There was a period in the not too distant past when the headteacher’s blog used to appear on a regular basis within this website and then, like an old engine, the turnover became slower and more erratic until, eventually it ran out of steam completely and production ground to a halt. Time drifted by and seasons came and went until I had hoped that all memories had faded away until somebody this term spotted, on one of the endless stream of advisory documents received every day, the claim that “all good schools have a blog on their website” and so, since Fulston Manor is undoubtedly a good school, the blog is back.
In the past I remember occasions when it was difficult to think of anything interesting that had occurred in the past couple of weeks on which to comment, currently I am completely spoilt for choice. Since the students returned at the beginning of September life has been a swirl of excitement and challenge with new experiences jostling out old ones in a merry go round of the sensational and the surreal. Whilst sorely tempted to use this opportunity to wax lyrical on some of the topics that have been uppermost in the minds of some over the past few weeks, I have decided that really there is one story that dwarfs all others and that must therefore take pride of place in this new blog – the making of a bluegrass banjo star.
Without going over all the details that were covered in assembly earlier this term, in brief, I am not musical, I have never been musical, I have never handled a musical instrument, I was forced to mime in the house singing competition when I was at school to give the others in the group a chance to win and I have lived my whole life understanding that this was just the way things were until one day about half way through the summer holidays the question “Why?” floated across my mind. Shortly after this it was followed by others such as “Why not?” and “Why shouldn’t I?” and “What could possibly go wrong?” and so the dream began. (Just in the spirit of advice offering, may I suggest that you never allow any time to pause after the “what could go wrong” question, as to do so will fill your nights with dread and your days with inactivity.)
Once formed, the plan was very simple. I would borrow the school banjo, acquire an instruction manual (appropriately entitled “Bluegrass Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus”), practise 20 minutes a day, play in assembly at the start of the year, practise 20 minutes a day for the rest of the year and then play again to show how anyone could become good at anything given commitment and a small amount of time devoted to practice on a regular basis. By choosing something I had always known I had no talent for I could then convince the students who believe they are not mathematical, or good at languages or art or whatever, that they too can overcome such obstacles by using the same technique.
Although I hate to sound in the least smug about progress to date, all is proceeding very much according to plan currently. I have the banjo, I have the book, I did do 20 minutes a day before the assembly, I was awful, I am still doing 20 minutes a day and all I have to do now is to improve sufficiently by the end of the year to demonstrate to students the link between work and progress, thereby boosting their examination grades and setting them up for a successful life. All I have to do is improve, get better, be able to play a musical instrument to a reasonable standard in around nine months from a standing start and with absolutely no talent whatsoever. What could possibly go wrong????