In the flow plus molto crescendo!

The value of music and chess

In his bestselling book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character (2008), Paul Tough devotes almost an entire chapter to an exploration of the role chess can play in shaping how children learn to think. Tough’s book is littered with stories of individual children he met while writing the book. In the chapter on chess, he uses these examples to explore how chess can develop in children qualities such as mastery and experiences such as ‘flow’, and how character traits such as resilience can also be nurtured through the game. (If you’d like to know more about the notion of ‘flow’, this TED talk explains it.)

You might be surprised to learn that BGS has an established and flourishing culture of chess. This culture includes Middle and Senior School boys playing against each other as part of the weekly lunchtime Chess Club, and Junior School boys playing through our Enrichment Program. Next week, BGS is hosting the State Championships, in which Middle and Senior School boys will compete (good luck to all those involved). We also have large chessboards in the Senior School Atrium and in the Junior School Red Square.

I am sure many of us have a chessboard at home. Why not get it out and challenge your son to a match?

Speaking of children succeeding, it was superb to watch (and hear) our boys and the FGS girls succeeding together at the combined BGS–FGS music concert, molto crescendo, at the Melbourne Recital Centre earlier this week. Certainly, the concert lived up to its name – it did get louder very quickly! Like chess, music allows boys to enter into a state of flow as they strive for mastery. I know also that similar character traits, such as resilience, are developed when preparing for, and performing in, such a major concert. My hearty thanks and congratulations to the BGS boys and the FGS girls, and the music staff from both schools, for such a superb performance. Well done.

Finally, an update on the construction of our new Sporting Pavilion on the Crowther Oval. Despite some initial delays, the project is on schedule for completion in late May–early June 2018. Relevant updates will be communicated about the progress of this exciting project.