The Brexit saga continues but, as I write this, there is sadly nothing new to report, so I am going to give this column a welcome break from the EU debate and touch on something lighter.
Last Saturday was “Learn to Play” day run by the Music for All charity which encourages people up and down the country to try a musical instrument and take a taster lesson. I was never much good at music at school but have always somewhat regretted not learning to play an instrument. Last week I visited Pool Academy and one of their students was playing a piece of music on the piano. She was incredibly talented and clearly had a natural vocation for music. I am always impressed by those who can play instruments as if it were a second nature.
I think that learning to play the piano or another instrument is similar to learning a language. It can develop parts of the mind and is therefore an important element of a child’s learning and this fact is often overlooked in education. There is a problem that music departments in schools are often quite variable and usually depend on there being one individual who has a passion and is able to share that passion. I also think that the focus on academic subjects can sometimes squeeze out time for pursuits such as music. It is not just something that can be of benefit to young people. Although learning anything is obviously easier at a young age, for those in later life who have spare time and want to keep their brain active, learning to play an instrument can be a worthwhile and enjoyable new challenge.
In our area, we are of course blessed with many talented town bands. The Camborne Youth Band under the leadership of Alan Pope have done incredibly well in recent years and have been invited to play at events in Belgium to commemorate the First World War. We also have many others who are regularly seen at events around our towns, especially at Christmas or the annual Remembrance Sunday parades. We have a wealth of choirs too which is another deep part of our Cornish heritage.
For those with an interest in Music, we are lucky in Camborne to have Trevada Music on Chapel Street which is the leading music store in Cornwall. I visited in Saturday and met Dan Higgins, their manager, who had a passion for his work. The range of music instruments they had on offer was extraordinary and I was surprised to hear that they also run regular lessons in a range of instruments. They had a busy day with many taster lessons offered on the piano, the guitar, trumpet and drums. While I was there one seven year old boy had decided to try every instrument he could to see what he liked the most. I think the drums won.