Live shows are back! Attend a spaced-out concert—or crank the tunes at home—and savor the health perks.

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Little Big Town
Little Big Town at Ravinia Festival
| Credit: Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

"Listen to Music" might not appear on a doctor's prescription pad, but perhaps it should. "While I don't buy into the notion that music can cure anything, music has numerous health benefits," says Jillian Rogers, an assistant professor of musicology at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Chief among them is the potential to change mood—and that doesn't just mean cheering up. Music also allows some people to access and let go of painful feelings, which can be beneficial (as long as you're not stepping into those sad emotions too much, Rogers adds). Music has also been shown to improve concentration and focus, lower blood pressure, and bolster fitness performance.

So does it matter if you're listening at home or in person? That depends. When you're listening privately, you might feel more comfortable rocking out or expressing emotions. For many who thrive on community, though, nothing beats listening to live music, so vaccines and reopenings bring hope for concerts. (Check first to find out if mask and distancing rules are in place.) No matter where you listen, consider exploring a variety of tunes. "Exposing yourself to different kinds of music can open you to new cultures," says Rogers, "and help the world achieve greater social equality."

Great Outdoor Venues

RAVINIA FESTIVAL A fixture in Highland Park, Illinois, north of Chicago, Ravinia is the oldest outdoor music fest in the country. Pack a picnic for a night out when it reopens in July for a full slate of classical, popular and jazz music.

FOELLINGER THEATRE Concerts will start rocking at this big venue in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by the middle of July. Catch touring acts like REO Speedwagon, The Beach Boys and Kenny Cetera's Chicago Experience.

CHESTERFIELD AMPHITHEATER The concert season opened on April 18 for this popular venue outside St. Louis. This season's musical guests include Eli Young Band, Lucero and Trampled by Turtles.