Last night I joined hundreds of students on the stage of the Anvil in Basingstoke for a gala concert celebrating London 2012, put on by King Edward VI School in Southampton. I have been their musician in residence for that past few months, and it was an incredible honour to perform with them – the highlight was the piece that we devised together, much of it in a tricky 7/4 meter, all performed from memory with fantastic rhythmic drive, dynamic range and exuberant energy! It was exactly the kind of night that keeps me involved in education: it’s as exciting as playing a concerto, to see the expressions on young faces, taut with concentration, achieving to the best of their abilities and thrilled to be learning new things – it’s deeply fulfilling. I remember Leonard Bernstein saying in his last few years alive that he wanted to devote all his remaining time to education – he had the bug too.
Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it is calculating.