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Everything posted by meadowblythe

  1. If there are any crime fiction/detective fans out here can I commend The Interrogation to you? Really clever radio drama, new episodes on BBC Sounds.
  2. Hi Rowan to answer your questions: 1. Yes - not many will be looking for work at 18. In fact many jazz musicians will be older, some institutions prefer students who are older than 18. 2. Sometimes - Two of the schools offer a fairly limited range, two offer a full cohort (in fact, DD had a much wider range than if she had stayed at our local but small grammar.) Also, remember a musical brain is quite often a mathematical brain - in ancient greece they were considered part of the same discipline. 3. Definitely. But GCSE/A level choice was part of DD's decision making process.
  3. Like ballet, there are four "main" music schools (I'm afraid I don't know much about the Scottish ones). Three take only musicians, one takes a mixture of musicians, choristers and non-specialist students. 3 offer MDS places to all qualifying students, one has just a handful. My daughter attended the latter - she just walked in and said "I love it here." And she did. Unlike the specialist ones, she was actively encouraged to play sport, access all the opportunities available, and be as "normal" as possible. This is what she wanted - the thought of being with just musicians did not appeal, possibly given her big brother's experiences in the ballet vocational school world. The majority of students from the specialist schools go on to study music in some form - some at Conservatoire, some study music at university. But not all. The academic standards vary quite considerably between the schools, one regularly sends students to Oxbridge. She was expected to take music at A level as an MDS student, also taking geology (which she thought seriously about pursuing at university) and maths. Most, but not all of the specialists went on to study music from her school, but they were encouraged to consider all options, not just music. Like ballet students they had to be self motivated and organised to succeed. One of DD's main problems in first year at conservatoire was what to do with the time - she had been scheduled from 8 in the morning until 10 at night in the upper 6th, and had to negotiate separate homework arrangements with some teachers because she physically could not get it done. There are more similarities than differences, particularly the skills needed by our DC to navigate the artistic world, both personal and professional.
  4. Can I just add a couple of positives to this debate? My DS received exceptional support from his upper school, and from staff at the school he attended in years 10-11. They both went above and beyond, one supporting dance, whilst never allowing ever favouritism, the upper school in their pastoral support. Musical DD had the sort of MDS experience we all dream of. She wasn't the best, or the favourite, but was valued for what she could bring. When DS visited her boarding school the constant refrain was "it's so unfair .." In fact I'd love to take the staff from some of the ballet schools there, to show how it can be done! At their core, I felt both Musical DD's school, and the upper school, had the students at the centre of what they did. It wasn't smooth sailing all the way, but at no point did I feel they were there merely to pay the electricity bill for the establishments concerned. And yes, I did follow my gut instinct, particularly for DD (she hadn't planned to go away until 6th form, it just sort of happened), based on hard learnt lessons from before.
  5. Still is .. now following the local team of his abode. Most of his clothes are hand-me-downs from their players.
  6. Anna makes excellent points - I would just highlight thinking not just about whether communal living would suit, but considering the differences in settings between the schools. DS at 11 was a rural boy - we live in a village of 200 people. Sending him to an inner city school where there was no outside space and no room to play a game of footy was a huge mistake, at least without better preparation for the change. Similarly I rejected one institution because they shared 4 to a room. As events turned out, it eventually transpired sharing in a bigger room was preferable to being with one person you don't particularly get on with, and space to kick a ball trumped beautiful studios.
  7. @cotes du rhone ! I have been thinking about your post all night. Like you, I am horrified, with hindsight, what I accepted because I didn't want to "rock the boat." Parents starting out, I think the most telling phrase was "would you accept this in a local state school?" The time my DC was beaten so badly by another pupil that I was asked by the local social services if I would like them to step in. I said no. Why?? This was not an isolated incident. When the school didn't follow through, would I have accepted this in another educational setting? All we can do is learn from our mistakes. Have the courage to know when to take action and realise, as Kate_N says, that there is no doubt another route, another school, another equally fulfilling life out there. It is a truism, but worth stating, that the mindset and skills that drive dancers will see them through.
  8. This rings so many bells .. however many times we tell them it was about enabling possibilities, not getting a return. I know I'm the richer for all my children's journeys. Although DS is dancing professionally he knows he is one injury away from end of career (running out of ankle ligaments). His plan B is either to work with a company he has been promoting, or to start his own business. During lockdown he has designed a pair of tracksuit bottoms specifically for male dancers, to accommodate the jumps and stretches. He's always had the gift of the gab, so who knows?
  9. Agree totally with glowlight. As well as dancing in a group, opportunities for pas de deux etc. Picking up rep. as part of a group rather than having one-to-one instructions. Also - contacts at professional stage. My DS shared a flat with someone-who-knew-someone-who .. at his first company. Hearing of job opportunities at companies where peers are working. At his last company one of the boys had been taught privately. Whilst he was a lovely dancer, he was incapable of getting to class on time, living on his own, socialising with the rest of the company and learning the rep quickly enough. It very much depends on which genre you hope to work in, which company and, as glowlight said, the contacts of the person teaching you, and your personality.
  10. Can't answer directly but .. at 16 my DS had a few options but ultimately chose to attend Vocational School. His first company had a number of dancers with the same lower school name as his on their CVs. His current company has a dancer who was a former room mate! I don't think having a "known" ballet school does any harm. For boys as well, it's not that easy to get good quality male teaching, from males, privately. But .. one company got his ballet school confused with another - offered him a job after a summer school but when he questioned why they hadn't been interested before (no audition offered for a vacancy) they admitted they were basing their opinion on his school - but had got the school wrong! I think it depends how confident you are about getting an apprenticeship, whether you would miss the class/group dynamic - working on your own is very different -and how your "plan B" is affected by your decision.
  11. I'm really glad to hear thoughts are still relevant. I sometimes worry it's a little to far away to be relevant. I am, however, expert on the new regulations for Brits residing in Europe ..
  12. agree with what has been said - a couple of other considerations regarding DSs. Many girls dream of being ballet dancers before even taking a class. Suspect not the same is true of boys, so although the field may be slightly smaller, those who are there are probably of a standard to have a realistic chance of success. You wouldn't put up with the "help" from your schoolmates otherwise. I also think, based on my DS's experiences at vocational school and beyond, more boys who apply have families who work in dance (we didn't, not a clue!) so may come to auditions better prepared. This is not a blanket statement just my observations.
  13. I don't know how old your daughter is but don't forget ... if she doesn't get to dance in the Nutcracker as a child, it doesn't mean that she won't when she is older - I suspect there is no strong correlation between those in productions as children (even JAs and the like) and those who dance it as adults in professional or semi-professional companies.
  14. Just seen Waterstones is offering signed copies of Into the Spotlight https://www.waterstones.com/book/into-the-spotlight/carrie-hope-fletcher/9780241503829
  15. How fantastic! Please do post, and I'll try and add them to our library.
  16. Winnie the Pooh is the font of all knowledge. Incidentally, I'd recommend Wink to anyone looking for a stocking filler for their Y6/7 DC https://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/book/16925/Wink-by-Rob-Harrell.html
  17. Research shows that reading for pleasure is one of the best things you can do for your mental health - but it's about reading for pleasure. I've had to curb my innate desire to move students on from Wimpy Kid. The most significant factor was about the student being equipped to choose a book and having the freedom to choose for themselves - not parents, teachers or even librarians! I won't get started on why we should have more independent book shops. but modern books are a glorious thing. I'm attaching a picture of a pile of books I'm about to put out (colour of stickers indicates borrowing age, 20 just tells me the year it was put on the shelf) - and they are a visual treat - even before you start reading.
  18. Misty Copeland has a "gritty" (ie age 13+ in my library!) opening. But as a school librarian I have to err on the side of caution. lovereading4kids, btw, rates hope in a ballet shoe as 13+ - and the younger version as 11+. This is one of my go-to sites for books by age.
  19. I've attached a list recently compiled by a group of school librarians. Variety of reading ages, genre and print availability. Hope it may help someone ..Ballet and dance titles.xlsx
  20. Just added to my list for my school library .. it's a tough one, good readers want the full version but, for example, I have limited Misty Copeland's autobiography to older readers. Not a biography, and not particularly challenging but the Peril en Pointe books are great fun - a new one has just been published.
  21. One tip I learnt when my children were changing educational schools was to watch the children leaving - obviously not in any weird way! From a previous bad experience I was watching for how the parents reacted to each other, and where they waited. How the staff interacted with the parents. How the children interacted with parents and staff. Smiles tell you a lot about the social side. The school they moved to was the one where, going in to see the head, I asked one of the parents where the office was. Unmprompted, she asked if I was thinking of moving to the area, said what a lovely school it was, and, as I had my then-toddler with me, invited me to the local parents and baby group. That's the sort of environment I wanted both for myself and my children.
  22. for what it's worth, we experienced years of favouritism etc pre vocational. My regret is that I didn't move DS. Another student was allowed to by-pass all the requirements of the school (must be in troupes for 1+ year before solos, strictly rationed private lessons) The high, or low, point came when my son was told to hand over his ballet shoes because the other student liked them more than their own. These were his own shoes, bought by us, not school property. Fortunately older students stepped in at this point. We had no dance background and knew no better. We were made to feel bad because although DS had multiple MDS offers he "failed" to get a place at White Lodge after reaching finals. Don't grow a thick skin, but a good pair of conspicuous headphones to be worn (whether you are listening to anything or not) may help. And if you aren't happy, you are a customer and entitled to go elsewhere.
  23. Hi As mentioned before I feel being an Associate can be a disadvantage ... however, I suspect that the establishments are probably looking for the same physical characteristics in their associates as in their full time students. My August son certainly struggled with being away, and moving from a rural to very urban environment. We now laugh at the edict that football could only be played with an inflatable beach ball so that the noise and damage were limited. At the time it was probably the last straw ... Certainly two of his peers dancing in very "prestigious" (your definition may vary) companies joined the school in Year 9 and Year 10. Musical DD daughter was able to join a school that just "clicked" with her because, as a year 10 student, she could cope with living 6 hours from home. I'm not sure that would have been the case in year 7 and also the exeats, although exhausting for all, were much less of an issue over the shorter time period. As @MrsMoo2 says, many ways to crack an egg, and many eggs to crack.
  24. Just to clarify; reader they liked her ... Despite us looking for sixth form (I assured her there was no chance of a year 10 place as we were looking early May of year 9) an MDS was "found" in early July (I had double assured her no chance now, as the school term had finished.) Experience of an elder brother at ballet vocational school, and knowing she had a thorough grounding from her local state grammar before leaving for year 10, made the decision easier. Whereas year 7 was the right decision for him, she was vehemently against going at that age.
  25. I suspect the teachers can spot artistry, and whatever else they are looking for, in ways we non dance parents don't know. When I took musical DD for a look around a school and an "informal instrumental session," the teacher came back and said that by the third note he knew what he needed to know. Associates can be a double edged sword - DS' JA teacher, after seeing his first round audition, commented she regretted some of her earlier feedback to RBS - she had seen a different side to him when he took class with someone else.
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