Can pianists play football?

A North London mother has pulled her boy out of school for fear his piano playing will be damaged by compulsory football.

Hayley Bushell says Curtis, 12, suffered a left arm sprain and concussion during rugby lessons. The boy previously competed in Britain’s Got Talent. His mother is a piano teacher.

Curtis has now been transferred to a gentle theatre school.

hayley bushell curtis elton


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  • This boy was also on child genius as well as Britain’s Got Talent. Mum seems to like keeping him in the spotlight.

  • It kind of spoils the story now he’s moved schools. Would have been interesting to observe a battle with the sports-loving governors.

    • Isn’t all of this “old news”? Curtis’ move to the Sylvia Young Theatre School was described as happening in late April 2015 in the May 2015 article that Simon linked. Norman’s linked news item, while dated March 9, 2016, adds nothing to the discussion. In fact the sign the petition link takes you to a 2013 petition form. Signs of a slow day in classical music “newsland”.

  • Seiji Ozawa was training to be a concert pianist when he was young. He knew he should stop playing rugby (I think it was rugby) and promised himself he would stop “after this one last game…” He broke two fingers and the rest is history.

    Mom might be pushy, but she has a point.

  • Itzhak Perlman has spoken out critically in the past about these pushy mothers. They should be nurturing the talent instead of exposing their little darlings in this shameless way.

    Also, can’t she gag the son from these dumb things like wanting to be Prime Minister ?

      • In the light of the proposal about banning contact sports the Government have decided that from January 2017 the other following sports and school activities will be banned (in line with the recommendations of Prof Ivan Wackadoodle at the University of Kamchatka):-

        Marbles – danger of flying glass and kids slipping on the marbles

        Conkers – danger of flying bits of conker that could easily blind a child

        Hop Scotch – intense pressure in hip bone from hopping motion will create long term hip damage which will require complete hip replacement at very early age

        Football – risk of broken limbs, stress fractures and emotional distress at losing a game which would require extensive psychological counselling

        Music – fear or repetitive strain injury, deafness and mixing with social undesirables that may lead nice children astray

        Hide & Seek – children may get lost and suffer from anxiety and trauma, become disorientated and could be forced into the unpalatable situation of making a decision for themselves

        Netball – would require teenage girls to run around in skimpy outfits and suffer from leering pubescent teenage boys, causing massive psychological issues of self image, self worth and personal confidence

        Pata cake, pata cake – hand slapping game which is now accused of cultural appropriation and sexism

        Walking to School (Unaccompanied)– considered too dangerous because of traffic and the potential for perverts to be hanging around school gates……….and it is very stressful for young people to use two legs to get anywhere independently

  • The fact is, rugby is a very dangerous game – years ago, I was teaching at a public (private!) school where rugby was compulsory. We, the staff, were sitting down to tea one day when the news came through that a boy had just been killed on the rugby field. He had broken his neck. No school should be allowed to make rugby compulsory – this boy’s mother did the right thing – I would certainly not allow my child to play rugby, do boxing or engage in any other of these (potentially) lethal so-called “sports”. As for his mother being “pushy” – so what? Try Paganini’s father for pushiness!!!

    • I went to a school where rugby was compulsory. It wasn’t really dangerous because, from memory and at a rough estimate, I’d say that 75 – 80% of us would rather have been doing something else. We stood around doing the minimum we could get away with and looking forward to the end. When the ground was frozen and rugby was cancelled, there were generally smiles all around.

      I mention this because the game, and that’s all it is, had been elevated to a religion to the exclusion of almost everything else. It was sold to us under many pretexts but basically it was just cheap crowd control. I fully understand the need for exercise but there are much better ways. Po-faced compulsion removed any possibility of fun.

      My age group included an obviously talented french horn player. Although he was a border, his lessons were arranged externally by his father because, apart from the choir, the school was not particularly musical and showed little interest. The lessons took him away from the sacred game (his father must have cleared this when he joined) and he endured a significant amount of sneering abuse as a result, and not always from fellow pupils. This was the North of England in the 1960s so you can imagine the labels.

      I did not keep in touch with the school but was not surprised to discover many years later that this horn player had become principal of a respected symphony orchestra. The school, however, cannot take any credit for this whatsoever. Not surprisingly, his name does not appear in the school’s old boys network.

      I understand that the school is much more enlightened these days.

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