Monthly Archives: August 2016

Music!The anthem to the world!

Why is it that just one piece of music can have such an affect on us?This question I ask myself this morning and subsequently it becomes the subject of my blog post today,deserves an answer.Because music has the power to affect us to our emotional core,we often find ourselves being supported by it in a very profound way.For example,why when I think of stormy conditions to I think of a violin concerto by Sibelius,or when I think of a sad event on the news I think of the slow movement from Beethovens 7th symphony in F .

To put more flesh on this,I have spoken to many people over the years who are affected by music,and who find it an emotional companion in good times,and in bad.Even when life is carrying on as life does,we often have music on in the background.When we do the housework,or just dos me paperwork,the radio might be on and the tunes that emanate from this device carry us through the day as it were,taking us by the hand emotionally.

At the Olympic Games when the national anthem is played for the winning country,it tends to stir me,producing feelings that I can’t readily put into words.Now,I know that I’m not on my own in this state,it’s just that I have the luxury of thinking about it some more.In my thoughts,I realise that the interrelationships of the harmonies fuse with my consciousness,producing a warm glow of contentment that I dnt experience from that many things.

If I were to dwell on certain pieces of music,for example,”The Raindrop Prelude”,by Chopin,I would say that it just has that affect of massaging my soul.Although there are passages of great intensity and dynamic strength,its core affect to me is one of calm.That anther human being could have such sensitivity so as to compose music that literally takes me away from the hum drum of my existence is indeed a sublime gift.

Having been lucky enough to have a bit of talent for music,I get that certain pieces after us,but I also get that we don’t really need to know why,but we should never resist these pieces of music.You know,some people say that they don’t listen to certain pieces of music,because those tunes make them cry.To me,that’s sad,because the process of drying is good for us,and the safe nature of music means that it will always be a constant .This is vital as I see it,and people need that safety valve in their life,because we don’t know what they are coping with just what life is throwing at them,but music doesn’t judge ,it doesn’t expect,it isn’t self righteous.Music through its very abstract nature plots a varied course according to the co diet ions of the recipients heart.

So,what pice of music gets you?Is it a classical piece?Could it be a contemporary tune?Maybe it’s a folk song,or a country and Western piece.Whatever genre it is,that really isn’t the main issue you know.

Over the years,I’ve listened to thousands of hours of music of all genres,and I can honestly say that I’m still being affected by it,still fed by it.Also,I know people who are just as affected my music as me,but who are not profoundly knowledgeable about it,and they don’t need to be either.Really,what counts is what you get out of it,and what I get out of it.Too often,people feel duty bound to follow the polemics of critics rather than their own gut feelings.yes,music by its sheer range and complexity requires the support of experts,but not the control of experts as that takes away the motivation for listening to it in the first place.

As I can honestly say that it’s true in my case that the tunes in listen to might change,there are pieces that I return to time and time again.They are my emotional home,and the refuge for my soul.When the storm winds of this life batter and bruise us,we can take so much solace from music as it feeds our soul,and enables us to carry on in this thing we call life.

Right now,I have the opening bars of the Jupiter symphony by Mozart as it lifts me,and feeds me with positive emotions.Mozart has always achieved that for me from a child when I was introduced to his music by a teacher.Now,50 years later,I am still introducing music to pupils,still encouraging them,still encouraging as many as I can to be fed emotionally my music.You see,the expressive arts has no religion,no race,no intellect,no social status,just emotions that invite us to be touched,massaged,and cajoled gently to ride on its river of dreams.

Please give music a go today if you can.

Thank you.


Because I’m quite nosey to be honest,or more so than I might have realised,recently,I have noticed visitors to the business opposite to where I live.The people there run a florist and landscape enterprise.They are really pleasant people and they have been known to take in parcels for us when I haven’t been in the house because of my teaching.

One day,while I had just finished some early morning exercise,I glanced across the way and noticed a woman coming out with what was a beautiful arrangement of flowers.Her face was concentrated -as if she had a precious cargo-but she looked pleased,very pleased.As the morning progressed,and I got on with my stuff and endeavoured to make sense of a Beethoven sonata that had some difficult phrases,my mind went back to the image of the lady with her floral arrangement.As I thought some more about her and those flowers,I realised just what affect flowers can have on us all.As is my want when I’m in thought,my mind returned to earlier events in my life,and this was no exception.You see,as a teenager,I would spend so much time rehearsing music at the church where I was the organist.Often times,this would be after school,and I would be there on my own.Although  I didn’t mind that,it would be far better to practise when the verger was there,or when the flowers were being arranged for the Eucharist.Those times I remember well,and I remember the flower ladies in the church with affection,and that thought came to my mind when I looked across to the lady coming out of the house opposite with her precious cargo.

You see,flowers are like people,when they are arranged well,given space,given food in the form of water,then they flourish,they just are beautiful.So ,just like flowers,we humans need to be dignified ,treated well and not pushed about ,not assaulted.The ladies at the church carefully prepared the flowers that would be placed at the Altar and it was their gift so to speak,but their real gift was that after they had finished,they would listen to me stumble over a Bach prelude and Fugue and pronounce just how good it was,and how well I could play.

So,I would see those wonderful colours in those flowers,and smell the scents,and my playing would then be oh so much better to me.

So,we are all flowers really,we are all delicate,fragile,and we all need attention,but loving attention .
Thank you for allowing me to indulge in my memory for today.

“With a little love and affection ….”!

“I’d be very uncomfortable if all my songs were about me.I always say you must be a very big-headed person to write everything that you write about yourself.”

Naturally shy,but open to persuasion-The reticence that led some unsympathetic journalists to use the nickname Joan Armourplating might well have prevented her talent from reaching a wider audience,but she was blessed not only wth that mellifluous,honest voice,but also a string of talented producers ( Glyn Johns,Steve Lillywhite) and session men  (Clarence Clemons,Georgie Fame and Sly and Robbie) who helped spread the word.

Self -taught on piano and acoustic guitar,her two early albums-including a duo recording wth Pam Nestor,which was marketed under Armatrading’s -failed to spark,until Johns’ touch on the 1976 album Joan Armatradng delivered her career start -up and stand -out track ‘Love and Affection’.Tougher on ‘Me Myself I’,rockier on ‘Walking under ladders’.

Joan’s lyrics always hit home with plenty of melancholy,but little self-pity.Usually disappearing back to songwriting after each album release,her career ,to many,has plateaued,but in my lining,she has remained delightfully constant .

She remains a true songwriter in the best tradition of the title.Sje is a giant in music.


Joan Armatrading’s 1976,

Show someEmotion 1977,

Me Myself I 1980.

From the sound of the Village….!

As the cars appear to race past my front door,as if escaping from some post -apocalyptic carnage,I wonder if my ears are playing tricks on me.Its like as if they are alerting me to something ,but I don’t know what.You see,where I have lived since 1988 has seen a proliferation in traffic from a steady trickle of commuters in a reasonable sized village,to wat feels like a dormitory town now.

Now,this is flattering to this Dorset idyll,as it shows me that this is a great place to live,but my ears ,and the perception of my brain tell me that this time of the morning is quite frantic.As I have always been acutely sensitive to sound,I put it down to me,and I remember finding London a total culture shock in the 1970s.You see,I had been used to Cornish life with its extremely slow pace,and its peculiar obsessions with other people’s lives.So,moving to an environment where people are always busy waking their way isn’t always an easy thing.

So,in the time that I have been writing,the stream of traffic has subsided,the sound has diminished,the tranquil nature of this place has returned to its pre 7 o’clock status,and the world is ,at least for me,peaceful.

My mind moves on to those who have past my door,just what sort of people are they?Do they have similar stresses and strains ,desires,needs and ambitions,Well,there could well be similarities,as is the case with all humans,however,there will be things that mark them out as different,and their minds might well be thinking of different things.

I would like to think that they like our town here in Dorset because it has wonderful forests that almost encircle it,making it a wonderful place to walk,to cycle,to bring children up.Yes,that’s what I think,and I also think that people do care for their environment,that they love their children and that they care for their neighbour.That,to me at least,is a wonderful thing,and something worth being proud of.

So,all you commuters,I’m a tad sensitive about traffic noise,and I’m a bit weird about sound that isn’t organised ,or doesn’t have a pulse,but I like having you all as part of our community here in Dorset.So come home safe tonight,what you,have a good day at work,the weekend is coming,and there is much to do and see around here.

After the Rain!

After the Rain,after the downpour,after the heavens have been drained of their dew,

These streams running down the road,these water drops spill their lubricant food.

From where I am,rain has been a constant,dressing the Earth’s green carpet to inject it with Emeralds,

My eyes have lit up ,my Ears have inclined to the sounds of these dancing raindrops,

I played “The Raindrop Prelude “just now,I let its dew percolate to the depths of my soul.

When music and dew tears mesh together they form a life giving emotional cocktail,

As I played and heard the raindrop upon the slates,so to,my tears secreted from my tear ducks.

Though tears can sometimes signal loss,pain and suffering,these were tears of joy and hope,

That there is much good in our Earth,and if we keep hoping then the good in all of us will prevail.

So after the rain,after the downpour came serenity,bliss,contentment,a renaissance.