Usually, my newsletter articles reflect on the recent events at school. This week I would like to turn your attention to the immediate future. Our concert, ‘A Little Night Music’, is being held at the school from 6:00 pm this Saturday 16th June. This annual event has run for many years now and is one of our Creative and Performing Arts Department’s keystone events. The range and depth of our student performances grows each year and I am very much looking forward to this evening.
This year ‘A little Night Music’ will see a number of new ensembles from both the Primary and High School. These performances have been prepared under the leadership of Mrs Arielle Shenouda, who has been teaching music in the Primary School and Mr Matthew Cartwright our new music teacher in the High School. We will enjoy performances from the new High School choir, along with individual and small ensembles displaying the individual dedication of our students who have been practicing over extended periods at home. Our school’s instrumental music tutors will also be performing with our students and ensembles.
Music plays an immense role in our lives. It is an extension of our own creativity and a reflection of the creative character of our God and maker. God has given us music for our own pleasure and, also, as a means of glorifying Him through our compositions and performances. We listen to music for relaxation or motivation. In movies, the music sets the tone and sends unspoken signals to set the mood for what we are watching.
Because music can be so effective in communicating, for those who study music, it is not unlike studying a language. Music needs to be interpreted from the written score as a code and translated into physical movement, which results in sound. These sounds need to be coordinated in a way to match the written notation on the page.
For those who are well skilled in music, fluency leads to ability to interpret subtle written material into information that conveys many messages. Learning an instrument requires dedication, patience and attention to detail, accuracy acquisition, memory skills and speed in both fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Playing in an ensemble develops communication between members, requiring individuals to trust that each person will play their part and work together as a whole.
Learning an instrument provides even more. Music engages our brains in ways that many other activities do not. This TED-Ed animation describes how playing a musical instrument benefits your brain. Neuroscientists have used medical imagining equipment to identify the areas of the brain that are active when playing a musical instrument.
This research has also found an increase in the physical size of the connecting regions of the brain. While a clear causal link is not necessarily present to enable us to state that playing a musical instrument raises academic achievement, there is a strong correlation between those who are involved in learning a musical instrument and those gaining higher levels of achievement. This is on top of all the benefits I’ve listed above, plus a great sense of achievement and pleasure gained from dedication to this type of learning.
So firstly, I’d like to encourage you to come along this Saturday night and enjoy the music our students are making in Primary and High School. Secondly, I’d encourage everyone to bring more music into your lives, even if all you are playing is the stereo. But better still, consider the benefits and take up learning a musical instrument.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
In His service,