The challenges of providing exemplary undergraduate nursing education cannot be underestimated in an era when burnout and negative mood states predictably lead to alarming rates of academic as well as career attrition. While the multi-dimensional nature of this complex issue has been extensively elucidated, few rational strategies exist to reverse a disheartening trend recognizable early in the educational process that subsequently threatens to undermine the future viability of quality healthcare. This controlled prospective crossover study examined the impact of a 6-session Recreational Music-making (RMM) protocol on burnout and mood dimensions as well as Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) in first year associate level nursing students. A total of 75 first year associate degree nursing students from Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) participated in a 6-session RMM protocol focusing on group support and stress reduction utilizing a specific group drumming protocol. Burnout and mood dimensions were assessed with the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Profile of Mood States respectively. Statistically significant reductions of multiple burnout and mood dimensions as well as TMD scores were noted. Potential annual cost savings for the typical associate degree nursing program (16,800 dollars) and acute care hospital (322,000 dollars) were projected by an independent economic analysis firm. A cost-effective 6-session RMM protocol reduces burnout and mood dimensions as well as TMD in associate degree nursing students.