Why we need Music in Offices
My name is Tessa Marchington and I am a pianist.
I set up Music In Offices in 2006 after graduating from The Royal Academy of Music. I’m neither medical, nor a scientist but I am passionate about music and passionate about working with people. I believe in bringing people together and that ‘in times like these’ this is an essential and very human need.
I am currently developing a deeper understanding of what I am achieving with Music In Offices by reading on neuroscience and by using my own experiences as a petri dish to test some of these theories. The science provides a certain logic and rigour to my studies and in the main confirms, in biological language, all that I have witnessed with my clients.
Some background first. For most of us, music begins in the womb. Alexander La Monte at Keele University demonstrated that in the final three months of gestation, whatever our mothers listen to, be it classical, jazz, rock or pop, we, as babies, form a special attachment to this particular music.
For me it was predominantly classical music that I heard in the womb as my mother was regularly playing the piano, as teacher and performer. I began piano lessons aged four, and have always felt a strong sense of comfort and calm when playing the piano, and really feel able to communicate more easily through music.
At the same age as beginning piano lessons I had speech therapy to correct a slight impediment I had from heart surgery undergone in my early months. I needed speech therapy due to a ‘trauma’ to the brain – an effect of the heart surgery. I strongly feel that music acted as a medicine through this process.
I recently found out that doctors didn’t think I would live past the age of 14 years old, and that the severity of the surgery led to anxious looks at every day events. At school sports days, for example, after collapsing over the finishing line at the end of races, there would be looks between my parents and the head mistress as if to ask – ‘Is this a complete collapse or just an exhausted one?’
Studies have shown cardiovascular benefits of music are significant, and the sheer joy I got from listening and playing music I believe cured my heart. The pleasure one gets from music causes tissue in the inner lining of blood vessels to dilate thereby increasing blood flow. Bringing this effect of music into an office environment through singing in a choir or playing an instrument delivers a physical health benefit, among many others.
I’m also very interested in the power music has to develop confidence, as I have witnessed with our work over the past ten years, as well as its positive effect on stimulating the brain’s development and its impact on leadership development. I’ll be looking at these more closely in my next article.
As we see the arts being marginalised now at all levels, from education to mainstream funding, it would seem more important than ever to harness this fantastic potential music holds which helps us become healthier, more confident, better versions of ourselves.