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The signing in and out book has been red hot this week! All the comings and goings from a tremendous number of children taking part in the first week of the Taunton Music Festival are duly logged and it is a pleasure to share in their excitement as they depart and then hear of the adventure and fun they have had performing when they come back. It’s a great thing to do – to put yourself out there in what is ultimately an unthreatening environment but it certainly lifts the heart rate somewhat. Whilst we, of course, congratulate those who have won classes, received distinctions and set ‘PBs’, the outcome is not the main reason for doing it and everyone walks just a little taller as they come back through the door to sign in again.

We are into Scholarship season with the bulk to come a little later in February but I have been and continue to spend a good amount of time giving some interview pointers to those children heading off. Here, again, offering yourself up to be counted knowing that there may well be a short term disappointment ahead is a brave and positive step to take and one we encourage when the experience is appropriate, framed correctly and supported unconditionally.

Liberating the children to explore their skills, talents and characteristics in a non-judgmental environment hopefully encourages everyone to push their own boat out a little further from the shores of their comfort zone and this can happen in very small ways on a daily basis, as well as the more obvious occasions mentioned above.

It is a real treat for me to find time to talk to all these children as for one thing it keeps me a little younger at heart. They are genuinely interesting and full of dynamism – if occasionally they seem to speak a different language! Let’s not get on to the propensity to use the word ‘like’ or discuss text speak, shall we? Laterz M8!

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