Hospital Songs: How to Use Music to Bring Hope and Cheer

Hospitals are places where emotions run high. The complex tapestry of human experience inside a hospital on any given day can create a charged atmosphere.

When you think of the stress and fatigue experienced by healthcare workers and caregivers, you have the perfect recipe for an environment that isn’t conducive to either staff or patient wellbeing.

There are several thoughtful ways hospitals can create a soothing yet upbeat mood of positivity while being sensitive to the nuances of what is appropriate in a medical facility’s delicate space.

Many hospitals have chosen architecture and designed décor that is less institutional and more inviting and added amenities like family-friendly rooms, walking spaces, and hotel-style meal service for an appealing overall experience.

Besides, a carefully curated playlist of hospital songs is often an essential tool in boosting patients’ and personnel’s moods.

As we continue to endure the coronavirus, songs that inspire hope and happiness lift everyone’s spirits and position the hospital as a place of healing more than a hub of sickness.

Read on for ideas about using music to bring cheer to care units, public areas, and other hospital spaces.

stethoscope and a paper cutout of a heart shape

Good Health and Good Music

The benefits of music for both the mind and body are well-documented.

Researchers have found that listening to music triggers the release of several neurochemicals that regulate and control pain and anxiety, including dopamine and cortisol and serotonin, and other hormones related to immunity and the powerful natural pain reliever oxytocin.

When patients are less anxious and have limited pain, they heal faster and display better brain and heart health.

In addition to patients’ health benefits, the right music can also help doctors and other staff manage stress and fatigue and boost the overall workplace mood. Motivational music is used in many workplaces to enhance focus and improve morale.

Hospitals have also been using music during the coronavirus outbreak to encourage affirmation for the care staff marking patient milestones like removal from a respirator and discharge from the hospital.

Hospital playlists don’t necessarily have to include songs about hospitals or songs about coronavirus, however. Songs about healthcare may have a detrimental rather than beneficial effect, reminding staff and patients about struggles rather than celebrating wins.

Instead of virus songs, bright melodies with lyrics that focus on positivity and success should be the backbone of any hospital song playlist.

Beatles folder in a record shop

Uplifting Hospital Songs

Here are some song suggestions for appropriate tracks for a hospital setting and encourage good health and healing. Instead of featuring songs about viruses, your playlist should enhance the mood with relaxing yet upbeat selections like these:

1. Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles) - The ultimate ode to hope, this classic tune strikes the perfect balance between cheer and chill. Inspire while maintaining a calm atmosphere with one of the most beloved Beatles hits.

2. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley and The Wailers) - While you could probably pick any Bob Marley classic to serve as an uplifting yet calming soundtrack, Three Little Birds is special. It reminds us that happiness is a product of appreciating the simple things in life and having faith that things will get better.

3. Lean on Me (Bill Withers) - A stirring ode to friendship and community, this soul hit from 1972 never goes out of style. Rousing lyrics, a snappy handclap beat, and a familiar final chorus keep the song upbeat despite the moving message.

4. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey) - This rock anthem is a perennial favorite for its driving rhythm and motivating message. A cultural touchstone, the track has been covered in various TV shows and musicals and is a mainstay of inspirational playlists. The adrenaline-fueled guitar solos make this the perfect choice for a celebratory moment.

5. Eye of the Tiger (Survivor) - The theme song of the movie “Rocky III” and another famous rock anthem of the early 1980s. This musical journey through struggle and victory can stand in for songs about virus recovery without missing a beat.

6. Fight Song (Rachel Platten) - As the title suggests, this uplifting ballad celebrates perseverance in the face of what may seem like insurmountable obstacles. It has been featured in everything from TV shows and ads to political campaign events. Its heavy play hasn’t diluted the message, and it remains a top power ballad.

7. Beautiful Day (U2) - With the same hopeful message as “Here Comes the Sun” but a more driving rock sound, this hit from U2 is about finding joy in small details and embracing the positive in life—two messages: especially resonate in a healthcare setting.

8. Rise Up (Andra Day) - Arguably one of the most moving motivational songs of the past decade, this track was written by Day to help herself and a beloved friend through a difficult time. It continues to lend strength and hope to listeners today and is an ideal message for both patients and hospital staff.

9. I’ll Be There (Jackson 5) - Similar in tone and style to “Lean on Me,” this Motown classic from Michael Jackson’s early days (he was only 11 when he recorded the leading vocals) is a touching promise of love and support that translates well to a playlist of hospital songs.

10. Roar (Katy Perry) - To elevate mood and lend a spark to the atmosphere, this song about empowerment and perseverance recalls the lyrics of “Eye of the Tiger” and is equally energizing. When medical staff or recovering patients need an energetic boost, Perry’s iconic “Ro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ar” is just what the doctor ordered.

11. Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrel) -  This Motown classic is sure to get toes a-tappin’. Don’t judge others for singing along. It’s hard not to when this beloved catchy, upbeat love song can brighten any day. It is the ultimate reminder that love conquers all.

12. Uptown Funk (Bruno Mars) - Not all songs on a hospital playlist need to pack a motivational punch. With straightforwardly cheerful music, virus patients and others undergoing hospital stays reap the benefits of a simple burst of joyful energy.

13. Brave (Sara Bareilles) - Another inspiring celebration of the human spirit, this empowering song recognizes and demands ordinary acts of courage. A beautiful anthem for both staff and their patients is often compared to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” which was released the same year.

14. I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty) - One of Tom Petty’s most famous and enduring tracks, this low-key rock hit shares a message of determination and grit that has been a source of strength for thousands of fans over the years.

15. Happy (Pharrell Williams) - Like “Uptown Funk,” this uncomplicated song isn’t about motivational messages or moving lyrics. Instead, from its simple title to its vibrant final notes, “Happy” is an effervescent tune that will get fingers snapping and toes tapping.

Though hospital songs don’t necessarily have to be medical-themed, there are settings in which tongue-in-cheek doctor humor is an appropriate approach to lighten the atmosphere. If you’d like to sprinkle in a few tracks to elicit chuckles (or groans), consider these:

16. Bad Case of Lovin’ You (Robert Palmer) - It’s hard not to crack a smile (and sing along) to the famous refrain of “Doctor, doctor, give me the news…”. This is an excellent choice for a fun nod to the hospital theme that won’t offend.

17. Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees) - For a bit more edgy play on words, the disco hit from “Saturday Night Fever” can bring wry wit to your hospital playlist as a way to celebrate a win for medical teams or patients.

18. Doctor Feelgood (Aretha Franklin) - The Queen of Soul is still able to astound with her unparalleled talent fifty years after releasing this classic, which both lifts the spirit and hints playfully at the setting.

19. Fever (Peggy Lee) - A great playlist often includes music from several genres, so why not have a jazz number with a medical theme? The whimsical style and simple lyrics of this 1958 hit give it a light touch despite its subject matter.

20. Spoonful of Sugar (Julie Andrews) - Even kids will hum along to this Disney classic, making it a perfect family-friendly addition to your compilation of hospital songs.

Hospital Music Services

Creating a serene, cheerful hospital environment is fundamental to healthcare workers’ well-being and their treatment.

A thoughtfully curated playlist of mood-boosting and soothing songs can be one of many strategies your hospital or clinic uses to brighten the atmosphere, calm nerves and anxiety, and celebrate staff and patient milestones—especially during the tense times of coronavirus.

Cloud Cover Music provides various hospital music subscription services, so your healthcare facility can select the perfect mix of songs to enhance the space and promote physical and mental health.

With an extensive catalog of ad-free songs licensed for business use, streaming stations categorized by business, mood, or genre, and the option of combining stations and eliminating songs to create a customized mix, we offer maximum flexibility.

You can also take advantage of the Dayparting feature to schedule different songs by time of day, beginning the morning with upbeat tracks and winding down the evening with more mellow selections.

Contact us for more information about creating the ideal playlist of hospital songs with our music streaming services.


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