Hill Strategies report found that pop concert attendees have a greater likelihood of reporting very good health than non-attendees. Are humans hard-wired for music? How does it affect our mood and our health? In this first of a series of three articles, we seek answers to these questions in recent – and fascinating – research by Canadian neuroscientists.

Simply put: our brain is built to enjoy and to positively react to music.

Dr. Valorie Salimpoor listening to musicWhen pleasurable music is heard, brain activity increases in the nucleus accumbens, an ancient part of the brain which is known to respond to survival stimuli like food and sex. This increased activity is accompanied by the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an essential signaling molecule in the brain which is involved in reward, motivation and pleasure. According to research conducted by Valorie Salimpoor and Robert Zatorre, dopamine is released not only when the music rises to a peak emotional moment, the moment when we feel a “chill” of pleasure down the spine, but also several seconds before, during what we might call the anticipation phase. This complex cerebral activity and the emotional arousal that ensues also induce several physiological reactions: a pleasurable “chill” down the spine and increases in heart rate, respiration and transpiration – much like the responses to a survival-driven stimuli.

A comprehensive literature review conducted at McGill University by Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel Levitin, found evidence that music also affects health and well being through three other neurochemical systems:

• immunity – which involves serotonin;

• stress and arousal – which involves cortisol; and,

• social affiliation – which involves oxytocin.

Indeed, the information gathered as part of this large-scale review of the literature showed that music increased both immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity of the mucous system, and natural killer cell counts, the cells that attack invading germs and bacteria. Listening to and playing music was also found to reduce level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. There also appears to be connections between music and oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone”, which plays an important role in bonding and group affiliation.

This growing body of information on the neurology of music is providing us with many insights on the universality of music. It is also paving the way to interesting applications in other sectors: this will be the subject of upcoming articles.

Prepared by Frédéric Julien, for CAPACOA and Orchestras Canada

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly NewsletterComments Off

What are you reading?

What are you reading?

Hill Strategies Research has just published a report on business support of the arts and other non-profit organizations. You can find the report here.

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly Newsletter, What are you readingComments Off

Insights for Strategic Corporate Fundraising

Based on the Canada Survey of Business Contributions to Community, a survey of 1,500 businesses, this Imagine Canada report examines which industry sectors tend to provide different types of support. The goal of this information is to help not-for-profit organizations “tailor their corporate fundraising to the sectors that are most likely to be responsive to their specific needs”. More specifically, “knowing the industry sector that a business works in can help [not-for-profit organizations] understand which businesses are more likely to donate cash, goods, services, or to engage in cause marketing and sponsorships”.

Link : Insights for Strategic Corporate Fundraising (summary by Hill Strategies Research)

Suggest a resource


Posted in Comments (0)

What are you reading?

What are you reading?

Once again this year, Orchestras Canada has commissioned an analysis of our Comparative Report data from Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research. This year, we asked Kelly to analyze trends in attendance, and key revenue and expense categories for our 50 benchmark orchestras from 2004-05 to 2011-12 – and we also asked him to consider what has happened since 2008-09. Perhaps we are biased, but we think the report makes fascinating reading. Whether you’re a numbers nerd, or simply someone who’s keenly interested in what is happening with Canadian orchestras, we commend this report to you highly. You can find the report in the Resources section of OC’s website, here.

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly Newsletter, What are you readingComments Off

Analysis of 50 Canadian Orchestras’ Finances and Attendance Between 2004-05 and 2011-12

This report examines the situation of 50 Canadian orchestras based on Orchestras Canada member surveys from 2004-05 through 2011-12. The survey covers orchestras’ revenues, expenses, surplus or deficit situations, performances, attendance, and endowment funds. Orchestras Canada checked the information submitted for accuracy against the orchestras’ financial statements and corresponded with orchestra managers when information was unclear.

The report was prepared by Hill Strategies Research for Orchestras Canada in May 2013.

Link : Analysis of 50 Canadian Orchestras’ Finances and Attendance Between 2004-05 and 2011-12

Suggest a resource


Posted in Comments (0)

Hill Strategies Research

Hill Strategies Research is a Canadian company that specializes in applying social science research methods to the arts sector.

Hill Strategies created the Arts Research Monitor, which provides synopses of qualitative and quantitative research findings in the arts and culture. The Monitor can be browsed by topics and makes it easy for  artists, arts managers, funders, policy makers, researchers and others to find the research information that they need.

Hill Strategies also provides the Statistical Insights on the Arts series (statistical reports), presentations based on research findings and a newsletter.

Link: Hill Strategies Research

Suggest a resource


Posted in Comments (0)

What are you reading?

What are you reading?

We’ve got a pair of recommendations this week – and a renewed request.

First of all, we’d like to share a series of reports and presentations that arts researcher Kelly Hill has prepared at the request of Orchestras Canada and with the support of the Ontario Arts Investment Fund. Kelly’s analysis of the Financial Condition of 50 Canadian Orchestras, 2004/05 to 2009/10 and 2004/05 to 2010/11 (and the associated presentations that he gave, at our request, via webinar AND live at our national meeting in Montreal in May 2012) are now available on the Hill Strategies Research website, here.

Secondly, we’d like to draw your attention to a provocative paper by arts researcher and thinker Alan S. Brown. To whet your appetite, here’s a taste: “Among the subtlest but most important shifts in patterns of cultural participation is the increased importance and meaning that consumers attach to the settings in which they engage in creative activities. The implications for arts presenters and the venues, spaces and facilities they use are significant. Future generations will not ascribe the same importance to permanent venues with fixed seating and fixed staging. In order to remain relevant, arts presenters and producers must radically re-conceptualize the relationships between their programs and their spaces in order to reach younger and more diverse audiences.” Intrigued? Terrified? Wondering what it might mean for symphony orchestras? Read more, here.

Finally, we’re still looking for nominations for your “must-visit” arts news websites, blogs, etcetera. We’re assembling the ultimate orchestral blog roll – and we need your help. Simply comment on this article, and we’ll make a note of your recommendation. Thanks!

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly Newsletter, What are you readingComments Off

Montréal, nous t’aimons

Montréal, nous t’aimons

Between Sunday, May 27 and Tuesday, May 29, over ninety people representing Canadian orchestras from St. John’s NF to Nanaimo BC gathered in Montréal for Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada’s national orchestra meetings – 48 hours of concentrated learning, peer exchange and artistic appreciation. The event was co-hosted by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management at HEC Montréal, and – between the generosity and formidable resources of our hosts, the hospitality shown to us by the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres de Québec (CALQ) and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal, the consistently high standard of the presentations, the transparency and power of the OSM’s sound in the new Maison symphonique, the generosity of our partners in government, corporate sponsors, and foundation and individual donors, the sheer fascination exerted by our host city, and the reliable joy of once again sharing the air with true colleagues – a splendid time was had by all.

Many of the sessions were recorded, and over the coming weeks, OC’s summer student Mike Romaniak will be editing the recordings, synching them to the PowerPoint slides, and posting them on OC’s YouTube channel. We’ll keep you up to date on the latest!

While many, many people went beyond the call of duty in making all of this possible, Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada particularly wants to recognize:

The team at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal – Mmes Madeleine Careau and Melanie La Couture, and – of course – Maestro Kent Nagano, whose presentation to the group on Tuesday morning was a highlight

The faculty and staff of the Chair in Arts Management at HEC Montréal, with particular thanks to Francois Colbert, Holder of the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management, who generously supported our quest to partner with HEC Montréal on the conference, and Dr. Wendy Reid, who invested untold hours to ensure that our program was rich in intellectual content, that we heard about HEC faculty’s latest research on relevant topics, and that our dealings with the school were pleasant in all ways.

Our guest speakers: Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research; Dr. Robert Flanagan, professor of Labour Economics at Stanford University; Bob Fraser, bass trombonist of the Victoria Symphony and secretary of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians; Stephen Huddart, CEO of the J.W. McConnell Foundation; Robert Sirman, director of the Canada Council for the Arts; Maestro Kent Nagano; Kelly Rice of CBC Radio; and breakout session guests Denise Ball, Robert Rowat and Steve Pratt from CBC; Frédéric Massé, Heenan Blaikie, Labour and Employment Law Group; and Cossette Communications.

Members of our group who led or facilitated break-out sessions for their peers: Trudy Schroeder, Erika Beatty, Vicki Young, Leanne Davis, Mitchell Krieger, Marie-Anne Perreault, Elizabeth Aman-Hume.

Volunteers from HEC Montréal, who assisted with everything from package stuffing to registration to note taking.

A particular feature this year was a parallel gathering for education and community engagement staff of Canadian orchestras, made possible by a visionary foundation partner. This intrepid group met for a day and a half for a program that explored such topics as diverse audiences, using technology to further orchestra’s music education programs, collaborations and partnerships, evaluation, and network development. This part of the program was designed and facilitated by Dr. Diana Dansereau, Assistant Professor of Music Education at Boston University, and it featured guests from a range of artistic disciplines. In the coming weeks, we’ll be working through some of the implications of the meeting, including the all-important work of building on the nascent network that started so well in Montréal.

Finally, a word of thanks to the funders and sponsors who made it all possible:

Canada Council for the Arts
Department of Canadian Heritage
An anonymous foundation donor
Great West Life – London Life – Canada Life
Dr. George Freundlich
Coffee break sponsors: Agence Station Bleue, L’Arsenal à Musique, Cowan Insurance, Domoney Artists Management, Long and McQuade

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly NewsletterComments Off

Orchestras Canada’s National Meetings

Orchestras Canada’s National Meetings

We’re hard at work putting final touches on the program for BOTH components of Orchestras Canada’s national meetings, taking place in Montreal in late May. Component #1 is the meeting of CEOs, which runs from May 27-29; component #2 – made possible by a visionary foundation partner – is designed for education and community engagement staff of member orchestras, and takes place May 28 and 29.

The meetings are co-hosted by the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal and HEC Montreal. Program highlights include presentations by Dr. Robert Flanagan of Stanford University, Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research, Robert Sirman of the Canada Council for the Arts, key faculty at HEC Montreal, Stephen Huddart of the J.W. McConnell Foundation, Phillip Bravo of Carnegie Hall’s Link-Up National and International program, Dr. Ann Patteson of Queen’s University and the Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through the Arts program – and, as a particular highlight, a session with Maestro Kent Nagano, with CBC host/producer Kelly Rice. We’ll get a behind the scenes tour of the Maison symphonique with acoustician Tateo Nakajima. And there’s more!

To view the agenda for the CEOs meeting, please click here.
To view the agenda for the Education/community engagement meeting, please click here.

Two matters of some urgency:

While we’ll be taking registrations right up to a week before the meetings, the deadline for booking hotel rooms at the Hyatt Regency Montreal at our negotiated rate of $137/night is today – April 25. To get more information and to book on-line, please visit orchestrascanada.org.

Tickets for our highlight concert, the sold-out performance by the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal on Monday, May 28, are in very short supply – and we’re distributing them on a first come, first served basis to meeting registrants. Register on-line today, to avoid disappointment.

Posted in Orchestra News, Weekly NewsletterComments Off

Follow Us on Twitter