I work in what was once (before they were scrapped and replaced with Academies and Free Schools) a Performing Arts College. Not actually a college, but a regular school that got a bit of extra money to focus on drama and stuff!
As a Maths teacher, drama, dance and art are really not my bag (and if you’ve ever heard me sing you’d know why), and as we were a performing arts school there was always someone singing, or playing music somewhere on site. It can at times be sweet, almost endearing, and formed a big culture of the school.
But I have to let you into a little secret. I shouldn’t really admit this but I find 99% of pupils performances the most toe-curlingly painful and embarassing sights to behold.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been privileged enough to see some absolutely amazingly talented young people over the past 12 years. Performances that leave you stunned they are only teenagers and leave you with a warm and fuzzy inside, with an almost maternal pride at seeing “your” kiddies up there.
Unfortunately there’s the other end of the scale, the performances that you’d pay good money not to watch, but out of teacher’s duty you sit there to support.
I’ve heard Mariah Carey’s Hero ruined more times that I care to remember, and seeing two eleven year old girls performing a very unique version of Liberty X’s Just A Little Bit has scarred me for life. I can’t hear Robbie Williams Rock DJ without having a flashback to one of our talent shows and a spectacularly terrible interpretation of it, dance moves and all!
It doesn’t help the staff room is situated above the drama studio so my frees are spent listening to One Day More (Les Mis) with varying degrees of success!
Whilst I have huge respect for anyone (regardless of age) who puts themselves out there, I do worry what this leads to. It’s one thing standing up in your year 7 talent show and having a bit of a laugh, but then you see these people in ten years time on X-Factor or Britains Got Talent throwing a strop because they they haven’t got through because for years they have been told they are wonderful singers when they are barely better than average.
Better to find that out now, than be one of the “funnies” on a Saturday night TV in 4 or 5 years time!