Extra-curricular Activities: The Benefits of Drama and Musical Theatre

Self-control in children predicts future success and imaginary play helps children develop their self-control. By extension, isn’t drama and musical theatre is a form of imaginary play? So can it be extrapolated that drama and musical theatre helps children develop self-control?

Aristotle loves an audience. He craves it and in spite the usual butterflies in the tummy, he enjoys performing in front of others. He has been known to use extended family occasions as his opportunity to perform in front of others. His class teacher, too, has noticed his enjoyment of the arts so she recommended I enroll him for musical theatre. I have never really considered the benefits of musical theatre before – it was just something Aristotle enjoyed. As it turns out, musical theatre actually kills three birds with one stone…

Musical theatre encompasses three parts:

  • singing
  • dance
  • drama

Benefits of Singing

Singing is the practice of an instrument – the instrument being the voice – and learning a musical instrument has numerous benefits. Music, itself, has numerous benefits:

  • develops coordination, concentration and memory
  • trains the brain in language and reasoning
  • increases math and spatial scores
  • enhances creativity
  • improves communication and social interaction skills

More on the benefits of music.

Benefits of Dance

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Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cognitive Benefits of Dance:

Of interest, but not so relevant to the benefits of dance for children, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that dancing was the only physical activity shown to protect against dementia.

Sources:

Benefits of Drama Classes

  • Perspective taking – taking the role of another character allows them literally walk in someone else’s shoes.
  • Cooperation and collaboration – the need to work together with others.
  • Self-confidence – the performing in front of others.
  • Imagination and creative thinking
  • Concentration
  • Communication skills – through verbal and non-verbal expression of ideas; develops voice projection, articulation of words, language fluency, and persuasive speech
  • Critical thinking and Problem solving
  • Self-discipline
  • Trust
  • Memory – memorising lines

Sources:

Drama and Academic Performance

  • Students involved in drama performance coursework or experience outscored non-arts students on the 2005 SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component
  • Drama activities improved reading comprehension, and both verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Drama improves skills and academic performance in children and youth with learning disabilities

Source: The Effects of Theatre Education

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