A Practical Perspective

The Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute (YMWI) is a non-profit organization with a unique purpose— to scientifically explore and share the benefits of creative musical expression as an effective wellness strategy. Based upon a solid foundation of published scientific studies led by YMWI President and CEO Barry Bittman, MD, YMWI is committed to reestablishing active music participation as a healthy lifestyle strategy.  

With a focus on research and education, YMWI is the only organization in the world specifically dedicated to developing and evaluating novel recreational music making strategies. YMWI's ultimate goal is to enable individuals of all ages, regardless of prior experience, to discover the joy and personal benefits of playing a musical instrument.  

To underscore the need of this endeavor, it is important to realize that the negative impact of stress on individuals, communities and society as a whole is rising. From a practical perspective, rational solutions are not in sight. Despite widespread communications technologies such as email and the internet, people today tend to be more distanced from one another.  

Such was not the case in generations past when creative musical expression served as one of the principal foundations of families and communities.   Yet less than 7% of Americans over the age of 18 actually play a musical instrument today.  YMWI supports the notion that as a society, we are in need of healing, a process that has been described as "putting back into one's life what is missing."  Perhaps that healing element is creative musical expression.

Accordingto Karl T. Bruhn, YMWI Board Chairman and acknowledged Father of the Music Making & WellnessMovement, "Recreational Music Making (RMM) is an effective, enjoyable stress-reduction strategy within every person's reach regardless of personal challenge. RMM ultimately affords unparalleled creative expression that unites our bodies, minds and spirits."  The term, recreational, is derived from the Latin word, "recreatio," signifying "restoration to health."

According to Dr. Bittman, "wellness can best be achieved by inspiring, motivating and enabling individuals to take an active and meaningful role in their own health and well-being. While exercise and nutritional strategies abound, few meaningful effective choices are available in the realm of stress-reduction for improving quality of life."

RMM precisely fills this need. Encompassing a wide range of non-threatening, enjoyable active music-making strategies based upon credible scientific research, RMM offers unique sustainable opportunities for people regardless of prior musical experience.

The Institute is presently engaged in an exciting array of research programs that extend from children to seniors.  Utilizing creative musical expression as an effective lifestyle tool, YMWI is striving to keep adolescents off the streets by enabling self-respect, responsibility, leadership and a vision for a brighter future.  For individuals and their families facing the challenges of cancer, RMM is now becoming integrated into conventional whole person healthcare to reduce the impact of stress, build emotional support and facilitate the journey beyond one of life's greatest challenges.   For the first time RMM is being studied in adults with heart disease.   This groundbreaking research is exploring the impact of creative musical expression on the single molecule level— DNA, the blueprint of life.

Ultimately YMWI is convinced that playing a musical instrument is a healthy lifestyle strategy. However to change societal perception, research is needed to reestablish what is being lost. The Institute is committed to performing credible scientific studies and conducting ongoing engaging educational activities for the purpose of fostering a renewed societal understanding of the value of creative musical expression.