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?

Drama and Musical Theatre

Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. – Wikipedia

G1 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 G1 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.

Aside from all the regular benefits of music, singing, specifically, has also been shown to be a great activity for children. Here’s what it does:

  • increases IQ
  • enhances executive function
  • improves well-being
  • boosts immune system
  • increases mental alertness

Benefits of Dance

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

Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone

Probably one of the greatest benefits of Drama and Musical Theatre is that it encourages our children to step out of their comfort zone. Regularly stepping out of your comfort zone can offer the following benefits:

  • makes us more productive
  • helps us perform at our peak
  • improves our ability to handle the new and unexpected curve balls that life throws at us
  • helps us get used to pushing our boundaries
  • helps us grow as individuals
  • makes us more creative

An Activity that Promotes Flourishing

Possibly one of the most important reasons why drama and musical theatre is great for our kids is that it helps them to flourish.

drama and musical theatre benefits
Image Source: Pinterest

So there you go… lots of reasons to encourage your child to pick up drama, music, singing and dancing.

Related:

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Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

3 thoughts on “Extra-curricular Activities: The Benefits of Drama and Musical Theatre

  1. I like when you said that taking acting classes can enhance the child’s confidence in dealing with people as he acts in front of a crowd, while improving his communication skills when uttering the lines in the play. My son is a shy type and I have been catching him acting in his room when we are not around. I believe enrolling him to an acting school will harness his talents and be more confident in showcasing his acting skills in a huge crowd. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Hi does any one know of stage school full time for children with learning difficulties,to save my granddaughter going special school, slow at school work but bags of social skills Mia is nearly 10 so getting worried it’s not fair to have to go to a special school for that reason, thank you can any one help.Regards Rose Derby

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