Can you remember the first health leaflet you ever read? No. What about the first record you bought? Music appeals to people in a way 'sensible advice' doesn't

Pop Music 

 
There are a plenty existing songs that can be taken off the shelf and used for health purposes. I explain how to access some of them below. However another option is to write parody lyrics to existing songs. The song here was written in response to the coronavirus and itself went viral. 

 Pop music and health
Music has the advantage of being heard and not read. Therefore if your target group has literacy problems, music may be one way round this. Pop songs also work on both the head and the  heart. This allows health workers opportunities to influence or discuss people's feelings around an issue as well as the logical facts.

There is a rich back catalogue of already existing songs on a range of health topics. These include sexual issues, emotional health, resilience, community cohesion and the wider determinants of health. You can find examples in my Spotify playlists. 

If you do not already have a Spotify account it is both easy and fast to create one. They ask for very few details. It is also possible to create a free account. Spotify is at https://www.spotify.com/uk/
 
Once you have joined look for the search button on the web version or the search bar on the top left of the desktop app. In this search box, type spotify:user:inspirationjukebox. Your friend's profile will then appear in the main window. Click on the Follow button. You will then be able to hear my playlists.

The first 60 playlists tie-in with chapters in my guide/discussion paper on using pop songs in health education. After that they are on topics such as self-esteem, stress, resilience and community.


Use music to reach key small groups and a wider audience
Pop songs for health could be used at live events such as health fairs, consultations and council carnivals. Its purpose would be to attract attention and engage people. Health workers could then take it from there. Alternatively CDs could be given out with local health service publications or songs be made available to download or stream.

Health worker pop stars
Professionals musicians could be used to perform music to people. However another alternative is to use the talents of local people and staff. 15.5 million people in the UK say that they would like to learn to play a musical instrument. In fact 21% of the population already do. Specially recruited health workers or local volunteers may both be viable options. In any case music will always need some follow up if it is to be successful. 

Make public health appear more relevant
Music may do more than just attract people's attention and help you engage with them. It may also brand health services as being more approachable and relevant. It may also attract the local media, particularly radio and television.

(For references click here and links click here.)

To read my 2014 discussion paper and guide around using pop music lyrics as a health tool click here or for a summary here 

To read an account of the topics covered on this page in the relevant chapter from my report on edutainment for health purposes click here

To download the whole 180 page report on using popular culture to tackle health  inequalities click here

To download a booklet about emotional health and music click here

To download an example of a hypothetical viral email advertising campaign around music click here

To download the PDF software to be able to view these files click here