Music and Medicine - ONLINE CLASS

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Taught by Kristy Barbacane

Kristy Barbacane received her Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from Columbia University and has taught at Barnard College and Fordham and Columbia Universities.  Her research interests include nineteenth-century France, music in Algeria and its diaspora, and the relationship between colonialism and music. Kristy spends her spare time playing flute, running in Central Park, and searching for the best patisserie in the city.

This is an old class! Check out the current classes, or sign up for our mailing list to see if we'll offer this one again.

*This class will meet virtually via Zoom. Download the Zoom desktop/mobile app in advance at and the meeting link will be sent the day before the talk.*

Throughout history, societies have used music as a way to cope with depression, disease, illness, and anxiety. Physicians and healthcare workers use music to help with multiple sclerosis, autism, and Alzheimer’s.Outside of the clinical setting, music’s therapeutic abilities are harnessed through Spotify playlists that cater to our various moods and beta wave soundtracks that aim to strengthen our focus and creativity.

This class will take a look at the ways music has served as a panacea to cope with illness and the ways disease and public health have influenced and shaped the development of musical genres and styles, including Medieval children's songs, operas and sickness, musicals that address public health crises, and yogic sound baths. We will also take a look at the science behind music therapy and the healing capabilities of music and song. The class will conclude with a short music performance to calm and ground you.  

Cancellation policy