For as long as I can remember, I have had a recurring anxiety dream. It materialises intermittently, usually when deadlines loom or when self-doubt niggles. In this dream – night terror, really – I am sitting an exam. It’s not clear what the exam is, but the setting is my secondary school hall, the room where I sat SATs to A levels. I have prepared for the exam, and, unlike the anxiety dream trope, I am fully clothed.
The problem is, the hall is in the middle of a building site. Cement mixers whir, drills vibrate – the noise is deafening; I can’t concentrate. Blank pages stare back, essay questions remain unanswered. I am going to fail in the most extravagant way possible. I wake, clammy and terrified.
I don’t have any upcoming exams – and haven’t for well over a decade. Yet the stress incurred as a teenager is so acute it has followed me into adulthood. There are far more pressing matters to lose sleep over: climate change, the rise of extremist politics, poverty, chronic illness – it’s rather embarrassing to admit that this is what my subconscious fears the most. I’m not alone: at this time of year, as thousands of young people prepare for GCSEs, A levels, Highers and university exams, stress and worry about exams reach their peak.
The music featured on Classic FM is credited with helping pupils’ concentration during revision and encouraging them to stay relaxed during exams.
Classic FM has observed a huge spike the number of students who listen to the station between Easter and summer. Over the past three years, there’s been an almost 50 per cent increase in the number of 16 to 25s in full-time education who listen to the station during the exam period, with average hours up 75 per cent. The music featured on Classic FM is credited with helping pupils’ concentration during revision and encouraging them to stay relaxed during exams. To consolidate this support, Classic FM has partnered with The Student Room, the UK’s largest online student community (10 million users a month) to launch Classic FM’s Revision Hour, broadcast every Saturday night at 9pm until June 15.
The eight-part series will focus on themes including stress management, beating procrastination and dealing with nerves, with music from Mozart and Beethoven to post-classical and film scores. Classic FM has also brought in some new presenters for the show, including Lewis Capaldi, Bastille lead singer Dan Smith and Capital broadcaster Vick Hope.
The restorative power of music is a key theme at Fife-based East Neuk Festival (ENF), where annual ‘Big Projects’ bring together local and professional musicians to create one-off events inspired by the festival’s connections to the area. This year’s project is led by Scottish percussionist Colin Currie and his quartet, who will perform a set of sea-inspired interludes created by Graeme Leak. Currie is inviting members of the public of almost any age (seven and over) or ability to join the ensemble and take part in the world premiere performance at Waid Academy in Anstruther on June 29
It’s hoped that more than 100 people will sign up; workshops take place between June 26 and 29 in venues in and around Anstruther, and all instruments and tuition will be provided free of charge. If you’re in the area, don’t miss this opportunity to work with international artists on this exciting concert.
Elsewhere at the ENF – which takes place from June 26-30 – pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja and the Belcea and Pavel Haas quartets come together for a series of chamber concerts.
There will also be a large-scale art installation at Kellie Castle and Garden inspired by the village drying green, a centrepoint of the community where locals came to do their washing. The installation becomes the backdrop to The Garden Party on June 29, with free pop-up concerts.