Healing through Music - Music as life companion for wellbeing throughout the lifespan


Institutional Communication Service

21 November 2022

Research into music psychology has highlighted the marked effects of listening to music on a sense of well-being, quality of life and emotions. This lesson offers an overview of the importance of listening to music and its role in health and well-being throughout life. A wide range of evidence suggests that singing lullabies during pregnancy can strengthen the bond between mother and child. Music can help adolescents build personal and social identity, promoting self-control, self-expression and participation in the community. Adults often listen to music in everyday life to regulate emotions and psycho-physiological functions. In difficult situations, like the Covid-19 pandemic, many people found music a resource for coping with and managing isolation. Music also continues to offer valuable support for better health in old age.


  • Liila Taruffi, researcher at Durham University (UK)


  • Paolo Paolantonio, musician and researcher at Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana


  • Cristiana Sessa, USI professor and head of the Gynaecological Cancer Department


Liila Taruffi

After her PhD in Music Psychology and Neuroscience at Freie Universität in Berlin, Liila held various research and teaching positions at a range of international institutions. Her research combines psychology, neuroscience and aesthetics, focusing on music's ability to influence emotions and inner mental states, like mind-wandering and visual mental imagery.


Paolo Paolantonio

Paolo is a musician and researcher with a PhD in Performance Science from the Royal College of Music in London. In 2021 he won the call for case studies launched at the Swiss Forum "Culture and Health: Alliance for a Sustainable Future" promoted by IBSA Foundation and the City of Lugano’s Cultural Department. In the same year, the programme "Music and Words in the elderly home", which he developed and heads, was included as a best practice in the "Arts and Culture in every care home?" report published by the Baring Foundation (UK)


Cristiana Sessa

She completed her specialisation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Verona in 1983, obtained a Diploma in Palliative Medicine at the University of Wales in 1991 and a Diploma in Advanced Studies in Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel in 2015. From 1997 to 2017, she was head of clinical research and deputy director of the Italian Swiss Oncology Institute. In 2021, she was appointed full professor at USI.


Music programme

Auriga for piano and live electronics –2022 - Danilo Gervasoni (1987*)
Performed by: Bruna Di Virgilio (piano) and Danilo Gervasoni (live electronics)


Find the complete course programme here