If only you would listen

Last night I had the pleasure in going to see School of Rock at the New London theatre in Covent Garden. I have been looking forward to it ever since I heard it was a musical due to the fact I enjoyed the film so much when I was younger. I went along knowing the story line yet the script had been updated to fit in with modern times and there was one song in particular that made me tear up. For those of you who are not aware the show focuses on a man named Dewey Finn who is part of a band and loves nothing more than playing his guitar. However, Dewey loses his place in the band and becomes job – less, that is until he answers a call for his housemate about becoming a substitute teacher. When Dewey learns of the pay he decides to pretend to be Mr Ned Schneeble (his housemate) and turns up to the prestigious private prep school the following day. Of course, Dewey is not an actual teacher yet once he hears the children in his class playing their classical instruments in their music class he decides to make his own band with the children and tells them it’s a class project. Infact, Deweys actual plan is that his band of children will enter a competition and win him lots of money. The children are excited by the idea and feel like Dewey (Mr Schneeble) has more respect for them than anyone they have ever known.

It was at this point that the child cast of School of Rock sang the song “If only you would listen”. It is aimed at the child’s parents who, after paying high fees for their child’s education expect nothing less than the best. Yet, the children are not happy. Their parents do not listen to them, they are simply too busy working or appear to be disinterested in their lives unless they are speaking of what their parents want to hear e.g. good grades and homework. The song expresses how the children feel like they can’t speak, that they are trapped and that they feel restricted in their lives. It’s almost as if their futures are set for them. But, children have so much to share and sometimes we have to just listen. We have to take a step back and remember that grades aren’t the most important thing and that instead the well – being of children holds the up most importance. To truly know what a child is thinking we must listen. This is easier said than done but taking 5 minutes out of your busy schedule to listen to a child may just be the best thing you do today.

I strongly urge you to listen to the song which I have posted below and just reflect upon the meaningful the lyrics. Enjoy and remember to listen.

P.S. Andrew Lloyd Webber you’re amazing.

When I grow up

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I am an avid musical theatre fan and love nothing more than a trip to see a musical. I know you shouldn’t have favourites but for the past 5 years Matilda the Musical has been my number 1. I have seen the show 4 times at the Cambridge theatre in London (soon to be 5) as well as the performance on the TV programme “Surprise, Surprise” and numerous times at West End Live. There’s a sort of magic in the show that I feel applies to all ages, the story is beautifully written by Roald Dahl and adapted well by Dennis Kelly but most of all the music has so much meaning behind it, something I feel many modern musicals lack nowadays. Each song is so pure and clever and expresses so much emotion. You will laugh and cry and no doubt you’ll want to go back and see it again!

One song I like in particular is entitled “When I grow Up” written by Tim Minchin.

Please find below a YouTube video of the song being performed:

The song highlights children’s desire to grow up and become adults. We constantly tell children that they are a “big girl” and that “you’re so grown up” which perhaps encourages children to grow up too fast. The song however shows what children think it means to be a grown up for example, being tall, smart, eating sweets whenever you want, going to bed late and being brave and strong. It’s interesting to see what children think adulthood is really like and how exciting the concept of growing up appears to them. Maybe we should take a step back and enjoy adulthood. Sometimes the stresses of everyday life take over and stop us from enjoying our freedom to do what we want, eat what we want and go to bed late every night. So, my advice to you is to remember that children have some great ideas so listen to them more and enjoy being an adult because when you were a child it’s all you ever dreamed of.

Lyrics to When I grow up:

When I grow up
I will be tall enough to reach the branches
that I need to reach to climb the trees
you get to climb when you’re grown up.

And when I grow up
I will be smart enough to answer all
the questions that you need to know
the answers to before you’re grown up.

And when I grow up
I will eat sweets every day
on the way to work and I
will go to bed late every night!

And I will wake up
when the sun comes up and I
will watch cartoons until my eyes go square

and I won’t care ’cause I’ll be all grown up!

When I grow up!

When I grow up, when I grow up
(When I grow up)
I will be strong enough to carry all
the heavy things you have to haul
around with you when you’re a grown-up!

And when I grow up, when I grow up
(When I grow up)
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures
that you have to fight beneath the bed
each night to be a grown-up!

And when I grow up
(When I grow up)
I will have treats every day.
And I’ll play with things that mum pretends
that mums don’t think are fun.

And I will wake up
when the sun comes up and I
will spend all day just lying in the sun
and I won’t burn ’cause I’ll be all grown-up!

When I grow up!

When I grow up. I will be brave enough to fight the creatures that you have to fight beneath the bed each night to be a grown-up.
(When I grow up)

Classroom or dance studio…

The classroom isn’t for all children.

I just finished watching a programme called ‘The Tiny Tots Talent Agency’ and was blown away by the enthusiasm one of the children had for Musical Theatre. The young boy had ADHD and Autism which prevented him from going to mainstream school which resulted in his mother home schooling him. The mother explained how if she made her lessons active her son would be engaged but, as soon as a lesson involved picking up a pen and writing, he had no interest. What fascinated me was how much potential the boy had in dance. Instead of being cooped up in a classroom, the mother followed her sons dream to perform and enrolled him in part time dance lessons. Unlike in school, the boy excelled. He was praised. He was aloud to be loud. He was aloud to dance whenever he wanted. He was happy.

The programme follows him as he attends an audition at the prestigious London dance school – Pineapple Dance Studios. It is evident that he loves what he is doing and is happy to be there so it’s no surprise he is awarded a place. The theatre school focuses purely on Musical Theatre with no formal academic lesson given.

What particularly captured me about this story was that in school the boy was seen as a failure and unwilling to learn but as soon as he was dancing and being active, all the troubles went away. It made me think how many children out there are simply misunderstood. Yes, education is important but, for some children being active holds more importance. I’m not saying that children shouldn’t be taught to read and write but what I am saying is that more children need to be given the chance to excel in non – academic areas. If schools were to place more of an emphasis on sports, physical education, music, drama and dance then I feel that more children would feel as though they are achieving highly in something. Some are good at maths whilst others are good at drama. Too much of an emphasis is placed on academic skills but there is more to life than times tables. Let children be active. Classes don’t need to be restricted to sitting at a desk, take children outside, let them run free and see what they discover in the environment around them.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-tiny-tots-talent-agency/on-demand/61665-004