Students develop life skills through art, music and drama

There are many misconceptions about teaching art and performing arts in schools. Some think that art is a ‘soft’ subject that is not as important as the ‘hard’ curriculum which includes math, science and reading.

However, the Utah State Board of Education asserts that a complete education includes the arts. “The fine arts provide a place for students to explore new ideas, take appropriate risks, creatively solve problems, collaborate, develop aesthetic awareness, explore the world and other cultures, and express themselves.” (
fine arts)

Although a career in the arts, which is always a possibility, is not a student’s overall goal, there are many benefits to attending an art or drama class on their own, and some of these benefits enhance learning in math, science, and communication.

The National Art Education Association (, which defines visual art as including everything from drawing to video and other digital creations, says art helps students think outside the box and can be used for a range of problem solving in “architecture, landscape architecture, interior and urban design.

The Educational Theater Foundation (, the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theater Association, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to shape the lives of students through theater education in all 50 states, says performing arts in schools help students develop life skills.

These benefits include “collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking to enable success in college, career, and life.” Art can also promote “increased awareness, understanding, and acceptance of individual and group identities that affect all human interactions,” according to the National Art Education Association.

Additionally, “art is a fundamental component of human experience reflecting the world and times in which we live,” according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (

“Art can help us understand our history, our culture, our lives and the experience of others in ways that cannot be achieved by other means. It can also be a source of inspiration, reflection and joy.

Students who want to pursue a career in art will find the path difficult, but not impossible, according to Accredited Schools Online. Although many students don’t become the next Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas or Frida Kahlo, they can earn a living through graphic design or advertising, or as fashion merchants, designers or stylists.

Performing arts students, including those taking music and dance classes, can also become session musicians, bandleaders, and arrangers, as well as local performers, theater and dance coaches , etc.

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Christopher S. Washington