We are the most musical people in the country

HASTINGS has been named the most musically sophisticated town in the country.

A study of the nation’s musical habits by academic research teams from Goldsmiths, University of London and BBC Lab UK found people living in the town were the most musical.

And this was despite the research also finding a definite link between musical skills and a person’s profession, education and income.

Hastings regularly appears in the higher echelons of deprivation rankings but nevertheless bucked the nationwide trend in the musical study to come out top of the pile – beating off competition from West Somerset and North Dorset.

Almost 100,000 people took part in the project, answering questions on their musical habits and taking part in a host of practical tests including tasks like trying to remember a particular tune.

The project found a strong link between household income and the likelihood of learning to play an instrument, with places like the City of London, Oxford and Cambridge particular hotbeds for instrument learners.

Dr Daniel Mullensiefen, from the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, was one of the lead academics on the research.

He said: “It was fascinating to be involved in this study - the largest of its kind ever to be undertaken - and it was exciting to map out for the first time how musical expertise is spread across an entire nation.

“The most intriguing result for me is to be able to see on a map how musical skills are related to social conditions of our modern lives.

“Perhaps the most surprising result was the relationship between income and musicality.

“With a couple of exceptions, people who lived in postcode areas with a higher average income performed better in the music ability tests.

“The next question we’re going to tackle is the cause behind this relationship.”

Hastings has been widely praised for its emerging arts scene – including a thriving live music scene, with particular prominence to jazz alongside strong rock and folk offerings.

Classic music is also well-represented in the town.

And each year hundreds of local youngsters take part in the ever-popular Hastings Musical Festival, keen to showcase their talents on a big stage.

It seems that Hastings is punching above its weight musically. And that is a tune we can all dance to.