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Capturing the magic: A three-way dialogue on the impact of music on people and societyCamlin, Dave; Caulfield, Laura; Perkins, Rosie (Intellect, 2020-05-18)This article sets out a dialogue on the impact of music on people and society. The perspectives of three researchers, from different experiential and methodological backgrounds, are presented. The article explores: how we define concepts of impact; how we seek to measure the impact of engaging with music, providing examples from our own recent work; and tensions in attempting to capture or measure the ‘magic’ of music, including how to meet the needs of different audiences and how to develop new ways to capture impact. The authors reflect on the political climate in which music interventions operate, including the need to ask different questions at different times for different audiences, concluding that it is vital to measure both whether there is any impact, how this impact was achieved, and people’s experiences of engaging with music. We found consensus about the need to move evidence forwards through both the use of arts-based creative methods that focus on the music-making process itself as well as through collaborations that bring together varied perspectives, experiences, disciplines and research methods. We also argue that – as there is considerable evidence about the impact of music, on different people, in different ways and in different settings – researchers should now aim to take stock of the evidence base. Finally, we posit that there is merit in engaging with a reflective dialogue like the one presented here, as a tool to help challenge, disrupt and influence our own thinking.