Learning to learn again

Tessa Marchington, Founder

Last week I was teaching a piano lesson and my student had rushed in from a meeting, out of breath and stressed out. Despite this he was still full of enthusiasm as this was the hour where he could shut the corporate world out and do something extraordinary. He’s a very accomplished piano player but also still so eager to learn and always makes time to for his lessons no matter how busy his day is. It’s important to him to have this outlet and to learn something new and completely different to what he does at work. He started his lesson stressed and slightly frantic, but by the end he was relaxed and focused. I asked him what he felt his lessons did for him and he said:

’They challenge me to think differently and genuinely learn which gives me a unique sense of achievement and enjoyment. It’s proper therapy, I leave with a renewed sense of purpose, ready to face anything.’ Chris Burvill, Investment Director, Henderson

It made me think how important it is for us all to keep learning and to do things that are different and challenging.

In today’s fast paced world we’re constantly consuming information, googling, reacting and adapting, but how many of us are really learning?

Carving out the time to learn a new skill, be it paino, carpentry, knitting, a new language, whatever it may be, takes an effort to prioritise and make time in our day to day routines.

At our end of term concerts, I never cease to be humbled and impressed by our pupils who have such busy lives yet still progress term by term on their instruments. As a child you are told to practice but as an adult it has to be an active decision that you dedicate time for.

The arts are often sidelined as an ‘extra’, as a luxury, but they are an absolute necessity. Our ‘harmonious employers’ who allow their employees to take time out of the day to learn an instrument or learn through singing together as a choir or learn an instrument have far more productive and happier environments.

As the recent #ImagineNation report from the Cultural Learning Alliance states, “participation in structured arts activities can increase cognitive abilities by 17%”.

“People who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health.”

Although the report is based on school children it mirrors what we stand for and believe in at Music in Offices – everyone can benefit from arts and culture. An office can be similar to school. We’re all at work as a means to an end, so why not enhance our experience, learn something new that can help us to develop transferable skills to do better in our everyday work lives.

Learning something new takes focus, concentration, encourages completion and the pursuit of perfection. To go deeper into a subject and carve out time to activate a different part of the brain to what you are used to (the right side, the creative side) brings an unparalleled sense of fulfilment.

Now, where is my ukulele…