Performing Arts- Is there a Boost in Self Confidence when taking part in Music, Drama and Dance as Children and Teenagers

 

Self-confidence as we know it has been a big part of finding our identity and what makes us stand out from others early on in our lives. From the moment we start nursery/school we start building this up bit by bit until we are confident within ourselves.

Although the problems we face surrounding self-confidence are mostly due to society. We live in a world where everything we do, eat, watch even think is influenced by what we see around us. The lack of self-confidence within children and teenagers falls within the following:

Body image, bullying, harassment and humiliation, social media, anxiety and depression but what I’m wanting to put across to us all today is how participating in Music, Drama and Dance can help boost self- confidence in children and teenagers.

For most of our school life, we are often told to focus on the academic side but what a lot of people may not realise is that academics may not be for everyone which is why extracurricular activities are encouraged to help relieve the stress that we all face. Not one person can say that, they have never participated in one of these three categories under the arts while growing up. I am sure we all remember the fun moments of either, singing, dancing or acting be it in school, home playing dress up and being who we want to be for a small period of time Christmas plays and concerts some of us loved participating in them, others did not but no one could escape them.

Music

Self-belief is directly connected to self- confidence and music has a direct effect on our self- esteem as life is full of difficulties and music can just lift us up out of any situation. Music is a universal language and no matter what emotion we may feel there is music for it all. By listening to music, it allows us to find our own voice as well as how to deal with our emotions.

Finnish music therapist, Jukko Tervo said when speaking on rock music:

“Music can emotionally affect adolescents at a deeper level than is possible with words alone. Rock music, enable adolescents to express, to be in contact with, and to share amongst themselves feelings of anger, rage, grief, longing, and isolation, as well as to experience closeness”

Not only that but music helps to develop cognitive, perceptual and motor skills, which can be transferred, to different kinds of intellectual activities as reported by Assistant Professor of Neurology Harvard Medical School, Dr. Mark Tramo.

Classical pianist, Lang Lang interviewed by Tes magazine stated that “as long as music tuition is done properly, you will see students learn how to focus, learn how to commit, learn how to be creative, it teaches you logic. It can be mathematical. And if you have a child struggling with a text, it can help to express that text through music, to use music as a medium of interpretation”

Through researching the benefits of music on self-esteem and confidence in the lives of children and teenagers, I have discovered a lot of skills music helps contribute to our daily lives.

Drama

Like Music in terms of finding ourselves, drama helps us to find our identity and contributes to academic life by helping children’s reading and writing through drama activities and script learning and analysis. Through practising these skills, it can help improve children and teenager’s self-confidence.

Secondly, it helps improve the public speaking skills of children and teenagers by getting them to project their voice, which is an essential life skill needed later in life for talks, presentations and speeches that further allows them to be able to voice their own opinions.

Drama helps both children and teenagers with their social skills giving them the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. For example, I have always been shy and lacked confidence growing up. Through drama I had seen another side to me as I had always struggled with speaking in public, still do at times to this day but through doing what I enjoy or simply just watching drama I have been able to take what I’ve learned and apply it into my life.

We gain creativity skills from participating in drama, the world where anything is possible as we create a virtual world to escape to and bring our fantasies to life. Roleplaying different characters and professions growing up. The most common of which are teachers and doctors.

Even as adults, it’s important to free our minds from reality and escape to a virtual world. All we need to do is take a break and enjoy the Arts, be it Music, Dance or Drama. I  have to admit I’m not one for dancing but when I have completely forgotten about those around me while listening to my favourite tunes. I can’t help but move along to the beat by dancing without a care in the world.

Cheryl Lock’s article, ‘Turn to the Arts to Boost Self-Esteem’ shows that by taking part in either Music, Drama or Dance children and teenagers can feel more confident in the classroom as it leads to higher test scores in the classroom. Although not fully linked into self-confidence within children and teenagers themselves, I was able to see the impact the Arts can have on a child/teenager’s education.

Thus shows the importance of getting children and teenagers into the Arts rather than solely focusing on academics so they can grow within themselves and the arts to become a more confident version of themselves.

I interviewed a former actor now teacher from the Royal Conservatoire Ali De Souza and he pointed out the problems, he noticed among his Scottish students about their confidence in acting. He talks about how they lacked self-belief in themselves and were initially in the wrong mindset as they believed they weren’t good enough actors.

He states “Scottish students talk too quickly, don’t open their mouths to speak clearly” which ends up holding them back from their full potential. When asked if Irish pupils are the same. I simply said “Everyone is like that” and this is mostly due to society’s perception of how we should be, look and act and it really knocks the confidence of a young child /teenager.

ARTS GIVE PEOPLE THE CHANCE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN A WAY THEY MAY NOT BE ABLE TO IN ACADEMICS.

Even the shyest of pupils can improve their self- confidence through speech and drama training. Back when I was living in Ireland through primary school, I remember teachers asking whether we wanted to participate in speech and drama training.

What this consists of is learning a poem and projecting our voices and learning to change the tone of our voices to suit the poem we were reading. To show our progress at the end of all the work we put in. We would read it in front of the whole school and in turn receive an award at the end of it all.

DANCE

Dancing can make us happy we may not establish it as the cause but when dancing we release happy – inducing endorphins. Dance helps our self-confidence by allowing us to let go and feel free. There is many different ways to dance as each country have their own traditional ways of doing so. It is through just messing around that all these different dance crazes are created.

What adds to our lack of self-confidence when wanting to dance is seeing those around us and having the mindset that we can’t dance like them/like that. The truth is once we shake it off and realise we shouldn’t compare ourselves, we just end up having more fun completely dispelling the fear we once had over dancing be it in public, at parties or simply in our own homes.

Sam, a Dance teacher at IN-SYK Studios, a dance group she founded herself after years of dancing, choreographing and participating in what she loved had agreed to the fact her self-confidence grew when she was younger. Having started dance at the age of two it was all she knew. The advice she gave to children and teenagers  had been the same as everyone I had managed to interview which was to believe in themselves as without that we can’t go on to achieve our goals. It is easy for others to believe in us but for ourselves it is the hardest thing to do wouldn’t you say?

When researching a psychologist’s viewpoint on adolescence and self- confidence Carl E Pickhardt Ph.D. states in part of his book ‘Surviving your Child’s Adolescence’ that there are three possible contributors to self-confidence:

Faith – ‘Belief in one’s capacity is the foundation on which self-confidence depends.’ – we have got to shake off the attitude that we can’t do something and instead set a positive one to tackle our problems.

Effort – Effort is the engine that makes self-confidence run – without hard work and determination, we can’t expect things to go our way. Everything takes time to see a result.

Outcome – ‘Outcomes affect self-confidence. A happy one can reinforce faith in capacity and recharge the engine of effort, self-confidence coming out stronger.’ – In reverse Self-confidence lacks when the outcome is not what was expected.

All of these contributors can be applied to anything we may do in life not just the Performing Arts but we experience our first connection with all three of these way before we start school but our understanding only deepens when we get older and are set goals in which we need to achieve a certain outcome.

“Don’t give up too easily”

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

“To overcome fear is the best way to gain self-confidence”

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation”

“If you’re not good at academic subjects, STEM subjects that’s fine”

Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy”.

Through searching for opinions from teenagers online whether Music, Drama or Dance can boost their self-confidence, I found a few statements, testifying how either one of the three have via Yahoo web community:

IslaSky – “Yes. When I was in my first year of high school I was extremely quiet and didn’t speak out in class at all, however as soon as I started Drama/Acting. I gained a lot of self-confidence and I now consider myself to be and outgoing and confident young person because of Drama.”

Anonymous– “I was in a play in my 8th grade year and it helped me TREMENDOUSLY. My parents were going through a divorce at the time so I needed something to help improve my self-esteem. I tried out for a play happening and I got a main part with my own solo and everything! Sure, acting can be a nerve wracking thing when you get on stage and perform, but it’s sooooo much fun believe me, and you get to make new friends too. It helped me through such a rut in my life.

I say if you’re interested in acting go for it! I doubt you will have any regrets. 🙂

These words alone can help cast away the fears we may face when hitting a block in our path. Just knowing that it’s ok to follow your dreams regardless of having academic ability is enough to show those struggling in school that everything is alright. We are all different and our skills lie in different places.

To conclude Music, Drama and Dance do indeed contribute to boosting children and teenagers                          

So don’t worry – find your passion be it in Music, Drama, Dance or anything else that may interest you?

Do it and believe within yourself that you can reach your end goal all it takes is finding that self-confidence within.

 

 

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