Wednesday 27 March 2013

Don't Get Stuck With The Triangle!

Article by Alice Rees

Music has been a part of human culture since the first time a caveman hit another caveman on the head with a stick and noticed the noise that it made. In fact, while researching this article I thought it would be impressive to include a figure of just how many bands/musicians there are in the world. The most accurate answer Google was able to provide me with amounts to "there are as many bands as a piece of string is long". There’s always some famous band or another splitting up, only to have an emotional reunion the next week. The same goes for smaller, less famous bands, and even the totally unknown bands which play in their parents' basement and get stage-fright when the cat slinks into the room.

The scope and range of benefits of music to humans is both vast and well documented: at least some of you are bound to have heard of the slightly incongruous 'Mozart Effect'. However when you look beyond listening to music and deeper into creating it, the advantages increase to another level entirely. There are numerous studies out there which show clear links between learning, early development, scholastic performance and playing an instrument; it also relieves stress and promotes personal discipline. Playing an instrument is also hugely rewarding, socially. I'm sure everyone knew some kid in school who could play the guitar/piano/whatever and have fellow students and teachers eating out of their hand.

I could go on, but I think you get the point - playing an instrument is almost always beneficial. It's no wonder that 82% of people who don’t play an instrument wish that they could. If you didn't have access to music education as a child, it's unlikely you'll play anything as an adult  -75% of people who play an instrument started learning before they were eleven. The question I present to you is; why? What’s stopping you from taking lessons in the evening, or over the weekend? If you’re still in school or university, you could even schedule music lessons in between lectures, or during lunch breaks. No matter where you are in the UK, there’s someone nearby who can help you learn whatever instrument you choose. Want to play the oboe in Oxford, or the clarinet in Clitheroe? What about the harp in Hampshire?

Thanks to the invention of a little thing called the internet (you might have heard of it), finding a music teacher and arranging lessons could not be easier. There's a website out there, which is free to use (though they do offer a few 'premium' services for a small fee) and is 100% dedicated to helping people connect to music teachers across the UK. “aims to support musicians in every aspect of education and performance”. With roots stretching as far back as 1999, the site has an impressively large database of music teachers, loads of links to other websites relevant to musicians, and a whole pile of free music resources for both teachers and learners, ranging from simple rhythm flashcards for toddlers, all the way up to musicology resources for post-graduates, and loads of resources for teachers.

The team behind is really committed to music in Britain. They are in partnership with the Musician’s Union, they support the Musician’s Benevolent Fund (50p from every paid transaction goes directly to them), and have created the extremely useful video series, 'The Art of Teaching', which aims to teach musicians how to teach music, and incorporates the most modern, up-to-date pedagogy.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who already plays an instrument, why not inspire minds, and start teaching others how to play? You can sign up with for free, in less time than it takes to put an ad in the Yellow Pages, and wait for the students to come to you.

If you’re part of that 82% who wish they could play an instrument – don’t wish, do.

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