Art, music and drama are invaluable assets in someone’s life. Unfortunately when ranked basing on preference, these arts often fall to the bottom of the list. Where they are examined, there is only pressure to raise grades and a misguided belief that the arts are lovely but not essential. It is because of such things that we need to wake up and solve the problem of phasing out arts.
Without arts, we lose out on a number of things. These subjects help improve academic performance. The skills children learn from arts spill over into other academic achievements. Especially for young ones, drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class help develop visual-spatial skills. That is how best they get to learn about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information to make proper choices. This, as you would expect, has an overall impact on academics.
It is through art subjects that creativity can be promoted. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the arts allow children to express themselves better than math or science. In an arts programme, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in many different ways, create an illustration that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them even in their future career.
Similarly, arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students will often ask them selves; how do I express this feeling through dance? How should I play this character? After learning how to make choices and decisions, this practice will be carried over into their education and other parts of life—as this is certainly a valuable skill in adulthood. Children in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the group and that mistakes are a part of life. They learn to accept them, fix them, and move on.
Confidence is another attribute gained through performing art. While mastering a subject certainly builds a student’s confidence, there is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on a stage and singing gives children a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.
Further still, performing art also promotes team work and perseverance- life skills needed in academics. Many of the arts such as band, choir, and theatre require children to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. Children get to learn that their contribution to the group is integral to its success—even if they don’t have the solo or lead role. Plus, as a child perseveres through painting or singing or learning a part in a play, focus is imperative. And certainly, focus is vital for studying and learning in class as well as doing a job later in life.
Arts, music and drama are the quickest way to create cultural awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may present mixed messages. If a child is playing with a toy that suggests any meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, or even the texture of the hair. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.
Arts, music and drama also develop the motor skills. This applies mostly to younger kids who do art or play an instrument. Simple things like holding a paintbrush and scribbling with a crayon are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills.
The importance of exposing children to art early in life is often undervalued yet it encourages exploration, self expression, logical thinking, self-esteem, imagination, and creativity- skills ardently needed in academics. Early art experiences also teach kids to think openly, create new meaning, be more tolerant of others’ differences, and gives them the courage to take risks. It is our duty to embrace arts if we want to boost academic performance.
The writer is a lecturer at The Adventist University of Central Africa