Once again March is here, and I am in the middle of Tech Week for a show. Like usual during this week, I either find myself thinking about a better way I could have made a costume work or why I believe all children should have access to the Arts at early age. Just this morning I found myself thinking, “Why do so many people push their kids into athletics but not something related to the arts?” I am not a researcher, but as a life long fan of the arts (seriously, I played a sheep at age 5), I feel like the “art” of the matter is that people don’t see the benefits of involvement with the arts.
So what are the benefits? This can vary depending on the type of art form being utilized. To start, let’s talk about the theatre. First and foremost, being in the theatre teaches team work. Unless you’re starring in a one person show in which you also do all of the tech work, you have to work cooperatively with others to stage a successful production. A big component of this is strengthening communication and self advocacy skills. For example, if you’re in the cast, and you lose something, then you have to be able to ask the appropriate person for help. I can’t tell you how often I get asked “Where’s my x?” I’m always glad they ask so that they have something to wear on stage! Additionally, theatre promotes learning empathy (something that I believe is strongly missing in today’s society). Whenever you are playing a character, you have to find ways to understand their emotions and portray them in such a way that you can relate to the emotion. Empathy can also be developed just from watching a theatrical production as well. Obviously, given my 35 years of being in theatre, I feel very strongly about this one!
However, my strong feelings about everyone trying the arts doesn’t stop with theatre. I believe that learning to paint, creating collages, and using clay are essential to developing fine motor skills. Another way to work on fine motor skills? Playing a musical instrument! Learning a musical instrument and how to read music can also help with math skills. In elementary school, I always believed that fractions made sense because of knowing how to read music and understanding the number of beats associated with a given note. Along with teaching math, music can help with writing skills, emotional management, recalling memories, and much more. Seriously, look up all the ways music can be beneficial. One other thing worth looking is the health benefits associated with music and art therapy. If I can’t convince you to get the “art” of the matter, the research might be able to do so. Are you feeling ready to try being artsy yet?
Understand that I’m not trying to say sports don’t have a place. I played several of those while also being active in the arts. Likewise, I’m not trying to convince you to only pick the arts. However, if getting to the “art” of the matter could have a positive impact on life, why not at least give them – or encourage your kids to give them – a try?
The Great Kaysby