I’ve told the story about how I made my whole infants’ school become a railway by holding the waist of the person in front while I directed which trains should stop and go. That was fine for a 5-year-old but over the years I have met some real leaders who also happened to be conductors of orchestras.
For about 5 years I was a member of the London Symphony Chorus and sang at all the big London concert halls – Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican, the Royal Albert Hall. It was fantastic experience because we worked with the wonderful London Symphony Orchestra and with some of the world’s great conductors. The best seemed to effortlessly hold you in their grasp. You just wanted to make it happen for them. I remember singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Sir Colin Davis and he said, “It’s in German but you know this. I want you to put the score down and hurl this at the audience and make their hair stand on end. Come on, you know you can do it.” We could and we did but only after he made us feel we could. It was a blast.
“This is what I love about real leaders – they are not about themselves they are about you – the collective you of all the people in the room.”
Our chorus master was also an amazing conductor – Sir Richard Hickox. He always started on time. He was always on it. He always wanted the best. He was always searching for how to make it better. He always gave good advice. He knew how to laugh, and he also knew how to start again and be serious. He made pianissimo so quiet you could hardly hear it and fortissimo absolutely deafening. Within minutes he was profusely sweating because he worked harder than anyone. Where he led you wanted to follow, and you knew it would lead somewhere interesting. This is what I love about real leaders – they are not about themselves they are about you – the collective you of all the people in the room.
They inspire you to be more than you thought you could be. When the audience is in and there’s a buzz in the air and your nerves are jangling you know that when they walk out on the platform you are going to be alright. Not just safe but confident and ready to go for it, ready to work together and follow the leader.
“That’s what we encourage in Theatretrain. We love to give the kids the chance to step up and lead a group or even a whole centre.”
That’s what we encourage in Theatretrain. We love to give the kids the chance to step up and lead a group or even a whole centre. “Follow me – here’s the way.” I can’t tell you how powerful that kind of confidence can be. It’s confidence for the person who steps up, but it instils another confidence in those around them. Some of them might have been fearful or even scared of what they were doing but the sight of someone leading with trust and conviction can work wonders with a whole group.
This leadership is a great aspect of our work, and it changes people because, as we all know, if you gain confidence in one part of your life you can apply it to another – it’s beneficial in so many unexpected ways.
Theatretrain – a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 3 -18, specialise in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage resilience. If you know of a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit www.theatretrain.co.uk to find out what our Performing Arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.