Enriching students’ experiences that open doors later in life

“I often hear adults regret the fact they didn’t learn an instrument when they were younger,” said head of Performing Arts, Steve Belcher. “They either didn’t get the opportunity to learn an instrument and perform on stage, or, they didn’t make the most of it.”

Whilst at Clarendon, students are provided the opportunity to participate in a number of pathways and experiences including academics, sport, visual and performing arts. Involvement in music early on in life not only positively impacts on cognitive development but it also helps students to develop socially and emotionally.

“We do not know what our students are capable of and neither do they,” said Steve. “What we do know is that we need to present them with opportunities to maximise their competence, skills and capacity so that no door is ever closed to them.”

For our 2020 Performing Arts Leaders, Abby Bicknell, Amaya Postlethwaite, Hamish McDougall and Matilda Hope, their exposure to team working and performance opportunities at Clarendon was pivotal to their development as individuals while setting them up for their futures.

“When I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me start learning drums at Clarendon in Year 3, I had no idea the impact that this decision would have on both my schooling life and myself as an individual,” said Abby. “What started as an 8-year old following her heart’s desire to rock out behind the drums, resulted in granting me leadership opportunities, lessons with highly respected musicians and, most importantly, a place in a vibrant, enthusiastic and supportive community.”

For Amaya, being introduced to the flute as part of the Year 4 music program and the annual musicals connected her with friends from other year levels that she otherwise wouldn’t have connected with. “My involvement in the performing arts at Clarendon provided me with endless opportunities to explore my passion for music, dance and drama,” said Amaya. “The friendly, bubbly atmosphere of the performing arts centre and those who occupied it made it a place that I will always cherish.”

“The opportunities at Clarendon are endless,” said Hamish. “Whether it be travelling interstate to watch and play alongside the best in the world or perform a lunchtime gig in front of your peers, Clarendon has it all. The many and varied avenues for involvement in the performing arts was a great way to feel a part of the broader school community as well as opening many doors for me to expand my musicianship and better my skills.”

To Matilda, involvement in music leads to perseverance, determination, overcoming challenges, growth and friendship. “The ensembles at Clarendon not only allowed me to meet and establish friendships with like-minded individuals, they also provided me experience in playing with and performing with other talented musicians,” said Matilda. “As I move into the next chapter of my life, I am not concerned as I know the music I play will help me find my way, connect with others and allow me to find success in the continuation of my journey outside of Clarendon.”

For these four Old Collegians, the opportunities they were afforded at Clarendon not only enriched their time at school but also set them up for life beyond it.