Young musicians from across East Ayrshire are taking part in a special 100-day fundraising challenge to raise awareness of mental health and keep themselves in a musical frame of mind until the summer holidays.

Instrumental Music Service and Youth Music Initiative are encouraging school-aged music-lovers to take part in the 100 Days of Practice Challenge which aims to follow a growing number of artists from across the UK in sharing short videos and images of their daily music practice on social media.

Brainchild of upper strings instructor Emma Tomlinson, the challenge is only a week in but has been a source of real joy for the budding musicians who are concentrating their efforts on raising money for The Kris Boyd charity in the process.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Emma told the Chronicle: “I follow a lot of violinists and musicians on Twitter and have seen people like Nicola Benedetti take on the challenge so I thought we could go for it, too. Doing something for charity in the process means they have something to work towards and are more likely to carry it on for the 100 days.

“After a year of kids spending time in their bedroom and working from home, supporting a local mental health charity seemed like a good way to go. There’s so much research about how learning an instrument can improve your mental health, too, so it’s about tying those things together.

“Staff are doing it as well so it’s nice for students to see their teachers be a bit more human.

Cumnock Chronicle:

“Once they’re into the swing of things, we can set themes for each week so if they’ve got time, they can practice in the garden one week and so on, but we’re keeping it fun and relaxed. The whole point is making it like, if you fix one thing or listen to your tune, that counts. It’s all about engaging with what you’re learning.”

Emma hopes the challenge will help emphasise to students the importance of steady progress while learning or practicing a musical instrument – instead of it always being about the end result.

She continued: “Students are under a lot of pressure to work and perform right now. It seems we’re always working towards the end performance but there’s a huge bit in the middle that needs focus. It’s good to focus on the process of learning and take the pressure away from kids to be perfect.

Cumnock Chronicle:

“It’s good to say, well done for working at it. Most of the students have heard of The Kris Boyd charity and they’ve been on the phone to say they’re very happy to be getting the donations.

“The Benedetti Foundation has also been retweeting and liking our posts on Twitter so we’re receiving great support.”

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