From 2005 to 2006 a professional orchestra (the Irish Chamber Orchestra) performed in a university teaching hospital with the aims of bringing live music to patients who could not access traditional concert venues and of improving quality of life for patients and staff. This was the first time an orchestra was resident in a hospital in the Republic of Ireland. An independent contemporaneous evaluation was carried out to assess the benefit of live music for patients. Live music in hospital was found to enhance the quality of the aesthetic environment of the hospital, with both patients and staff stating that listening to live music helped them to relax, feel happier and more positive. Patients' perception of the hospital was affected positively by live music in waiting areas. Music was found to have strong emotional effect and the individual preferences and experiences of patients need to be carefully taken into account when programming music in hospital. Listening to live music while in hospital has positive benefits with few negative effects.