The Power of Music

Have you ever found yourself singing along to a song you haven’t heard in years? Do you have a particular piece that reminds you of someone? Is there a tune that transports you back to a specific place or moment?  Have you ever watched a film without the sound?

For me, the moment I hear the first few beats of Chris Rea’s ‘Espresso Logic’ I can feel the heat of the sun and the breeze coming across the turquoise sea in Cyprus. There’s a particular moment in Meat Loaf’s ‘Couldn’t Have Said It Better’ that reminds me of my brother – he’s the only one that heard the sshhh! Beethoven’s 9th Symphony got me through many hours of revision at university and Newton Faulkner’s ‘People Should Smile More’ always makes think of summers spent in Bude.

Music is much more than just a form of entertainment. It has a unique and extraordinary power to evoke particular places, people and moments. It is a powerful yet often understated tool that affects us deeply and at various levels – emotionally, intellectually, physically. It can give us pleasure, cause us pain, give us energy, soothe us, find ourselves if we are ‘Lost’ and enable us to retreat into a private world with ‘A Head Full of Dreams’.

Exeter Cathedral School is unrivalled for its history and heritage, and we are proud that the legacy of our School continues to make waves on the world stage through the influence of some of our most notable recent musical alumni including Chris Martin, Coldplay and David Webb, English National Opera. (Some of you may spot the subtle link to perhaps our most famous alumni – to date!)

There is plenty of research to show that music has health benefits and can ‘Fix You’ both mentally and physically. A quick online search offers a range of evidence that people coping with Parkinson’s can learn to walk more easily when rhythms assist their gait, that autistic children find social interactions become easier when accompanied by music and that less anesthetic is required when music is played to spinal surgery patients.

Last week, we held our first whole Prep School concert in the Cathedral in two years – and it was absolutely fantastic! There were whoops and cheers from the audience and pupils alike and there was a palpable excitement that we were once again able to perform to a live audience – and in such a fantastic venue too.

Music and music-making is at the heart of Exeter Cathedral School; it is in our walls and in our blood. We promote ‘music for all’ while providing high-calibre training and opportunities for our most gifted elite musicians and choristers. All our pupils are in a choir and there are numerous groups that rehearse throughout the week including: Flutopia, U-can-lele, Guitarmadillos, Rhythm Stix and School of Rock.

Whether you listen to jazz, classical, pop, opera, country, folk, rap, rock…the list could go on…the universal language of music can improve our communication, social bonding, teamwork, attraction, and has a deep hold in our memories.

And on that note (!), it’s 19h03 – for my much younger self that meant bath time and: dum, di, dum, di, dum, di dum…



Miss Katharine Pearce

PA to the Headmaster

Communications & Admissions Manager

3 December 2021
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