It’s the start of a new school year, many different activities are on offer (but so too comes the colder, darker evenings!). So sometimes at this point, enrolling them in performing arts may seem to come down the bottom of the priority list.
But there are many reasons why performing arts should play a key role your child’s education, be it in school or as an extra curricular activity. In many studies, researchers are now linking involvement in the arts to better child development and higher student achievement.
HIGHER ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
Studies such as this report from the Arts Education Partnership suggest schoolchildren exposed to dance, music and drama are more proficient in reading, writing, and maths. In countries with the highest rankings in maths and science, such as Japan, Hungary and the Netherlands, arts and music education form a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Children also learn to take instruction from adults and respect authority.
CONFIDENCE & SELF-PRESENTATION SKILLS
One of the most obvious benefits of performing arts is the development of skills in self-presentation. A child must learn how to present him or herself in front of an audience, be it big or small. They develop the ability to converse with adults in a mature manner. Participation in the arts allows them to grow their self-esteem and self-confidence, developing poise and learning to overcome anxieties.
Performing arts are also about social interaction and cooperation. Your child will no doubt make life-long friends with those who share the same passion as they do.
A MEDIUM FOR SELF EXPRESSION
The arts allow for deep self-expression from a child’s heart. It can help them make sense of their emotions and develop new ideas to express themselves. For example, musical children may find their “happy place” when they are playing songs to themselves that reflect their emotions. Or maybe the dancer is better able to express their emotions through physical movement rather than vocally.
Performing arts are also great exercise – even opera! A singer must be physically fit and have a good lung capacity to reach and hold notes for a period of time. Some performing arts are based on cultural history, which may allow a child to connect with their ancestry or ethnic background.
PROBLEM SOLVING & PERSEVERANCE
Performing arts help teach children both self-reliance as well as collaboration with others in order to reach a goal. They learn that there are many different pathways to develop a skill. For example, a child learning a musical instrument may also participate in an orchestra to open them up to another style of music and performance to benefit their solo work.
Performing arts develop reasoning and creative thinking, as well as motivation, concentration and teamwork.
EMPATHY & COMPASSION
Performing arts help promote interpersonal skills. Some of the previously mentioned benefits can come through participation in sporting activities, but performing arts also promote and develop certain skills and characteristics such as empathy and compassion for others. The creativity involved in performing arts extends to emotional creativity and can open children to new ways of seeing the world. In group settings, there’s less of a focus on winning or losing, and more about working together as a team towards a shared performance goal, as well as the child’s individual journey of development.
For example in musical theatre, children may have to learn to work behind the scenes as well as on stage. By having to carry out a variety of tasks and roles, they are able to look at the world from different vantage points.
Whether it’s acting in a play or performing in a dance, encouraging your child in performing arts is a great way to create a well-rounded education.