For children who enjoy performing arts camps, there’s the thrill of learning lines. Making people laugh. Belting out a tune with abandon. Practicing a piece of music for hours to play it beautifully. Basking in the glow of applause. Above all, it’s exciting!
Performing arts enhances childhood for many kids. Firstly, allowing them space to use their creativity. Secondly, recognition for hard work and talent. Certainly, this is vital to a healthy upbringing.
Most adults have fond memories of performing in different ways as children.
There is a visceral experience of eliciting reactions from an audience. It sparks different emotions, depending on each child’s interest and personality. Acting or improv, for example, develops important life skills in campers – similar to sports – that last for years.
But there is more to performing arts camps than performing.
Not everyone involved in theater is a thespian. Or needs to be.
For example, many students enjoy the basics of producing and directing others. They love the process of writing a scene or song. Others take to stage management or set design. Meanwhile, a handful get into graphic artistry for promotional materials. Campers can contribute in many ways without ever setting foot on stage.
In other words, everyone works together for a great show.
According to Scholastic, encouraging kids to participate in performing arts will help them. They do better in school. Public School Review also touts reports showing exposure to arts means better college and job prospects.
Performing arts students score higher in academic studies. And on skills tests, too. The Arts Education Partnership analyzed studies revealing that music lessons increased proficiency in math. Reading, cognition and verbal SAT scores are also higher among students who sing or play an instrument.
Teachers agree that there is a link between performing arts camps and higher comprehension. To that point, when humanities and history curriculum include novels, movies, and music – kids retain that knowledge. They have greater ease than those who learn with textbooks only.
Academic benefits are only the beginning. Some perks can’t be revealed through a test. Yet most experts agree these areas are just as important.
In short, this is why almost every community has arts activists. They’re pushing for fewer cuts to the arts at the elementary, middle and high school level.
Unfortunately, performing arts is still on the decline in most school districts. As a result, summer camps and afterschool programs might be the only way to introduce these experiences to your children.
10 surprising benefits
- Empathy for others. When children step into a character’s shoes, they learn differences between cultures. They also learn similarities. And compassion. Storytelling often imparts wisdom from historical eras. It deals with issues in a way that history books fail to convey. Therefore, when students are a part of the storytelling process, they speak for people. They learn backgrounds separate from their own. Vocabulary grows along with social and emotional literacy. In this way, performing arts camps help kids put a name to what they go through themselves.
- Improves problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Thespians and band/chorus members learn lines, lyrics and direction. These thought patterns are also used to imagine new outcomes. Especially as they grow older. Issues faced through college and beyond require out-of-the-box strategies. That’s how they’re solved. Adults with experience in performing arts become accustomed to challenges rather than frightened by them.
- Confidence goes up. When young actors see that curtain rise, they feel slightly nervous. A tad anxious. Conquering that fear gives rise to higher self-esteem. Also, budding improv artists are given a scenario. They are asked to construct a beginning, middle and end. Often in three minutes or less. And make it funny! This builds resilience. For example, they they feel better about themselves, even if every skit doesn’t go perfectly.
- How to keep a beat. Learning music teaches us to appreciate rhythm. For instance, we learn skills about tempo and the basics of keeping time. We won’t all become singers or rap stars. But almost all of us will attend a business conference, wedding or bar mitzvah. These are life cycle events with a dance floor. And being able to cut a rug without panic is a nice skill to have.
- Understand how to listen and respond. Acting and comedy classes teach students to observe others. For example, they learn to read facial expressions. Pay attention to non-verbal cues in order to read a room. Above all, this helps them better relate to classmates.
- It’s fun! Performing arts camps help children connect and provides a break from academic studies. Kids recharge their batteries. This helps them return to the classroom fresh and better able to learn.
- Building interpersonal skills. Performers and audience members are often in it together. They experience similar thrills. Meanwhile, group relationship dynamics are honed and practiced. And these communal experiences build camp spirit. They foster a sense of togetherness.
- Teaches discipline. Performers depend on one another. For instance, structure and order that requires personal accountability is important. Students learn lines and show up for rehearsal on time. They come through for their fellow artists. In this way, they learn the importance of delayed gratification.
- Develop public speaking skills. Most of us will have to speak before some kind of audience someday. Either in our personal or professional lives. Whether we raise a toast to our sister at her wedding or deliver an important PowerPoint presentation to close a deal. These events are less frightening if we practice as younger people.
- Flexibility is courageous. One of the best lessons from improv and theatre classes is to roll with it. Students must develop a skit. They are instructed to say “yes and…” to ever idea thrown at them. Keep an open mind and make it work. Build upon another’s idea. That’s how comedy works. And sometimes it’s how life works, too.
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