When my son started his degree in Musical Theatre at Drama School, he was part of an extremely talented group of students, all of whom had shown excellent potential during their audition. Not all of these students will have had previous training, but most of them will have and would most probably attended their local stage school or at least have had singing or dance lessons. If truth be known, I imagine most of them would have been able to boast a theatrical CV as long as their arm!
With thousands of stage schools and theatre academies around the country, there is almost certainly one or more near you, but why should you be sending your child there?
Do they actually learn anything valuable?
The answer is a resounding YES! Acting, singing or dancing (or ideally Musical Theatre as it encompasses all three), teach an enormous amount of skills. Very young children are taught these skills through fun drama games and action songs, but as your child gets older, they will develop more specific skills, learning to express themselves and communicate not just verbally but through the minds of other characters, through song and even through dance.
Acting helps to develop numerous skills: Communication, teamwork, the ability to problem-solve, diction, voice projection, timing and expression to name just a few!
Singing is not only about learning the right notes to sing, but about developing listening skills. Children learn how to appreciate various types of music and develop skills that enable them to memorise lyrics, tempos, rhythms, etc. A good school will also teach the importance of vocal health.
Dancing keeps your child’s body (and mind) active. Dance improves their flexibility, coordination, timing, and deportment. It is vital that children are encouraged to be creative and allowed to express themselves. This not only boosts their confidence but increases their self-esteem.
As your child gets older and develops a love for performing, they may decide to apply for specialist training. This is when they will need to use some of these skills to greater effect.
- Self-discipline and stamina.
- The ability to self-reflect and analyse
- Organisation and time management.
Of course, many ‘theatre kids’ decide NOT to pursue acting, singing or dancing as a career, yet still continue to perform and I don’t mean that they will join their local amateur dramatic society. They may become teachers, ‘performing’ in the classroom everyday, Scientists, business owners and website developers presenting their latest ideas to their staff or at seminars and lectures…it’s all ‘performing’, and surely there are no bigger ‘performers’ than the Barristers in court! The list is endless.
The skills your child will learn at your local stage school, theatre academy or even by participating in their school productions are invaluable tools for life, no matter which path they take. Attending should most definitely be encouraged.