20 May 2020

Just be the best you can be

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Just be the best you can be
Just be the best you can be
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One of the lies often promoted to the young is the notion that you can be ‘anything you want to be’. You can almost certainly be better than you are at the moment. You can and should strive to be the best that you can be. You certainly can and inevitably will change the world. You can make a difference. But many things are out of reach to mortals such as myself!

We are extraordinarily lucky that we even have the time and the space to contemplate these issues. For many less fortunate people survival and personal safety consume their daily thoughts.

I certainly could not be Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach left us an extraordinarily generous quantity of astoundingly complex and spiritually meaningful music. He was able to conceive an eight-part polyphonic fugue, and then write it out one part at a time in his beautiful fluent handwriting with barely any corrections. And he was able to do this week after week. He must have had the most extraordinary inner hearing and a creative capacity beyond anything I could even imagine, much less imitate.

We all have a huge capacity to learn, develop and grow. However, some individuals do appear to have extraordinary capacities. One of the things I am missing at the moment are the regular concerts I am privileged to attend at Hamer Hall. Here it is common to be mesmerized by incredible performers reeling off whole concertos from memory. I could work hard, and I could become a much better musician, but I could not reach the level of these great performers.

We can aim high. We should aim high. One of the joys of the arts is that it gives purpose to being the best that you can be. I don’t know right now whether we will be able to stage our Middle School production of Strictly Ballroom. I do hope so, but many of the parameters are out of our control. The joy of staging a production such as this is creating a community experience where literally hundreds of students, staff, parents and friends – whether cast, crew, band, set builders, costume makers, or one of the many other contributors – all come together to be the best that they can be. The arts are about caring, they work from the premise that everyone cares and works collaboratively to create the magic.

One of my greatest fears is mediocrity. The arts provide the best antidote.

Martin Arnold
Head of Music

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