The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia


"In terms of brain development, musical performance is every bit as important educationally as reading and writing." Oliver Sacks.

The research is long standing that shows the benefits of musical and dramatic performance for children. Not only does it help improve brain power, it helps develop social skills, it builds their confidence and inspires creativity. Musical performance teaches children patience, gives them another form of expression and gives them discipline through the practice and preparation it takes to learn that skill.

Developing the skills of acting and being part of a team brings many great benefits as well. Working through the dramatic pursuit of putting a play together builds confidence. It helps develop the concentration for children by encouraging them to listen to each other's ideas and thoughts, and to take turns. It helps develop language and communication skills, learning of new songs and playing of new games. It also encourages them to cooperate as well as increasing their emotional intelligence, helping them develop creativity and nurture friendships.

On Wednesday 27 November, we saw the culmination of all the benefits of the Music and Performing Arts programme come to fruition on the stage in the Dickinson Centre. The Year 5 boys presented their production of 'Let the Games Begin'. A musical with a very important message that playing and engaging with other people is far more important than screen time and video games. A message that shared with the audience how engaging in activities outside of the solitary ones available on our handheld devices has great benefits emotionally, physically and socially. Aside from the message the play was delivering to the audience, it is the benefit to the boys who performed it that I want to share with you.

Working on that performance is the final experience for the Year 5 boys after their PYP Exhibition. They had to learn their lines, choreography, learn about how to put a play together, master their costumes and makeup, embody their characters and stand in front of an audience and perform it to their peers in the school as well as family and friends. The performance was simply outstanding. The confidence they took to the stage as they acted and sang and delivered their lines flawlessly, the comic timing they demonstrated and the sheer enjoyment we could see on their faces as they performed for the assembled crowds was inspiring. Under the direction of Miss Phebe Samson, the boys brought a wonderful experience to the stage. They entertained us, made us think and this filled me with a great deal of pride.

These events do not simply happen. I want to thank the Year 5 teachers for their guidance of the boys through this process. I want to thank Mrs Jane Roche for her assistance with costumes and props, Mrs Tania Wheeler for her outstanding makeup skills and finally our director and choreographer Miss Phebe Samson. Under Miss Samson's leadership, once again, she has produced an outstanding performance and gave our boys a fantastic experience that they will not soon forget. Under her leadership the boys have developed the skills previously mentioned. They developed their teamwork, creativity, confidence, concentration, patience and their social skills. While the final production was outstanding, the benefits to the boys are almost immeasurable. For some this may be their only experience on the stage in this manner. For others, we will have lit a fire that they will take into the Middle School where they will take onboard the opportunity to perform with the other boys perhaps in the Year 6 play or Year 7 and 8 play or in the Senior School musical.

To those who joined us on the day, I am sure you enjoyed the performance. To the boys who presented it, well done! Our boys were stars on that day. They made us all very proud.