Senior Head's Blog: Felsted Inspires

We are extremely fortunate at Felsted to have such an active and inspiring Music Department, and we have seen the very best of that in the last week.  On Friday last week, we hosted the Felsted Musician of the Year competition, featuring over 80 performances from a wide range of musicians, culminating in an incredible 'Finalists' Concert' in the evening.  The standard of performance was really inspiring, while the support shown to the competitors was also really good to see.  Then, on Sunday evening, the Senior Choir sang at the Evensong Service at St Mary's, Bocking.  The quality was again remarkable and the music was incredibly uplifting.  Tomorrow evening, we will be hosting another concert, with the enigmatically named 'Noise' starting in the BKA at 7pm. I am not quite sure what to expect from this at the moment, but I am sure that it will be another great event.

Music is something that gives many people great pleasure, and whether it is classical or popular, modern or traditional, the impact of music has repeatedly been shown to have a positive impact on learning.  For example, if you look at an article like this (https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/music-education/music-makes-students-better-reading-maths/) you can immediately see the impact that music can have on our ability to learn, retain information and increase brain capacity.  Interestingly, some studies suggest that the genre of music is not that important, so even if the sounds don't suit you, that doesn't mean that they are negative for someone else!

One of the areas that has really caught my interest is the impact of music on those suffering with dementia, and the way in which music can recapture memories seemingly long lost and even reinvigorate a mind that appears to be disappearing further and further into darkness.  You might remember this remarkable report from BBC News, shown to the world back in October 2020, and the response that it drew from Paul Harvey, the man suffering with dementia, who composed this piece of music. I have to warn you that it is very emotional.

 If you have a little more time, there is an incredible documentary from 2014 called Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, which again shows the power of music.  When you put together a playlist, it might be more than something to listen to now, and it could be a really important way of reconnecting with your past.  



 

At Felsted, Music is everywhere, and it is no surprise that the House Singing Competition (or House Shout) is one of the most memorable experiences for many of our students.  The favourite hymns that we sing together in the chapel are more than a collection of notes and words and create a cohesive community and shared experience for all of us.  When we start Music lessons, we probably don't think about the long term impact that it might have on us, but whether a performer, or a listener, Music can provide a special soundtrack to our lives.  I would urge everyone at Felsted to take up every opportunity to listen to some of the incredible musicians that we are lucky to have here and to make the most of the special work that is done by our Music Department.

Now, I look forward to the Noise tomorrow night.

Chris Townsend,
Head