This allows a fascinating symbiosis between inquiry and excellence, for which music provides the perfect environment, live performance.
No matter what the standard, ability, age or experience, all who perform exhibit the same characteristics. These include preparation, self-discipline, the ability to overcome fear and judgment, the confidence to present themselves and communicate with an audience and the resilience to bounce back after a setback. On top of all this, performers must be able to compromise and be open-minded about working with others. It is a humbling thought that all performers are on this universal journey.
By investing in music and understanding excellence in this one area, the characteristics needed to be able to succeed elsewhere are primed. Music can transform every individual’s life and with so many skills being transferable, this provides an individual with a healthy sense of self and a confidence that Bradfield’s ‘Education for Life’ promotes so strongly and which employers crave.
Studies have shown that these transferable skills can have a positive impact on academic performance. Opera North’s intensive education programme saw significant rises of up to 20% in their K2 SATs results with primary school participants enjoying three hours of musical activity per week during curriculum time. Due to the complexities of music, universities still consider it as an academic subject, even though it is also an Art.
Music also engages every area of the brain. The fine motor skills that are required in order to play an instrument help activate the corpus callosum, the passage between the left and right hemisphere of the brain, to increase its volume and activity. The emotional aspect of music also helps musicians in both academic and social settings, enabling an increase in executive function (planning, strategizing and attention to detail) as well as helping enhance memory recall.
Equally key to benefitting the social setting, ensembles, especially choirs, allow people to share a sense of unity and common purpose, as well as alleviating stress by lowering blood pressure. They also offer emotional and spiritual release. The uniting of human voices is incredibly special, with research suggesting heart beats begin to unify and become slower when singing together.