Welcome back everyone! We hope you all had a lovely Summer and feel rested and ready to get back to lessons. We’re really pleased to have begun our phased reopening of The Music Place and reintroduced fortnightly face-to-face tuition. Although we’re excited to welcome back at least some level of normality, I’m sure we’d all agree that so far, 2020 has been a bit (a lot) of a disaster. Coronavirus (boooo) has totally shaken our way of life and, for most of us, the last few months have been hard.

We couldn’t help but notice, that as the world struggled through lockdown, it also found a way to come together through music. In March, people quarantining in Italy began singing and playing music from their balconies. Orchestras, choirs and bands started releasing uplifting home-recordings, celebrities streamed concerts and got involved in novelty songs, and people started to learn instruments online. At The Music Place, we received uplifting home-recordings every day of lockdown (!) to share on our social media pages, we were joined every week by our choir and Vibrant Voices members keen to continue singing together online, and our staff came together to create our Music Place Megaband rendition of ‘Put a Little love in your heart’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meWirvImQgg) We’ve also welcomed a number of new students from all around the world who have taken up an instrument and are now enjoying online lessons with us. It really seems that we’ve turned to music more than ever to help us through.

Multiple studies have proven the power of music in improving mood, reducing stress, lessening anxiety and easing pain. Listening to music works on the autonomic nervous system, responsible for regulating blood pressure and pulse, as well as the limbic system, responsible for emotion. It has long been demonstrated that listening to music produces the same effect as gambling and eating yummy food in that it causes the brain to release the pleasure chemical, dopamine. So it makes sense during a crisis like the covid-19 pandemic, when we’re stressed or worried or a little bit stir crazy, that we would turn to music.

But it’s the emotional and social effects of music that really seem to be keeping the blues at bay; Oxford University recently released an article entitled “Covid 19 bears out the research: Music brings people together” in which they interviewed Professor Clarke, an expert on the psychology of music, “It’s very striking that, from early on in this serious phase, people have felt moved or motivated make music. Music is a collective experience which can overcome physical distance, since one of the advantages of the auditory domain is that physical distance doesn’t necessarily impede social togetherness…. Research shows that this does make people feel better and closer to others…When you sing with others, in particular, there is a palpable sense of social solidarity.” So, it’s agreed…music is magic, the clever people say so.

Have a lovely week everyone!