Leading classical saxophonist, Amy Dickson, is delighted to announce the launch of her breathing awareness campaign for primary school children: ‘Take A Breath’.

Amy Dickson has designed the programme to help equip young children in their formative years with simple yet invaluable techniques to encourage them how to breathe properly. The idea is that they would carry these breathing exercises with them into their teenage years and into adulthood where they could provide useful support when dealing with situations that may cause pupils stress and anxiety, such as preparing for examinations.

Amy Dickson trialled ‘Take A Breath’ in UK primary schools in September and October and was encouraged by the overwhelming support she received for the scheme from teachers and pupils alike. From January 2017 the programme will be taken to schools around the United Kingdom, in affiliation with the charity, Children & the Arts (http://www.childrenandarts.org.uk). ‘Take A Breath’ will be part of Children & the Arts’ wellbeing and resilience programme for children and young people.

“If our children learn to practice deep breathing during times of stress or anxiety in their formative years, the hope is that they will have these techniques ready-to-hand at GCSE stage and into adulthood” said Charlotte Cork – Music Teacher, Loddon Junior, Alpington Primary & Hobart High. Ms Dickson had first embarked on a breathing awareness regime herself, having been made aware by experts that even as a leading woodwind player, her breathing was “all wrong”. Having then taught herself the advanced ‘circular breathing’ technique in order to advance her own skill set and thereby being able to maintain her sound for a longer period of time, Amy Dickson quickly realised that she could pass on the message of the importance of good breath control and that by starting with primary school children, this could make a meaningful difference to their overall wellbeing.

Leading health professional, Gerry Gajadharsingh, Osteopath & Diagnostic Consultant, noted: “In clinical practice, I see a wide variety of problems affecting both the physical and emotional/psychological systems, indeed often a combination of both. What's fascinating is that 70% of the patients I see don't breathe well. Research has suggested that this is true of the general population. Good breathing behaviour optimises delivery of oxygen on a cellular level, influences control of pH and most critically helps our autonomic nervous system achieve balance. This is the largest part of the nervous system, which controls everything within the body. Now that is amazing. If primary school children learn how to breathe properly by getting into the habit of practising bit by bit, they will be able to influence how their bodies and minds work on a profound level.”

Jeremy Newton, Chief Executive, Children & the Arts said: “We are delighted to be working with Amy on ‘Take A Breath’. Together we can make a huge difference to children’s lives by helping them to develop the resilience needed to deal with life’s problems. The outcome is stronger and healthier children who are able to better engage with their learning, can form successful relationships and have the confidence and self-esteem needed as they develop into adults”.

Amy Dickson made history in 2013 by becoming the first saxophonist to win a Classic BRIT Award as Breakthrough Artist of the Year. This followed the release of her third album ‘Dusk and Dawn’ which attained the coveted Number One in the UK Classical Album Charts. Recognised internationally for her distinctive tone and exceptional musicality, Amy Dickson performs around the world as a sought-after soloist and chamber musician. A devoted champion of her instrument, Amy Dickson is a brilliant interpreter both of established saxophone repertoire and of contemporary compositions, many of which were written for or commissioned by her.

Later this month, Amy Dickson will release a ground-breaking recording for Sony Classical of iconic music by leading American composer, Philip Glass, in celebration of his 80th birthday on 31st January and which she has transcribed for saxophone.


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