This randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of live music on quality of life and depression in 47 older people with dementia using the Dementia Quality of Life and Geriatric Depression Scale. The control/reading group reported higher mid-point feelings of belonging than the music group (F(1, 45) = 6.672, p < .05). Sub-alyses of = 50 per cent music session attendance found improvements in self-esteem over time (F(2, 46) = 4.471, p < .05). Participants with scores that were suggestive of increased depressive symptoms had fewer depressive symptoms over time (F(2, 22) = 8.129, p < .01). Findings suggest music and reading activities can improve self-esteem, belonging and depression in some older people with dementia.