Spending an evening listening to superb music at the Cadogan Hall, chatting to guests and parents - and of course the boys themselves - and simply enjoying the talents of our pupils was certainly a pretty good way to end the term! It has been a more varied term than usual, preoccupations ranging from snow to water, from debating to sport, from Maths competitions to poets. With almost everything imaginable in between.
On the musical performance though, I did ask some of our fantastic musicians whether they get nervous before a performance. I won’t, in fairness, reveal their answers, though most actors and musicians, and to be honest performers of all kinds (speakers, sportsmen etc.) would admit they do get some kind of nervous energy before an event.
That excitement - adrenalin, butterflies, stage fright, call it what you will - before a big event is natural and actually quite helpful. It’s helpful because it’s a warning against complacency and an alarm to your brain. It’s helpful too if you can experience it, recognise it and know how to deal with it, which might be as simple as a few deep breaths, a moment of calm or even, dare one say, telling yourself that you do know what you are doing and are prepared.
Understanding yourself, the way your mind works and harnessing your emotions is also an important part of maturing (for people of all ages!). It is vital for exams. So, as our public exam candidates prepare for the summer, they might do well to think about how they deal with nerves: calm, deep breaths, decent amounts of sleep (so that you don’t get panicky and irrational) and above all, making sure you really can tell yourself ‘I’ve done all I can: I’m ready.’