Bill's Musical Notes
A spin-off from the Newent Orchestra's main activities that has taken shape over the last year or two has been the creation of smaller groups that are now meeting on a regular basis. I note that the latest may stem from a recent 'holiday' meeting that members of our cello section organised for themselves. This follows on nicely from the regular Pauntly Strings group, occasional woodwind meetings, the monthly Music Appreciation Group (NOMAG), Newent Classical Brass and, of particular interest to me, a trio in which I have been playing at one or two local homes for the elderly and disabled. Long may these extra-curricular activities continue.
I've learned a lot from the trio's activities, particularly in gaining performance experience. To be able to play for an entirely uncritical audience removes a lot of the pressure that creates nerves and enables focusing on playing and communicating. Conversely, however, when you perform it is essential to feel that an audience is responding and in a classical environment this usually means that they sit quietly while you play, then applaud, at least politely, when you finish. For the trio neither of these necessarily applies and that can be disconcerting.
In these circumstances, you learn that even to evoke a small response from a person suffering from dementia can be an indication of the power and effect that music has. Quite literally it has the ability to take a fractured personality and make it whole again. Listeners with quite advanced stages of mental degeneration can become animated, self aware and can remember the music we are playing that they may have heard many years before. We've played sessions that we call 'Memory Music' to great effect.
This experience, amongst others, was why a couple of years ago I set off on a musical expedition to find out more about how the way classical music is appreciated has changed over the years and how it is changing rapidly today as we learn through research on the brain how the it responds to music. This project became a bit of an obsession and has resulted in a book, Ramblings About Music and the Mind, or, simply, About Music. It's an exploration of the borders between the art and science of music.
I'd like your help with the next stage: if you think you might be interested in the content, which ranges free and wide from music in Ancient Greece to the contemporary music technologies of today, there is a synopsis at www.billanderton.uk. There is also a short questionnaire with the synopsis to provide me with some valuable feedback. I'd be grateful if you can take a few minutes and email this to me.
Bill Anderton, July, 2015
Find out more about Bill's work:
The Final Score - book
Exploring the powerful effects of music and features the Newent Orchestra. Read more or even purchase at billanderton.uk
Alchemy in Music - CD
The CD, "Alchemy in Music", composed and produced by Bill.
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