So Vanessa is always banging on at us that one of the most important skills in choir is keeping our ears open, as listening (even to other people’s parts) helps us to understand how the arrangement comes together, and – crucially – prevents us all from chatting away during rehearsals!

But did you know that you might be a better listener (and learner) if you studied a musical instrument at school? Studies have shown that musical training (but not necessarily just passive listening to music) affects attention and memory. It’s suggested that the reason for this is that the motor and listening skills needed to play an instrument in concert with other people appears to heavily involve attention, memory and the ability to inhibit actions. Merely listening passively to music by, say, Toto, does not produce the same changes in attention and memory. So if you were a whiz on the recorder at school, there really is no excuse for not already having memorized this term’s parts!