This study aimed to evaluate the effects of Chinese five-element music therapy on nursing students with depressed mood. We randomly assigned 71 nursing students from Taiwan with depressed mood to the music and control groups. The music group (n = 31) received Chinese five-element music therapy, whereas the participants in the control group (n = 40) maintained their routine lifestyles with no music therapy. All of the participants were assessed using the Depression Mood Self-Report Inventory for Adolescence, and their salivary cortisol levels were measured. The study found that there was a significant reduction in depression between the pre- and posttherapy test scores and in salivary cortisol levels over time in the music group. After receiving the music therapy, the nursing students' depression levels were significantly reduced (P = 0.038) compared with the control group (P < 0.001). These results indicate that the Chinese five-element music therapy has the potential to reduce the level of depression in nursing students with depressed mood.