Many people think of art as something for the creatively gifted, but there’s more to it than that. Someone with a strong aptitude for mainstream subjects like mathematics or history might choose to focus on just that, but almost any form of art encourages and inculcates a healthy mind and soul. A creative environment has been proven to inspire and promote growth, and it has a way of bettering your skills and self-confidence.
In many parts of India, a career in the performing arts is a big ‘no’. Hours spent on these endeavours may seem to some like a waste of time that could be spent more constructively. But studies show that people in the arts are more likely to excel at whatever else they try. Most kinds of art can be cathartic in many ways. Research has found that students of art are four times likelier to do well in science and language arts, and that art students are likelier to attend classes and get involved in social activities.
The performing arts have a way of developing life skills, self-awareness, maturity and balance – especially in children. Here are some reasons to encourage your children to take up a form of art... and perhaps for you to do so as well!
Enhanced concentration- The arts help you focus your energies on something more creative, resulting in better concentration. The famous choreographer Gillian Lynn was very restless in school. When an attentive doctor recognised her behaviour as a natural passion for dance, she was able to channel her energies in the right direction. Many people are misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and put on medication, when all they need is a creative outlet.
Creative development- If you’ve ever tried your hand at an art form, you know that the more you do it, the better you get. And as you get better, you tend to increase your innovation and creativity. Acting, dancing and drawing all stimulate the brain.
Stop, collaborate and listen- Most arts require teamwork, which increases social interaction and teaches cooperation. When you work with a theatre group or dance troupe, it forces you to work symbiotically to develop both as an individual and as a group. This helps foster togetherness and cooperation. Working in a group also teaches you to handle competition and motivates you to do your best.
Innovative thoughts- Participating in the performing arts gives your life an additional dimension, and this encourages innovative thinking and enhances problem-solving skills. Art encourages abstract thinking and imaginative development.
Relax, take it easy- There is no doubt that art is cathartic. There’s a reason we turn to television or music in our free time; it calms us. Whether you’re watching or participating, the performing arts are a great way to de-stress.
Broad horizons- Learning an art form, and understanding its growth and place in a culture gives you a global perspective. This broadens the mind, making you more accepting of other people and their cultures, and helps fight bigotry and intolerance.
Don’t stop believing- Mastering an art and presenting it in front of a live audience builds confidence in children. Youngsters who are accustomed to the stage are more confident public speakers, handle job interviews with ease, and make office presentations look like child’s play. Killing stage fright at a young age is a great bonus, but the practice imparts a sense of control and trust in one’s ability to overcome real-life problems. Working on and developing original material also fosters a sense of pride.
A test of will- Since many performing arts require sustained hours of practice in order to achieve the next level, they help build self-discipline and motivation. A good performance boosts confidence, motivates performers to excel further, and remain disciplined to reach their goals.
Release those endorphins- These feel-good hormones are activated when the body exercises. Performing arts like dance do the same thing, and this works as a boosting mechanism to continue the activity.
Academic excellence- Theatre and music build language and comprehension skills, and improve both verbal and non-verbal communication. It also keeps you positively engaged, away from inadvisable and unhealthy pursuits.
Memory boost- Learning an artistic routine and practicing it over and over is a great memory tool. An invaluable asset in all aspects of life, a strong memory is an often overlooked benefit of participating in the performing arts.