Friday, December 14, 2012

Arts Education is Saving Students, Now They Have to Return the Favor

By Kaitlyn Kozinski

Being in school is not just about studying and getting good grades, it is about the experience and what you learn outside of a textbook that will prepare you for the real world.

While math and science can benefit a child to a certain extent, arts education goes beyond those basic classes. Every student can benefit from playing an instrument, acting in a play, painting a picture, or even building sets. Classes in music, theater, dance, and art can make a child a wellrounded individual; the skills they develop here can help in other subjects and beyond. Arts education is important and should continue to live on in schools. Without it, children would be losing valuable skills they are not be able to get anywhere else.

The current economy has caused many people to suffer and now the future of current students may be next. Schools today are losing more and more funding and with that comes harder decisions on what to cut and what not to cut. Unfortunately, arts are the first ones to go. A lot of people underestimate the arts and what benefits it can actually have on a child. Many people might think that a child devoting his or her time to learn how to play the saxophone is not developing essential skills, but a child who is learning calculus is; however, that is not the case.

In fact, most of the time, the child playing the instrument is building better skills than the child taking a math class because the skills they develop in music go beyond the classroom, they transcends into the real world.

Music Skills Boost Test Scores

The education of a student can improve by miles if they simply pick up an instrument or sing in the chorus. A study at UCLA showed that students in the arts tend to have higher academic performances and overall higher test scores. Another study by College Board showed that arts students scored nearly 100 points better on their SATs than other students. That 100 points can mean the difference between getting into their dream school and settling on a lesser school because their scores were not up to par.

Music has been known to help brain function, which can enhance a child’s ability in problem solving. It can also help with children’s critical thinking, an essential skill that everyone needs to have. In addition, their understanding and memory can become stimulated. Having the skill of memorizing songs and lines for a play can be translated into memorizing dates and facts from their notes, making studying much easier and increasing their chances of doing well on a test.

The arts can also get kids excited about school. Participating in an event that makes them happy can change their entire attitude about going to classes and studying for tests. Completing a painting or mastering a piece on the piano makes them see what it is like to concentrate on one particular task, stick with it, and finish it. It releases a sense of accomplishment in the child that can empower them to follow through on projects in their academic subjects.

Arts Skills Are Life Skills

Arts education is something that can help students in all walks of life. They develop the necessary skills while in school and then once they graduate they are able to put them to good use. These gifts will last a lifetime and succeeding in the world would be very hard without them. Students involved in the arts develop a certain amount of life skills that set them up for various careers and challenges. Students will end up having the ability to make decisions, build their self-confidence, and accept responsibility thanks to the classes they took back in school. Performing in a show, in front of an audience takes an incredible amount of confidence and once someone overcomes that challenge, anything is possible. Job interviews are easier and talking in front of a group is not as nerve racking as it used to be.

Practicing and rehearsing takes a lot of discipline and responsibility. A student who has a goal and is able to achieve it is prized in the workplace. If a employer sees that a person had the determination to learn, practice, and master the art of music, theater, or art then they would probably want to give them a job. They can tell that anything they give them to do, they will put their mind to it and complete it with 120% effort.

Playing in a band or performing in a show can also show that a person has good people skills and can work well within a group. Putting on a show does not just involve the star, everyone is important. The entire ensemble has to come together to make it sound and look amazing. Students must learn to work as a team and challenge themselves to hear other opinions and embrace new people. If the boss sees that someone is unable to get along with people then they are most likely going to get fired. Teamwork is extremely important and without it a business cannot survive.

An employer also cherishes a person who is creative and can come up with imaginative ideas to aid the business. Music and theater can lead students into a world of endless possibilities. Anyone can come up with an idea but it has to be new, fresh, and creative and arts students have that ability; their imaginations can lead them to very interesting places. Project ideas in art classes have no right and wrong answer, as long as the person stands by their decision and loves what they have come up with. The confidence and risk-taking abilities of a person can also factor into how the team will perceive the idea. Experience in theater performing enables one to appear and sound confident in what they are putting forth and team members will listen and appreciate the presentation. Confidence is a very hard quality to possess but it is essential in the workplace and gets people very far in life.

Finally, accepting criticism and harsh judgement can be taken from the stage to the office. Say the idea that was pitched didn’t work or someone goes on an interview and didn’t get the job, skills developed in the theater can help them make the best of a bad situation, similar to an audition. The director gives them constructive criticism, they take it, learn from what they did wrong, and apply it for the next time. Theater students are extremely resilient and are able to overcome harsh judgement and rejection.

The arts cannot be cut from schools. Students need these programs to show off their creativity and imagination. Not many schools have these types of outlets where children can express themselves and develop an impressive skill set in a short time. However, the arts do more than teach a student how to read music and recite lines, it helps them learn about life and that is one of the most important lessons the arts can teach. Many students would probably not be where they are today without the help and guidance of the arts throughout their middle school, high school, and college careers.

Saving Arts Education

If students want to continue to experience the benefits that music and theater have to offer, they have to get their parents, teachers, and fellow students involved and doing something for their school.

A public opinion survey found that 91% of people think that the arts are vital to a wellrounded education. It also found that 95% of people think the arts are important to creativity, self-expression, and individuality, and 87% believe the arts is important for schools to have in their curriculum and money should be raised to ensure that it stays in. Listen to these people and start raising money for your school and get music programs back and thriving.

Students will always benefit from music. The skills they learn in their formative years will last them their entire lives and their success is dependent on how they take these skills, face the world and survive in it. Arts education will help them survive and in order for them to do so it has to survive as well.

For more information on the benefits of arts education:

For information on how to help save arts education:

Kaitlyn Kozinski is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Communication Arts. She loves journalism and writing but her first love is performing. She has been singing and acting her whole life. Kaitlyn is involved with the STAC Singers and the Lateare Players, performing in numerous concerts, plays, and musicals put on by the theater department. She plans on transferring to Ramapo College to further her education and get her degree in acting. Kaitlyn hopes to one day combine her loves of journalism and theater.

No comments:

Post a Comment