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A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

1965. Musician and composer Glenn Holland decides to switch gears in his career by taking a music teaching job at John F. Kennedy High School in order to have more free time to spend with his bride, Iris Holland, and compose, most specifically a symphony which has always been his dream to do. This career change is despite music rather than teaching being his passion, and having no experience in teaching beyond having a teaching certificate. He quickly learns that it is a job that he hates - largely because his students generally don't relate to music the way he does, and of where he and the music program fit within the pecking order of the school - but which he sticks with if only because of life circumstances. With some help most specifically from school principal Mrs. Jacobs, he understands he has to find the same passion that he has for music and translate that somehow into the way he relates to his work and to the students if he is to survive in this life. His teaching work over the years is seen at various specific stages, and against the backdrop of milestone events happening in the world. His job and dealing with students and the staff also affects his personal life, not only with Iris, but also with his son Cole (who is named after John Coltrane), who on the surface could not be more different than his father, and as such is someone to who Glenn has difficulties relating, and to that much wanted time to compose that symphony, which was the reason for taking the job in the first place.


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