Saddened by the decline in music education and literacy in schools, I would like to highlight the extremely important role that music has played in my life.
In primary school, I learned to play the piano (to Grade 1), then in secondary school, I decided to learn to play the flute until I was 18 years old (to Grade 6) then unfortunately, when I went to university, I stopped playing the flute for about 20 years. Whilst at secondary school, I enjoyed participating in a choir and band, I just loved the community spirit of being in a group with like minded people. In primary school, I remember enjoying my music classes most of the time, especially singing and dancing along with my classmates. I also have lots of memories of me lying down in my room for hours on end listening and singing to music on my stereo system using records and cassettes (in the days of older technology) reading from the little lyric booklets that usually came along as a standard with cassettes I bought. Singing is so therapeutic, so much fun and great for your health – such a great way to destress and unwind.
Fast forward 20 years later, I have gotten so much more joy and value as an adult from having learnt to play an instrument at school, being introduced to both the flute, and the keyboard too. If I hadn’t learnt to play an instrument when I was younger, then it would have been very difficult to start to learn a new instrument now (though not impossible). Because of this, I can still bash out a decent tune to the music I love; fortunately, I hadn’t completely forgotten the notes and how to read sheet music. Initially, to get back to the level I was back then, I did have to work hard to remind myself of everything and teach myself for a while before I decided to get some weekly tutoring. Now my daughters are playing piano and I can help them out and listen to their playing to check they are playing the right notes, reading the music correctly, and sticking to the beat as it is written on the sheet music. I can even play along with the flute sometimes. Maybe one day we will form a family band…
Music of all types, whether listening, singing along, or playing an instrument, has in the past year especially been such an amazing growth mindset tool to help motivate me, lift my energy, make me come alive and feel good in myself, validate my feelings (there is a song for everything); it also helps me relax and unwind, and just allows me to characterise and remember who I am, what I stand for and what I want and deserve to achieve in life.