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The Difference between Ordinary and Extraordinary is Practice

10 November 2016

Vladimir Horowitz was a pianist who many professionals would agree played Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Prokofieff with more flair than any pianist of his time.  He was known for his tremendous technique and ability to create excitement within his pieces.

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He received tuition from an early age (from his mother initially).  Horowitz gave his debut performance in Carnegie Hall in 1928 at the age of 25.  In 1985, as an octogenarian, he continued to perform in Moscow, London, Berlin and Amsterdam.  He led a remarkable life and attributes his success to the hours of practice required to perfect his pieces.

As this month progresses, our children will continue to practise as they move towards their own personal goals, in a variety of different areas of their school lives.

Later this month, our Year 11 and Year 13 students will be taking their mock examinations.  These are in preparation for their externally validated exams in the summer of 2017.  They need to be taken seriously and students are busy preparing for them through revision in lessons and their homework. We are building revision techniques and topic reviews into both lessons and homework activities to ensure that time is given to supporting individual preparation in subjects.  It is important for teachers, parents and students themselves to recognise that this can be an anxious time for them.  We must remember that adolescence is not an easy time for anyone and academic pressures can seem overwhelming at times for young adults.  I firmly believe that the keeping lines of communication open between students, parents and teachers can help to alleviate stress in the face of public exams.  It’s important to remember that students have successfully navigated this path in previous years and have faced the same issues with which our Year 11 and 13 students are now challenged.    Each of our students has the support of their tutor or another expert as a mentor, giving them the opportunity to discuss any difficulties within a subject.  I thank you in advance and on behalf of your children for your support as parents in helping them at this time.

As well as our academic athletes in training, we also have the Under 15 FOBISIA Games to look forward to in ten days’ time.  The students are practising intensively in football, swimming, athletics and basketball.  As hosts, we are looking forward to schools joining us from across the Asia region.  I know that this is going to be a wonderful event for the school that will offer our students a great opportunity to compete and achieve success at a personal and team level; it will no doubt provide all of us with some exciting and memorable experiences.  Thank you to all of the parents and staff who have been supporting the children on those cold, wet mornings recently.  The breakfasts provided by the FOBISIA parents have been very well received after training and thank you to the committee of parents who are working hard right now to ensure a warm welcome to the schools visiting us shortly.  And to the students – keep focused, work together and listen carefully to the advice of your coaches.  We are already proud of you for the dedication that you have shown in your preparations.

The dedication to practice in order to perform well has also been evident within the Performing Arts faculty.  This week we have enjoyed the Drama Winter Showcase by our IGCSE and IB students.  Year 11 pupils provided thought provoking drama in their selected scenes from Frank Wedekind’s ‘Spring Awakening’ and Year 13 students held the audience spellbound in their own play entitled ‘I’.  On Wednesday, ‘BISS has got Talent’ took over the stage in the Auditorium and we enjoyed an evening of musical excellence.  Well done to all of the students for their performances this week and thank you for the commitment you have shown.  We know too that the younger members of the secondary school are progressing well in their rehearsals of “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, which will be performed at the start of December.

I hope that the students take time this long weekend to continue to practise and perfect their understanding and skills within the different disciplines they currently study, but also that they take time to rest and spend time with family and friends.

Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary