9 April 2022

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News * Developments * Updates

Christmas is Coming.





Well, the good news is that we are now over half way through the four week lockdown. The bad news is that, when day light hours are this short, a week of lockdown can feel a mite longer than in does in May. Heigh ho.

We are so looking forward to December, in the hope that we will get to see everyone again in the weeks before Christmas. For your delight, we have a mini-tree in place and edibles ready to go!

In the meantime, hope you enjoy all those indoor activities – a good book, a family movie, maybe a game or jigsaw puzzle, and of course making music.

All our best, from Darrell Eileen Pip and team.

Lockdown II




10.11.20 – Darrell Priestley

Six days in to Lockdown II, and all systems are quietly humming. The transfer to online lessons has gone smoothly, and now we all simply need to keep doing what we’re doing.

Eileen and Darrell continue to work from our base at NMA, teaching remotely and also running our online retail business. Eileen will soon be doing a scaled back version of our Christmas decorations, with no real way of knowing if we will be seeing many of you before the Christmas holidays begin – but we certainly hope so, because although it’s only been a few days, we really miss you all coming through the door each week.

It’s fair to say that most of us are a lot more experienced with online lessons than we were back in April, so get set to make the most of the next few weeks until 2nd December and above all, remember it all goes a lot better when you practice regularly. 🙂

Lessons move online during lockdown





07.11.20 – Darrell Priestley

It’s all change once again, and as things stand we will now be closed for in-person lessons until Wednesday 2nd December. Please check back often, because any change will be updated here promptly.

For the remainder of the lockdown period, we will be offering online lessons throughout. The timetable doesn’t deviate from normal, unless your teacher should arrange a new time with you, so it’s pretty much business as usual. Most students now have at least some of their lessons online, so in practice there should be minimal change.

Although it’s sad that we won’t be seeing you in person during lockdown, and we have loved teaching in person since the music Acadaemy opened up again in September, we have done this before and we can do it again.

We miss you, but we are there for you online, and look forward to seeing you for live lessons once again as soon as we are allowed to do so.

Best wishes to all!

Music and Mental Health




23.10.20 – Darrell Priestley

There’s no doubt that living through present times is uncomfortable, and in terms of our emotional well-being, most of us are taking a bit of a pounding. If you are anything like me, you will probably have good days, and other days that you are pleased to put behind you. It’s odd how the usual day to day stuff can feel a bit of a strain.

If it all should sometimes get a bit much, it’s important to remember that it’s pretty much the same for any of us right now, but one thing more: you might actually be doing better than you think! I find I often tell the people close to me that under the circumstances, “we’re doing very well!” This happens almost daily, and it seems to work. I hope you will try it too, because it can really help, and I believe it pays to be positive about yourself whenever you can.

In the meantime, at least we have music, and how lucky we are in that! A 2011 study explored the link between music and mental health, and found that music releases dopamine, the feel good chemical in your brain*. The study found that dopamine levels were up to 9% higher when volunteers listened to music that they enjoyed. We might not usually think about it in scientific terms, but it’s perhaps unsurprising that this simple link between music and mood has been proven. At times like the present, we should not overlook the simple power of music to improve our mental wellbeing.

I find I now listen to music in greater detail than before, especially the tone of the instruments. Upbeat music can be a quick fix for the mood when you need that, but for a more long term boost to the system I look to classical music in particular. There’s something profound about the way that instruments and players come together to make beautiful acoustic and orchestral music that seems to help at a time when social distancing has temporarily become the norm. The gentle reminder that we can be more together than we are alone ironically seems to boost my reserves of patience, and help ease my mind.

If you are looking for something that makes you feel a little better about things in these difficult times, you could not do much better than to tune in to the therapeutic power of music, either listening to what you always enjoy, or even trying out new styles and artists. Happy Listening!

*Source: Mind.org.uk


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