When the second UK lockdown started, Edoardo Chidichimo, a primary yr Music scholar from Corpus Christi, was considering loads about how Covid, poor student mental health, and the stresses of beginning college have been seemingly going to proceed to make the following few months very tough for everyone.
So, he determined to attempt to deal with it, by trying to create an answer that will go in direction of serving to to assist college students. And after chatting with college students about their concepts and experiences by his function as Educational Consultant for the Division of Music, in addition to excited about how a lot music helped him along with his personal psychological well being, Edoardo got here up along with his closing venture, Music for Thoughts.
Music for Thoughts is a documentary, made by Edoardo, that showcases Cambridge college students performing items which might be significant to them, and consists of interviews about psychological well being with college students and workers, all carried out to boost cash for the UK psychological well being charity, Thoughts.
The Tab Cambridge spoke to Edoardo about his expertise with organising the venture, his collaboration along with his fellow college students, and the affect of music on our psychological well being.
‘Trying into why music helps psychologically and with psychological well being […] is kind of fascinating’
Edoardo’s preliminary plan was that he would simply “report numerous individuals” performing and “do an interview right here and there” to create a “playlist” which he would then publicise on Instagram.
Nevertheless, Edoardo started to see actual potential in increasing the interview aspect of the venture, and due to this fact determined to extend the dimensions of the venture to make it into an prolonged documentary-style video of performances and interviews: “We’re at Cambridge, we’ve bought professors that specialise within the psychology of music, we’ve bought music and science […] [interviewing them] can be a very nice manner of bringing an educational aspect to it as properly.”
So, he started contacting numerous professors and psychological well being specialists, interviewing the Corpus Christi School counsellor for her views on scholar psychological well being, in addition to Professor Ian Cross, “a world-leading music and science professor” and a contact Edoardo appeared notably happy with: “After I bought his electronic mail, I used to be clearly over the moon!”
Edoardo actually loved his interview with Professor Cross: “It actually went on for about an hour and he was simply speaking all about his work within the Gambia with the music remedy charity […] trying into why music helps psychologically and with psychological well being from an educational standpoint is kind of fascinating I feel.”
‘We bought some nice performances’
After deciding on his closing documentary format, Edoardo started getting caught in, interviewing college students, recording their performances within the Corpus Christi chapel, publicising every new efficiency on the Music for Thoughts Facebook and Instagram, and customarily selling and fundraising for the venture.
Nevertheless, with the pandemic happening, it wasn’t at all times plain crusing: “I needed to do it on my own as a result of they wouldn’t let me have greater than three individuals within the chapel and a number of the time, there have been already two of us and one other individual simply wasn’t possible. […] You most likely noticed me working round with baggage of recording gear […] It was positively intense.”
Regardless of the challenges, they ended up with an unbelievable documentary, which premiered on thirteenth and 14th December 2020: “I did miss about a complete month’s price of lectures which I needed to make amends for over Christmas nevertheless it was positively price it. We bought some nice performances.”
‘It was actually vital attempting to seize individuals’s subjectivity’
Edoardo was eager to make the venture as inclusive for performers as potential: “I used to be very acutely aware of not being elitist and simply going for the music college students, as a result of a number of music college students may have had entry to devices, which are usually fairly costly, in order that they’ve had coaching once they have been youthful, and lots of people simply don’t have that.”
He needed it to be “accessible” too, and tried to incorporate a spread of kinds of music: “I didn’t need it to be all Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Mozart, as a result of it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.”
Edoardo speaks admiringly about Temitope Idowu, a scholar and guitar participant who carried out her personal wonderful composition: “The composition she made was extra focussed on the lyrics and extra the sort of sentiment that got here from the chords, and never finger selecting or totally different strategies, it was a deal with her expressing herself.”
He additionally remembers how a lot he beloved watching James Edmiston carry out a Rachmaninov piece: “There’s simply this expressivity which is unbelievable, it’s simply breathtaking […] [and seeing] the way in which he expressed himself by one other individual’s music.”
He inspired performers to decide on items and kinds of music that they actually related with, like Temitope and James did: “It was actually vital attempting to seize individuals’s subjectivity, their very own consciousness, how they’re feeling, their mentality by music.”
‘There’s a way of sociality [in] music whenever you specific your self and folks establish with it’
Edoardo discovered that “individuals have been actually excited to carry out” once more, and he beloved with the ability to meet new individuals by the venture: “I met a number of new musos and a few of them are my finest buddies now. There’s a way of sociality [in] music whenever you specific your self and folks establish with it. It’s so highly effective.”
Edoardo additionally contacted a scholar referred to as Felix Elliott at Girton, who had already began a venture referred to as Quarantunes (“I like the identify, so good!”) the place individuals would request a canopy of a tune, and Felix would make the quilt on the piano, organ, and even the accordion for “an quantity that they thought was cheap, so round £20-30.”
As a result of Felix’s venture, like Edoardo’s, was additionally elevating cash for Thoughts, and was primarily based round music, Edoardo prompt they collaborate and promote one another’s work. They discovered that by working collectively, the quantity they have been each capable of fundraise went up significantly, and in whole, they raised over £1100 for Thoughts by the top of the yr.
‘We are able to simply assist one another, regardless that we’re remoted’
Edoardo talks about how helpful he discovered the venture with serving to him address beginning college throughout the pandemic: “Assembly different individuals simply helped my sociality […] I may interact with [the performers], and if I used to be interviewing them, I may ask them private questions and actually get an perception into how they’re feeling.”
Within the documentary, he actually needed to indicate individuals who is perhaps struggling that “you’re not alone” and “there’s at all times assist”: “The entire documentary was so different individuals can see how we’re feeling and the way we’re coping […] [and that] we’re all feeling comparatively the identical sort of issues and we’re all coping with them in another way, whether or not good or dangerous, and the way we are able to simply assist one another, regardless that we’re remoted.”
He talks extra concerning the affect he hopes the venture has on individuals: “Typically I really feel with psychological well being, the difficulty is we really feel alone, we really feel remoted, when in actuality, lots of people are feeling the identical issues. And that doesn’t imply that I’m negating their feelings – it doesn’t imply yours are any much less legitimate simply because everybody does – it’s understanding that we do undergo it, and truly, we’re all going by it so we are able to all assist one another.”
‘That is our music, that is what we are able to create, that is how we’re related’
Edoardo and Felix need to begin one other Music for Thoughts venture within the coming months. As a result of many individuals are at house for lockdown, they’re going to get Cambridge musicians to report themselves performing ‘Don’t You Fear ‘Bout A Factor’ by Steve Marvel, to create a “very nice montage of all these individuals acting at house” with their elements finally being “edited collectively so it feels like a band.”
Edoardo defined how this second venture shall be totally different to the primary, saying that he “didn’t need something sombre” as a result of he “felt just like the documentary was already […] of a critical observe.” For him, the upcoming venture is extra about creating joyful music to “hold spirits excessive” as lockdown continues.
He expanded on this additional: “This second venture is simply to present one thing for individuals to stay up for, one thing enjoyable to do while they’re recording. To practise it, it’s participating them in a distinct kind of mentality, after which having a pleasant product to indicate everybody and say, ‘we’re all struggling, however that is our music, that is what we are able to create, that is how we’re related.’”
They’re going to develop the venture even additional too: “I bought in contact with Durham College and Oxford, in order that they’re going to do their very own association of a distinct uplifting, enjoyable piece. […] If we do a multi-montage of various universities, it simply sort of reveals the extensive assist.”
By bringing everybody collectively in a digital ensemble like this, Edoardo hopes to proceed to emphasize, as he did in his authentic documentary, the “sociality and connectedness that music brings, regardless that we’re remoted.”
A venture that showcases scholar achievement, offers vital reduction and escape for the tough time we’re in, and celebrates the enjoyment of music. Sounds good to me.
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Featured picture credit score: Edoardo Chidichimo