Many parents think of creative and artistic pursuits simply as hobbies for their kids. But students who participate in the arts aren’t just enjoying a pastime – they’re also building meaningful relationships and setting themselves up for future success in a number of ways.
“Especially over summer, if you have the opportunity to engage your child with the arts, even if it’s just a week, it’s going to change his life,” says Linda Weise, CEO of Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC), which provides world-class performing arts programs, classes and camps for students of all ages in the community.
Here are four ways creativity and participation in the arts builds lasting relationships and life skills.
1. Students Learn How to Work Together Despite Their Differences
Now more than ever, it’s crucial for people of all ages to learn to work together, even if they might not always agree with each other.
While producing CSC’s anti-bullying musical, “Jack”, Weise saw firsthand how students coming together to achieve a shared goal often realize how much they have in common.
“Not only are they learning and afforded the opportunity to be creative, but it’s that platform that opens their eyes to being more alike than different,” Weise says. “Kids think, ‘If we create something together, it will be really different and cool.’”
2. They Develop a Work Ethic to Prepare Them for Future Careers
When students work on a big creative project, they have to find inner motivation and discipline to achieve their goals. Those are skills many people are still honing as adults. So, as Weise says, “If we can teach them at the ripe old age of 11 or 8, the world will be a better place.”
Every day after “Jack” rehearsals, Weise would ask students what they learned about themselves. One little girl said she learned she could actually work for eight hours straight. Many would say they learned how to listen.
“Those are quintessentially landmark traits that will ensure success in the workplace and in life,” Weise says.
3. They Feel Less Lonely and More Connected to Each Other
Many parents are concerned about their children spending too much time alone (often with screens) and feeling lonely.
“But if they have that go-to place where they can express themselves, whether through visual, literary or performing arts, there’s this element of belonging,” Weise says.
4. They Develop Empathy and Resilience
Students developing art side-by-side learn to withhold judgment and see things from the perspective of their peers, because they’re all just trying to express themselves.
But when they do run into disagreements at CSC, they learn to approach them with resilience, saying, “OK, that’s your choice not to like my work of art or my song or whatever it is, but I’m still OK with myself and what I’m creating,” says Weise.
Founded in 1994, Colorado Springs Conservatory’s mission is to inspire, motivate and challenge all students to aspire to their highest potential as artists and as human beings through arts immersion studies and community arts advocacy participation. For more information, call (719) 577-4556 or visit ColoradoSpringsConservatory.org.
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