Implications of music in modern medicine 



Adjunctive therapy, Burnout, Health humanities, Music, Music therapy


Though rarely a stand-alone treatment, music’s ability as an adjunct to standard treatment in increasing the quality of life has been acknowledged for decades. At first glance, the role of music in medicine may seem amorphous; however, with advancements in science, our understanding of the physiology and neurochemistry of music in relation to the human brain has expanded. Listening to and playing music involves an intriguing combination of virtually every human cognitive function. Music’s inherent ability to evoke emotions is the rationale behind music-induced goose-bumps and ‘chills of euphoria’. The psycho-neuro-endocrinology of music is a fascinating and growing field of research. In the last decade, there has been burgeoning clinical evidence on the measurable effects of music therapy over a broad spectrum of medical specialties including neurology, cardiology, psychiatry, and palliative oncology. Perhaps it is time for physicians to consider an evidence-based musical intervention as routine adjunctive therapy.


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Author Biography

Tara Rajendran, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu

Dr. Tara Rajendran, MBBS MFA, Physician-Musician, graduated out of the nation's one of the 6 'Institutes of Eminences' - 'Manipal Academy of Higher Education,’ standing as the top 1.2 percentile of undergraduate students in the country (Top 15 national finalists) for the world's most prestigious & expensive scholarships - The Rhodes scholarship '18 for her academic brilliance, outstanding extracurricular achievements, & leadership qualities. She was also the Oxford University DPhil Oncology program finalists '18. In 2020, ’LinktheDots’ named Tara as one of the '20 brilliant Indians in their 20s’. She is currently the leading advocate of inculcating music into the Indian palliative oncology infrastructure.

Dr. Rajendran's academic focus is hematological malignancies and instrumental music therapy in palliative Oncology. She has received various research grants, including the Indian Council of Medical Research-STS, and has presented posters & abstracts at the professional oncology platforms, such as the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and ASH. Dr. Rajendran was the youngest invited speaker at the 27th International Conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care. Tara is also the Co-PI of Music Therapy - Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) in the Oncology Department of Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore.

Tara was deemed as a child prodigy in the ’Saraswati Veena,’ the national instrument of India. She maintains an unrivaled record of playing her signature style, 'Tanam,' a Carnatic musical improvisation. Recipient of several accolades & merit scholarships in the 'Veena,' Tara has given multiple invited performances at prestigious national music festivals. Tara received the highest attainable award for Girl Guiding from the Hon. President of India in 2008 along with the proficiency badge, ’Musician’. Her first All India Radio (The national public radio broadcaster) broadcast was in 2010. She also holds a bachelor's and Master's degree in Veena. Currently

pursuing a Ph.D. in classical music (2019-2022) and her dissertation focuses on the evolution of the use of classical music in medicine.

Tara founded a self-initiative 1st lecture-concert series, ‘Oncology & Strings’ to advocate the importance of inculcating instrumental music therapy into India's Palliative cancer care infrastructure. Launched at the Stanford University campus, Tara at the young age of 25, was invited to deliver lecture concerts and keynote addresses at TEDx, Kasturba Medical College-Manipal, India's Premier cancer center since it's establishment - Tata Memorial Hospital (chief guest+Panel member), and many other platforms and prestigious international conferences. Alongside, Tara lends free MP3 'Veena' recitals to Palliative centers across India & the United States.


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How to Cite

Rajendran, T. (2021). Implications of music in modern medicine . Research and Humanities in Medical Education, 8, 98–102. Retrieved from