ARTS AND CULTURE — In our busy lives we can often miss prime opportunities for the development of our children. For those with busy academic schedules, workloads and family lives, enrolling into a performing arts endeavour may not show up on the radar. Many studies are now linking involvement in the arts to a higher academic standard as well as better overall child development.
In countries, such as Japan, Hungary and the Netherlands, who boast the highest rankings in math and science, arts and music educations are mandatory parts of the school curriculum.
According to a report from the Arts Education Partnership, children exposed to drama, music and dance are more proficient in reading, writing and math. Children also discover respect for themselves and for the adults who instruct them. They discover that while learning, if they made a mistake and then corrected it, it’s a ‘good’ thing.
The development of skills in self presentation is one of the most obvious benefits of the performing arts no matter how big or small the audience is. Children converse with adults in a mature manner, they grow in self-esteem, poise, and self-confidence and overcome anxieties. If the child is involved in festivals or competitions, they learn to win or lose with grace, a skill that will transcend into their adult years. They learn that there are many different pathways towards the development of their skills. Children develop friendships with others who have the same passions as they do.
As a musician plays in an orchestra or a singer works in a choir; as a painter presents at a gallery, and a dancer performs as part of an ensemble, the art becomes a team effort. Those involved become responsible for their own performance, but with a great consideration for those alongside them. They are thankful to those in supportive roles, and those helping behind the scenes. Those involved discover a greater understanding of empathy, and team work. They will often participate more fully because of the peers they are surrounded by and display a true team effort from all involved.
Performing arts is great exercise! Yes, singers must have amazing lung capacity, and be physically fit to reach and hold notes for an extended period of time. Musicians have great coordination between breath, and fingers as well as posture. Dancers, of course, show us their amazing physicality and sequencing skills, all while making it look easy.
Through the arts children often connect with their ‘happy place’ and can immerse themselves into the music and movements that tap into their emotional spirit. Musicians, painters, actors and dancers can move us through their emotional performances while letting their own emotions free.
The creativity involved in the performing arts extends towards emotional creativity and can open a whole new way of seeing the world, problem solving, and establishing what true winning is all about.