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Art of Listening is back from Australia

In this blog post our Creative Learning Officer, Emma Hay, tells us about a trip to Australia to present the International Festival's Art of Listening workshops.


It may seem obvious, but it’s a point worth repeating: the role the arts plays in education is an important one. The arts can enrich your understanding of the world around you, increase emotional intelligence and enlightened thinking. But far beyond academics, they can encourage and develop skills and qualities that shape our lives, lifestyles and connect us with a greater sense of self. This principle sits at the core of the International Festival’s creative learning programmes.

Art of Listening at the Arts Learning FestivalIn May 2017, the International Festival was invited to deliver Art of Listening workshops to school groups and families at Independent Schools Victoria’s inaugural Arts Learning Festival, amongst a range of other activity, including dance workshops and visual art installations. Victoria, Australia is known there as the Education State (they even have it written on their car licence plates) and prides itself on offering excellence and equity across its education system – an ambition shared by Scotland.  This festival celebrates the positive impact that the arts has on learning and wellbeing.

The Art of Listening is the International Festival’s gateway programme that teaches listening skills using classical music with a singer and pianist performing a series of artsong throughout the workshop. In Melbourne, we worked with PhD students, parents, teachers and young people from aged 2 up to 12 over the five day Festival.

Every participant brought with them their own insights to and experiences of music; whether that means rap, rock or Rachmaninov and in the visual art exercise, produced vivid expressions of what listening to music means to them and how it affects their inner world.

The crux is this: you don’t need to be able to read music to like listening to music, or for music to have a profound effect on you. That’s true wherever you are in the world and why the Art of Listening continues to connect with adults and young people twenty years after its inception.

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