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A calming concerto is lined up for passengers
9:20pm Sunday 27th January 2013 in News
Orchestras should play in airport terminals to make passengers less worried about flying, a Brighton academic has suggested.
Harry Witchel from Brighton and Sussex Medical School said listening to music has positive emotional and physical effects on the body.
Dr Witchel, the author of music psychology book You Are What You Hear, spoke out after learning about a partnership between the London Philhar- monic Orchestra and Heathrow.
He said music could profoundly affect people’s emotions as well as physically.
Heathrow has announced it is partnering with the orchestra to give its 70 million passengers a musical send off throughout this year.
Research has shown that 25 per cent of airline passengers feel nervous before a flight Despite 48 per cent of people surveyed saying listening to music helps them to relax, only eight per cent remember to bring music with them to calm their nerves before travelling.
Staff at the airport felt that as music was so clearly a chance to promote relaxation, they were missing out on a good opportunity.
Dr Witchel, who is regularly called in as an expert on TV and radio, said the body is influenced by different kinds of music and has demonstrated this with a series of experiments.
He said: “In my research, I have shown how some music makes us joyous, while other music makes us sad, angry, or anxious, and how this affects the body at a visceral level.
“As music in everyday life is associated with increased levels of happiness, it makes sense to apply this to departures at airports, given the wonderful opportunity of having the orchestra there for worried travellers.”
The London Philharmonic performed at Heathrow during the 2012 London Olympics and now a number of ensembles from the orchestra, including a 20-player ensemble and a string quintet, will perform for key celebration dates throughout 2013, including during the Chelsea Flower Show.