The UK government's Department for Children, Schools & Families announced in September a national year of music, to celebrate and show case the music of under-18s from all over the UK. The celebration is linked with some exciting new research findings which, thanks to technological improvements in brain research, have provided new, empirical evidence that learning and making music benefits us in all kinds of ways. The research, published by Prof Susan Hallam, of the Institute of Education at London University, cites a range of benefits and enhancements, including:
improved concentration, enhanced creativity, better memory, determination, self-esteem, social skills, life skills and confidence
I was a deathly shy, introverted and timid child and began learning the piano when I was about 5 and basically played to myself, my teachers and my family. When I began to take part in school concerts and put bands together in my early teens at Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School in Sidcup, Kent, I learned how to communicate with greater confidence. Later on, when playing in bands, I discovered that it was helpful if a spoke to the audience every so often, to tell them about the music. Public speaking was a major challenge for me but music taught me how to do it.
In later life I suddenly realised that the way in which I'd learnt music is almost totally transferable to learning other things. I'd learnt that if you practise something in the right way you can't help getting better at it. I've applied this musical process to a range of things, including graphic design, web design, sailing, photography and using various software. I don't think this would have happened if I weren't a musician.
Let's celebrate what music has done for us in 'Tune In - Year of Music'.
Tell us briefly your own story here, about how music has changed your life. Tell us your age, where you're from and your story. If you also copy your comments you've made here and email them to us, headed 'Year of Music prize draw' with your name, email, phone number, town and occupation we'll enter you into a free prize draw for a signed Yamaha guitar, which will be drawn in March 2010! (UK residents only.)