A recent visit to the Hanoi Opera House this week revealed to me the power of self-confidence and the way in which young people when correctly nurtured.
The occasion was the Happiness Concert, sponsored by a well-known cooking utensil company, in which familiar classical pieces of music were admirably performed by the National Symphony Orchestra. One piece, a Brahms Hungarian Dance, was played several times, firstly with the usual conductor, Honna Tetsui, and then as part of the programme, audience members were invited to come up on stage conduct the orchestra for the same piece. Five came up, amongst them a 5 year old boy, 6 year old girl and a 14 year old. The orchestra were excellent in following the timing of the movement of the baton, going slow when the child swung the baton slowly, speeding up when the arms started to swing. Gradually, the children learnt that their actions affected the sound, tempo and quality of the orchestra’s performance and with it the enjoyment of the audience. There was lots of laughter at the rawness of their efforts but great warmth too at seeing their learning: entirely experiential. That is indeed the way that children generally learn, by experimentation; often learning through trial and error. It was a part of the concert that truly added to the occasion and helped to produce a sense of joy, fun and spectacle making the concert live up to its name. But for me this was a great paradigm of learning – experimenting and fun.
This is an essential part of what we do here at the British Vietnamese International School Hanoi, that children from all ages learn through experimentation and in a culture where it is acceptable, if not expected, that things will not be correct first time. Many of the greatest inventors in world history discovered things that we now take for granted by a process of refinement of ideas through making mistakes many times over.
Music however is a wonderfully emotive medium of expression. Judging from the audience’s ages, that was clearly understood by all present. Music touches the heart, mind and spirit; it gives a richness to life and brings people together in appreciation. We do hope that students will continue to learn their instruments well, even when they make mistakes – which they will. It should be remembered that player and listener can both derive great pleasure from the musical experience. Music will form a good part of the forthcoming Tet celebrations and we do hope we will see as many as possible of you on Sunday in the Primary Campus Building. The weather this year promises to be cool but dry so do prepare to wrap up warm!
Have a very enjoyable weekend.
Mr. Mark Sayer - Principal