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Why Musical Theater?

Musical Theater Class at the Wyoming Fine Arts Center

From the pen of Nancy Huey – Musical Theater Instructor:

Why should your child do theater:

They’ll walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  They’ll walk ten.  They’ll walk a hundred.  When a child reads a character, they’re forced to think, why would he have made that choice?  What’s he trying to get from the person he’s talking to?  How could he have done it differently?  Empathy is one of the top personality skills (yes, skills) necessary for strong corporate leadership  later on, and theatre training is even used to ready doctors’ bedside manner.  In Lauren Gunderson’s Huffington Post blog , How Theatre for Young People Could Change the World, she says that “so much of the toxicity in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy. We don’t understand each other, and we don’t want to. But theater invites us — no, forces us — to empathize.”  This practice lays the foundation for strength and compassion.

Theatre doesn’t tell you what to feel.   Art is based in personal experience.  Playing a role, designing a set, seeing a production, I might not see the same images or feel the same impulses as you.  And that’s how it’s meant to work.  It opens up pathways for all participants to explore their own emotions and views.  Involving your kids in art makes them free to think, free to feel, and free to explore who they want to become.

Theatre is great exposure to literature and history.  After seeing, or acting in, a production of Just So Stories, a student may want to read the Just So Stories.  Reading the stories, he/she can make connections between what was happening on the page, and what happened during the performance.  And he/she could learn that Rudyard Kipling was also responsible for a favorite Disney movie – that one with Bhageera, and Baloo, and Mowgli – and that this story, too, started out as a book!  Theatre is a great way to introduce kids to literary and historical themes.

Put simply, theatre is therapeutic.  Check it out here .  And here .  This article  lists singing, playing games, daydreaming, artistic expression, team activities, and imagining the future as six of the “Top 10 Stress Relief Strategies From Your Inner Child.” And, hey – theatre includes all six.

Theatre provides the freedom to not be perfect.  We tell our students “Be big, be loud, be silly! It’s not about sounding pretty. It’s about telling a story and having fun.”  So we encourage the kids to try things.  Let loose.  If it doesn’t work, that’s okay – now we know and we can try something new! This Mom Congress Report  from parenting.com asserts that “There’s no right answer in art, which means they can explore, connect new ideas, and learn from what they feel were their successes and failures without negative consequences. They just can’t get all that in math or history.”

The same article goes on to interview Joe Breault, a principal at a K-8 charter school in California. He says: “There’s no doubt that an arts program makes kids better at everything they take on. It helps them become well-rounded, well-prepared thinkers and citizens of the world – and that should be our main goal.”

I couldn’t agree more.

When I meet my students, I’m excited to find out who they are.  But I’m looking forward even more to who they’ll be when they walk out of our doors again – a little braver, a little more creative, with a foundation laid for a critical thinking, empathy, and their future as citizens of the world.

I hope to see you again soon!

Nancy

Musical Theater Registration

 

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