Soundtrack to your summer holiday

27th June 2008 at 01:00
Walk around our school and you will hear music - not just in the obvious places
Walk around our school and you will hear music - not just in the obvious places. There will be choirs, instrumentalists and lyrics in the English department, but also in less expected areas like the maths corridor.

The wheel has come full circle for those of us who recall 1960s arguments with parents about whether listening to "that noise" while we studied could possibly help us concentrate. Given that the view of the establishment in those days was that "pop" music was the work of the devil and would lead us straight to hell (apart, of course, from the works of that nice Cliff), it's not surprising we fought a losing battle to retain the Dansette record player and the portable radio in our rooms as we revised and did homework. Few parents could spot the relevance of "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" to mensa, mensa, mensam.

In these more enlightened times, it is accepted that, even in the classroom, music can sometimes calm the savage breast - or, in the regular misquote, savage beast. The maths department, among others, tells me that carefully-chosen classical music can promote a sense of calm, concentration and learning in the room, and that a surprising number of pupils find themselves quite taken aback at their enjoyment of the classics.

With the arrival of the mp3 player, of course, music has become ever more omnipresent and no street scene these days would be complete without large numbers of folk, oblivious to the world around them, earpieces humming to their favourite sounds.

I've never embraced the idea of running outdoors with accompanying music, but I was quite interested to read recently that world record holder Haile Gabri Selassie regularly trains along to music, and that his favourite is the 1990s hit "Scatman". Now this birls along at quite a pace, and I couldn't envisage my tired legs matching the beat of that particular number. The family, always ready to boost my ego, made their own suggestions as to suitable accompaniment for my ever decreasing ventures on the run: "Strangers in the Night" or "My Way" were, they felt, about the appropriate speed and vintage.

At this time of year, though, there's only one soundtrack for me: it's that nice Cliff and "Summer Holiday".

Enjoy yours!

Sean McPartlin is depute head of St Margaret's Academy in Livingston.

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