Week 23 – Music is magic

Hello and welcome to Giving Tuesday – Week 23!

There’s something about the month of September… maybe it’s the ingrained habit of starting a new term, but don’t you often find yourself more inclined to learn something new in the Autumn?

Anyway, we’re hoping that our current series of “skill swaps” on Giving Tuesday is giving you plenty of ideas for new things to try.

This week, we’re looking at music – as a hobby, a skill and a career… because music is magic!

Music is good for you

Research has found that listening to music releases dopamine, the chemical in your brain known as the “feel good factor”. And, listening to music that you love releases almost 10% more of this chemical, which means music really does make you feel better! Have a listen to this radio interview, talking about how music improves mental health.

Listening to music while you work boosts your mood, improves your productivity and releases stress, meaning that you’ll get more out of your working day. If your workplace doesn’t currently allow music, why not ask your boss to hop onto the Gov.UK website and apply for a workplace licence?

Music also helps with physical health; it can help get you moving (who can resist dancing along when a great tune comes up on a playlist or on the radio?), and because that boosts endorphins and oxytocin (the two chemicals that make your body feel better) music improves how you feel physically.

Research has also found that music helps to improve memory: in the days before modern communication, travelling story tellers would use music to tell stories of human history. Read here about why music evokes powerful memories in us.

And charities, like Music and Memory, use music to help people with cognitive and physical conditions.

How music makes us feel

This week, for Giving Tuesday, we have been lucky enough to have some of our supporters talk about how music makes them feel.

First we have Ros, who teaches violin in Hertfordshire, and has inspired hundreds of local children with her excellent Music Train classes. In addition to working with Hertfordshire Music, Ros also teaches with the Dorothy Wells Foundation, a charity that helps children access music lessons. Check out their website here.

Next, we have John, who has travelled around the world teaching music. Now that he’s retired, John works with local choirs and musical theatre groups, rehearsing and performing all over Hertfordshire, and he composes too. John is an incredibly talented man, and his passion for music shines through everything he does.

John has spent his lockdown time arranging some of his favourite pieces of music. In this short clip, he talks about the meaning that music has in his life, and gives us a rendition of “What a wonderful world”. 

Finally, we have Hannah, who lives in Royston. Hannah is a professional singer, singing teacher and musical director.

She recently released a duet with singer John Galea called ‘Hero Within You’ which you can watch here.

Hannah also offers singing lessons to students of all ages and experience. If you’re interested in learning to sing, you can find out more info here.

During the stressful time of Coronavirus, it’s more important than ever that we connect with ourselves and our communities, and what better way to do it than through the gift of music.

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