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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Health Benefits of Music for Adults with Down Syndrome

May 2023 | Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

We hear regularly about the importance of music in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome who come to our clinic. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, Grease, High School Musical, and Mamma Mia! are but a few of the favorites. Music can be enjoyable as well as beneficial to the health of individuals with and without Down syndrome. Music can be used clinically as well as more informally to promote health.

Music therapy

Music therapy is an established health profession. It is the clinical use of music within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals (American Music Therapy Association opens in new window). Music therapy may be a beneficial form of therapy, especially for those who do not communicate verbally or have difficulty expressing themselves.

Music and Alzheimer's disease

Music therapy and music in general can help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the potential benefits opens in new window include helping individuals recall memories, improving cognition, and reducing agitation and anxiety. The Alzheimer’s Association website opens in new window provides tips for selecting music for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. While we could not find information specific to Down syndrome, many families have shared that music has helped their loved ones with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.

Music and mental wellness

Music can be used as a coping mechanism to improve our mood, decrease stress, and help us calm down. In our social skills groups for adults with Down syndrome, participants frequently share that they listen to music when they feel sad, stressed, or angry.

Music and physical activity

Turn on an upbeat song and you can’t help but start dancing, which is a fun and equipment-free form of physical activity. Listening to music while exercising also has physical and psychological benefits opens in new window, including increasing our pace or the length of time we exercise, fighting boredom, and distracting us from pain and fatigue.

These are just a few of the many health benefits of music. Additional health benefits of music are discussed on the National Institutes of Health website opens in new window. Has music been beneficial for a person with Down syndrome in your life? 


Additional Resources

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia 

Exercise and Physical Activity 

Healthy Lifestyle 

Mental Health 


Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

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Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.