The mOare, the merrier

The mini mOare Festival is currently teasing us with the promise of a weekend of events at The Anchor Inn, Faversham, on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September.

The organisers are holding their cards close to their chest in not revealing what’s coming up, but tickets have now gone on sale online here.

Keep up with the Festival on its Facebook page here, and keep an eye out closer to the time for full details.

The Faversham Hop Festival will also be taking place at the start of September, too; preview to follow – it’s all happening in Faversham this September!


Group music good for children, study shows

Researchers from Cambridge University have found that participating in weekly music sessions improves empathetic skills in youg children, a report in the BBC reveals.

Those children who took part in weekly musical activities were better able to recognise emotions in others than children who did not.

The research was led by author Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, who said:

“Musical interaction may enhance a capacity for emotional empathy … Music might be a tool, a really nice welcoming medium for enhancing the mechanism for empathy in children.”

Read more on the findings here.

Music for a Summer’s Day

There’s a range of musical events taking place up at the University of Kent next week, in a five-day festival celebrating the end of the academic year.

Summer Music starts Wednesday 6 June with a free lunchtime concert from some of the Music Scholars at the Gulbenkian Theatre; later in the evening the Big Band Gala will include special guests, the Simon Bates Quartet.

Thursday lunchtime sees the Sirocco Ensemble and Brass Group in a free lunchtime concert on the University Labyrinth, overlooking the city; bring a picnic!

On Friday, two choirs present a concert at St Mildred’s Church, Canterbury, in praise of the Virgin Mary, whilst the University Music Theatre Society tell us ‘There’s No Business Like Show-Business!’ at the Gulbenkian Theatre on Saturday night.

The festival concludes on Sunday 10 June in the annual Music Society summer afternoon concert, complete with cream teas, flag-waving to rousing Elgar, and balloons!

Visit the What’s On page for all the details; something for everyone.

Festival of contemporary music in Canterbury: Sounds New starts this Friday

Canterbury’s very own festival of contemporary music, Sounds New, bursts into life starting this Friday, on 4 May.

Theme GB‘Theme GB’ celebrates the best of British music and musicians, with a range of renowned national and international performers, including the London Sinfonietta and the King’s Singers, performing a feast of new music at various venues in and around Canterbury until Tuesday 15 May.

For jazz enthusiasts, British jazz giant Julian Joseph will be appearing at the Gulbenkian Theatre, as will the BBC Big Band together with Norma Winstone and Mike Gibbs.

There’s a host of free events for children, including Worldwide Mothers’ Day celebrations at the Gulbenkian on Sunday 13 May, with free art, music, dance, drama and more throughout the day. A range of educational concerts, ‘All for One,’ will introduce new music and extended instrumental techniques to children across a series of three events. Other free events include lunchtime concerts, a poetry workshop, and more.

Children under the age of sixteen can attend any concert absolutely free (provided they are accompanied by a paying adult); a chance for young people to engage with new music, and perhaps be inspired to become the performers, composers and audiences of tomorrow!

Full details about the festival on the Sounds New website here.

Music to your ears…

Ofsted report damns one in five schools as ‘inadequate for music’

A new report from Ofsted declares that a fifth of schools is providing an inadequate music education.

A damning report, as indicated yesterday in Music Teacher magazine,  also states that there is not enough emphasis on practical music-making in sessions, and that there is a ‘scarcity of good vocal work in secondary schools.’

Amidst a litany of depressing statements, detailing the failures and short-comings Inspectors found in their assesment of music in schools across the country,  one terse fact rings out:

Too often, inspectors simply did not see enough music in music lessons.

Read the report in full here.

Music for a Summer’s Day: Classic Opera at the Village Hall

Sunday 3 July, 4.30pm

Music for a Summer's Day
Click to enlarge

Featuring mezzo-soprano Michelle Harris and pianist Daniel Harding, together with soprano Julie Gray, Master of Ceremonies Adrian Gray and guests, Classic Opera  presents Music for a Summer’s Day, a programme of popular favourites from operatic and oratorio repertoire, and musical theatre songs.

The concert will be followed by al fresco refreshments on the playing fields: bring a picnic and relax on the grass after the performance.

Tickets £2, family tickets £5, from the Exchange Cafe on Fridays or contact the Forum.

Music: a secret of longer-lasting youth ?

As reported in The Telegraph yesterday, musical training may help keep you young!

Music logo
Image credit: Holden Leadership Centre

Researchers claim that musical performers have active memories and intact hearing for longer, as the ability to process and discern sounscapes and deal in patterns, a feature of musicianship, develops the faculties associated with such activities; they should be – as one of the researchers says –  ”sharpened” (no pun intended, I think…!).

The study co-author Dr Nina Kraus, at Northwestern University, in Chicago, said: “Lifelong musical training appears to confer advantages in at least two important functions known to decline with age – memory and the ability to hear speech in noise.”

The writer also claims the findings give additional support to the benefit of musical training giving a knock-on effect in a greater learning ability in the classroom.

Click here to read further.

Singing to your child is beneficial, says research

A new book published by a consultant in neuro-developmental education reveals the benefits of singing to your child every day.

Singing traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes to babies and infants before they learn to speak, is “an essential precursor to later educational success and emotional wellbeing”, argues Blythe in a book [The Genius of Natural Childhood]. “Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry the ‘signature’ melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child’s ear, voice and brain for language.”

Singing to, and with, your child, can improve their ability to communicate, and moves away from too much emphasis on numeracy and literacy.

Read more in the review in today’s Guardian on-line here.