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'Opportunities for young people to experience the arts in a Covid-secure way will be crucial'

Harriet Clifford

Report highlights emotional benefits of live classical music for children

4:47, 16th February 2021

A new report published by music charity Apollo Music Projects (AMP) has found that children feel calm or relaxed listening to live classical music, regardless of the emotional content of the piece.

Through surveys and questionnaires following chamber orchestra workshops in 2018 and 2019 with 574 children aged 8-10, the report found that 82 per cent of children described positive feelings during a live performance of classical music.

Other key findings were that over 53 per cent of children felt calm or relaxed while listening, and over 70 per cent of teachers reported a development in children’s listening and concentration skills as a direct result of the AMP programme. 

Using responses to more targeted questions asked to a smaller sample, the study found that the calm or relaxed emotions felt by the children did not mirror the emotional content of the music they were listening to. 

The report reads: ‘We are very interested in the proposition that the children’s mood is not a direct response to the music alone, but to the activity as a whole: namely, the activity of listening.’

The charity works with schools in underprivileged parts of North and East London, covering areas in which over 27 per cent of primary pupils are eligible for free school meals*. 

Sixteen primary schools took part in this research, with teachers carrying out the surveys with their classes after the workshops. 

AMP also carried out facilitated feedback sessions with 1,103 children across 23 schools in 2019, finding that 68 percent said that they had been inspired to take up an instrument as a result of the programme. 

David Chernaik, CEO of Apollo Music Projects, said: ‘With the EBacc, schools have, in many cases in recent years, felt forced to choose between time spent on core subjects and the creative “nice-to-haves”.

‘The strong indications of our report are of a positive relationship between the practice of focused, active listening and wider emotional wellbeing. What is more, recognising and naming emotions, providing a different kind of creative outlet, are even more important for children during this crisis.’

‘Our work acknowledges the creativity, concentration and connection involved in the shared experience of live music. We risk our young people not having the chance to experience this in their most formative years, so while the safety of everyone is correctly being prioritised during the lockdown, in a post-vaccine world, giving opportunities for young people to experience the arts once more, in a Covid-secure way, will be crucial.’

The full report can be read here

www.apollomusicprojects.org 

*National average is 15.7 percent, while London average is 16.6 per cent.

 

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