Page 32 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Playing a musical instrument helps boost academic results
 Pupils look on the bright side of life
Pupils from Sibford School, Oxfordshire, looked on the bright side of life for their 2018 school production ... and performed the Monty Python hit musical ‘Spamalot’.
A riotous comedy full of mis t knights, killer rabbits, musical monks and ferocious Frenchmen, the Sibford production played to delighted audiences over three nights.
Director and Head of Drama, Neil Madden, said: “The cast worked their socks off, giving up their evenings and weekends to put on a very professional production. I was extremely impressed with how easily the pupils entered the world of Monty Python and it was a joy to witness their con dence soar with each performance. It is humbling to work with such talented children”.
Spectacular ballet production
Just as Imperial Vienna is the elegant home of the waltz, so  n de siècle Paris conjures up visions of the dancers and cafés so memorably captured by the French impressionists. In their Farlington School, Sussex, production of Gaité Parisienne the de Braam Ballet Academy transported packed audiences to the raf sh streets and studios of Montmartre, providing romance, exuberance and vitality in spectacular fashion. Natalie van de Braam’s direction and original choreography enabled the talented troupe of 45 dancers to showcase awesome balletic skills – not least some exhilarating double pirouettes – as well as superb ensemble co-ordination and empathy.
Many studies have shown that music education can in uence the course of brain development and have an effect on children’s abilities in non-musical
tasks such as language and mathematical skills.
New research, led by Daniel Müllensiefen, a music psychologist at Goldsmiths (University of London), aims
to uncover the social and psychological processes that result in those effects. Beginning in 2015 and initially centered on Queen Anne’s School, Berkshire, the project now includes schools from other parts of Britain as well as schools in Germany.
As well as musical ability and academic results, the team sought to measure other traits and abilities in students, such
as intelligence, personality, their sense of school belonging and their view of their own personal strength and capabilities. Researchers went back to the school each year and the same students sat 20 tests and questionnaires, including three musical listening tests, an IQ test and a personality test.
Almost 180 girls aged 11 to
17 sat the tests, which were then compared with their academic results and whether they viewed their abilities as innate or changeable. The study found evidence to suggest that different aspects of capability and personality were inseparably linked – from musical ability, to conscientiousness, to academic performance.
The research suggests that music lessons help boost academic results by convincing children of their own intelligence and their natural ability to learn and acquire new skills. As a result, teenagers who are high achievers in music are
more aware that learning requires time and effort – but crucially that the time and effort pay off. This then has a positive impact on their school work.
In contrast, children who took fewer music lessons or did not learn music at all were inclined to have a more defeatist attitude, not believing they were capable of performing – and as a result, made slower academic progress.
Learning to play a musical instrument gives an immense sense of achievement that helps children and adults accomplish more in other areas of life.
Key  ndings include:
Music helps you connect. Music can improve your social life and children who become involved
in a musical group or orchestra learn important life skills such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team, leadership skills and discipline.
Choosing to take music lessons can help build con dence. Once you are aware that you are able to do something well – such as playing the piano – you naturally become more con dent of your skills and of your ability to acquire new ones.
Daily practice helps a musician learn how to play. Years of regular practice and daily musical exercises are necessary to reach
a level to master dif cult pieces; this daily routine helps teach patience and discipline.
Learning to play a musical instrument makes you use both parts of your brain and this in turn boosts memory power and stimulates your creativity.
Last but not least, learning to play a musical instrument is FUN! Music lifts the spirit and simply makes life more enjoyable.
 This year’s Learn to Play weekend (17-18 March) sees the Yamaha  agship music store in Wardour Street, London give hundreds of free taster music lessons, as do many other venues up and down the country.
www.wherecanwego.com to  nd venues near you
www.musicforall.org.uk/learntoplayday for more details
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