The Magical Powers of Classical Music
In this fast paced world we live in that seems to be getting more and more hectic, we are bombarded with advice to prioritise some self care to help re-charge our batteries and de-frazzle.
This can mean different things to different people, from putting away the iPad, stepping away from the laptop and our social media feeds, a hot bath, a catch up with a friend, or our favourite magazine.
Mindfulness and mediation apps aim to help us de-clutter our brains to try and achieve a whole new level of calm, but could the thing that really helps us achieve a blissful zen like state actually have been around hundreds of years? Classical music or even simply orchestral music if you prefer, as well as sounding out of this world beautiful, could have magical powers all of its own.
The thought that composers such as Mozart could create their beautiful music all in their heads without the help of modern day computer programmes to assist them might very well blow your brain, but taking the time to sit and listen to their creations is the very thing that will calm it.
So if the crescendos and diminuendos of classical music are helping us all unwind…, what could it be doing for our children? The answer, it seems is a lot.
I spoke to top Psychologist and Broadcaster, Emma Kenny, who told me that “Music isn’t simply something that is nice to listen to, it’s a form of connection that can change the way we feel. It has long been known that the brain responds acutely to musical stimulation and this is why children can benefit from musical experiences. Classical music has been proven to relax children stimulating their minds positively allowing them to escape to the realms of their imagination, the very place that creativity is borne.”
Personally, singing has been my life, I feel very lucky that singing is also my profession. I made chart history with my first album ‘Stars Are Rising’ by becoming the first independent artist to reach No.1 in the Official Classical Chart with a debut album. Making that debut was an experience which helped me see the true blissful effect music has on people, as wonderful fans across the globe took the time to share with me not only the joy they had listening to it but also how, where and when they were listening. Some in the car, some whilst working, some even in bed, but all found very relaxing and enjoyable! This was then the first learning I took from that album to help me prepare for number 2. With that feedback and the scientific confirmation that it's a developmental aid for children, I was ready to plan for my sophomore record.
‘The Rhythm of Life' is A concept album where each track represents an hour in the day of the life of a child. We recorded it in London’s famous Angel Studios with The Arts Symphonic Orchestra. I wanted to create a musical adventure for the whole family, and as one of the songs on the album says, "I'd like to teach the world to sing", I am therefore striving to achieve that, a bonus would be if children want to get involved and sing too.
Teaming up with Kids TV legend Andy Day as a special guest on the album seemed like the perfect fit, duetting with Andy’s favourite song of all time ’Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ from Mary Poppins, Andy told me ‘it’s so important to inspire all kinds of music to our young audience”
Animator Gary Andrews brought all the tracks life for me with a lovingly drawn doodle for each of the songs and Britain's Got Talent mega star Paul Potts also features on the album. Paul feels that "Music is a very powerful medium that transcends borders, class, language and time"
Music is the back drop of our lives, it can bring memories back to life transporting us to a moment in time, and I feel with this album being able to shape a family memory is really so special. One of my earliest musical memories is sitting in the back of my parents' car, listening to "Sparky's Magic Piano" on the radio, loving the music and daydreaming what was happening in the story. Whenever I hear a vocoder now, which sadly is much less these days unless ELO comes up on my playlist, I am instantly transported into the back of my Dad's Silver Austin Metro with it's wind down windows, rickety gear stick and the sound of laughter on a fun day out.
Making it a habit to have Classical music on around the house, or on car journeys as part of your everyday life will switch something on inside your child whilst unleashing their imaginations to the max. If as a result, a child then wants to learn a musical instrument or start singing at the top of their lungs then gold stars all round.
Let’s remember to point out music to children when they are enjoying classical music without even realising it; maybe it’s in the background of a film they are enjoying or even a beautiful composition that ends up on a video game they can't put down (thanks Mario).
So when we are next confronted with a frazzled anxious child, take a deep breath, crank up Scala Radio, Classic FM or even BBC Radio 3 and trust in the magic of music.
‘The Rhythm of Life’ released in time for Mother Day on March 22nd.