School children with hymn books and music

Music to my ears

No doubt you read in the TES this week about the benefits that music offers to young people’s mental health. I was drummed out of the school choir as a young boy by a gap year student-teacher with a huge Adam’s apple who thought I was taking the micky when I sang. Admittedly, I wasn’t trying that hard, because all my friends were out playing football and I didn’t want to stay behind to sing descants; but I do wonder now whether I missed a trick.

The pressures faced by young people today have been well highlighted, not least by our two royal princes and their work with the Heads Together charity. But there is a curious omission from the Government’s latest Green Paper on Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) that you probably spotted, namely music. Keen to get out and play footie or not, there is plenty of evidence to support Dr Robert Myers’s view that “Having a little bit of music in your life every day can be good for reducing stress and anxiety. Research and experience has shown that calming music can provide stress relief for children and adults.” And if this has a knock-on effect on pupil performance in the classroom – one school recently attributed greatly improved SATs results to its decision to introduce 6 hours of music per week for all pupils – then, everyone’s a winner.

The daily singing of hymns in chapel was for centuries unchallenged at the heart of our education system in Britain. Morale boosting, team building, creativity nurturing, aerobic exercise that got teenagers out of bed in the morning… now who ever thought that was a bad idea? We made a little video about it a year or so ago, and looking back, it’s quite jolly. And of course, now that I spend most of my time working with schools on the commissioning and editing of school hymn books, anything that proves the value of this daily (or at least weekly) ritual is music to my ears. Although, if ever there was an occupational hazard to avoid, it is the incessant humming of well known, and even lesser known, hymn tunes at all times of the day and night. And had I been more receptive to ‘he of the Adam’s apple’, this might be a more tuneful experience for those within earshot.

We’d love to help you put singing back at the heart of your school.

Read more about our hymnbooks here

Are you thinking about commissioning a hymn book, song, service or prayer book in the next two years? If you are NOW is the time to start planning. Contact us to arrange a visit to help you plan and develop your project, telephone 01983 761389 or email info@gresham-books.co.uk

You may find this post helpful Commissioning a hymn book

 

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