The movie Mr Holland’s Opus tells the story of a musician who struggles to find success in life. Mr Holland dreams of composing a magnificent symphony that will be played by orchestras across the world. The problem is the real world presents him with bills that have to be paid. He takes a job as a high school music teacher, figuring that after four years of teaching he’ll have saved enough to quit and do nothing but compose music. He absolutely hates teaching, but when his wife unexpectedly falls pregnant the savings earmarked for a life of composing have to be sacrificed to a mortgage. Throughout the course of the movie we see a remarkable change in Mr Holland. He comes to love teaching. He finds ways to inspire his students to love music, but not only that, to find their self confidence. This becomes his passion and his source of fulfilment. Thirty years pass, Mr Holland is about to retire, and his dream of becoming a famous composer remains unfulfilled. On his final day as a teacher he packs up his desk, and heads for his car. On the way he hears music coming from the auditorium. Intrigued he goes to see what’s happening. He opens the door to find the auditorium filled with his students from the past 30 years. They’re playing a piece of music he wrote. It’s a concert in his honour. One of Mr Holland’s former students delivers a speech:

“Mr Holland had a profound influence in my own life, yet I get the feeling that he considers the greater part of his own life misspent. Rumour had it that he was always working on that symphony of his, and this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr Holland isn’t rich, and he isn’t famous, at least not outside of our own little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. And he would be wrong. Because I think he has achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched. And each one of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. And we are the music of your life.”

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