Artistic expression is the epitome of a thriving community. Whenever ancient artifacts are found, a glimpse into the past presents itself. Visions of prosperous individuals, imaginings of communal events, and evidence of the past help the modern person understand the importance of expression. After all, any artistic expression indicates the value of human events, the struggles of mankind, and perhaps the desire to demonstrate the beauty in everyday things. Sophocles’ plays are indicative of the time they were created for a certain purpose in his society. Acting out the order of events often helped the people around him see, feel, and maybe even change their minds about controversial issues. Petroglyphs, and the like, leave impressions for the viewer to ponder the thoughts and realities of a past culture. The pictures, while primitive, display man’s early need to create. Proof of this desire is demonstrative in music formed to prepare or educate those around the performers. Musical patterns are fascinating to the human ear. Our nursery rhymes are based on repeated patterns that stimulate the brain and help people learn. A past discovery of musical vibrations enabled many deaf students tremendous opportunity for growth. Recently, taking theater, art, and music out of schools has been a heated debate. Educators of these genres fight to continue these programs while others see less significance. What is troubling is a possible future without the modes of self-expression established early in life. Individuals in these fields currently bring delight to many and fulfill basic needs, especially through catharsis, an emotional cleansing. Solid cultures rely on human expression and emphasis must be made to help developing students by teaching them the basics of theater, art, and music in school all three of which enable students to learn efficiently, serve as an invest in people, and establish a sense of pride in individuality that transcends into the future.
Proficiency in any area of the current curriculum is brought forth when the style learning and application suits the students. At an early age, the brain is attracted to patterns, rhythms, and geometrical shapes engaging attention. As people grow older, established patterns of language in stories or in music trigger what is known as anticipatory skills. When one hears a pattern in either story-telling or in music, one anticipates what comes next. If what is predicted follows, the brain is further encouraged. The same happens for students who are involved in dance or performing arts. They tend to learn anatomy much quicker because they associate the movement with function. Younger students learn motor skills integral for early development. The math classroom engages a student more when she can learn time signatures when playing the drums. One of the fundamental truths about music beats and rhythms is that makes people move. “It is as important to have music in the school as it is to have clean windows, adequate ventilation, and sanitation. A half-day in school without music is like a face without a smile, or a desert landscape” (Winship 508). When something is as essential to the early development of the brain, it makes better sense to endow its abilities to continue. If schools understand and utilize the concepts here, learning becomes natural and less of a chore.
Engaged students express their individuality as they learn to become self-directed. The usual banking based education is less a problem when valuable skills are learned through discovery and not just on facts. While details of the past and present are needed to fully grow, autonomous students gain meaning when they seek out the answers on their own. A study at the Chicago High School for the Arts indicated that students became individuals during their four years: “A key part of an artist’s development comes from an acceptance of oneself and one’s point of view” (Brown 18). Maturity is useful in any situation because it prepares the student for life. It is not to say those who “embrace an artistic identity” are less likely to be team players (Brown 18). Collaboration is taught within performance, whether that performance be in the orchestra, or a single singer on a stage. The painter, sculptor, or photographer builds community as well. She understands the human condition, feels her own completeness, and aims to demonstrate her views: “Esthetic perception of art is associated with the development of personality and disposition” (Lese 184). Art in schools enables students to embrace and grown into their individual natures. The world outside the classroom needs people who are confident in their abilities and who know which temperaments they possess. A common complaint among employers is the lack of team players who can bring new approaches to difficult situations. The foundation built by allowing students creative outlets aids within the work-a-day world even if the individual does pursue a career in the arts: “Special relations of friendship were established among the students […], which in turn lead to a better collaboration between the departments” (Lese 184). The Lese study also indicates that no matter which medium a student is familiar, lessons learned in the arts establishes adaptability. Those who enter the workforce with this background are able to direct individual skills and function well across any discipline.
Empowering students should be the main focus of any school’s curriculum. Students who are allowed to express themselves creatively attain the well-rounded attributes often looked for by colleges and society. A high school transcript that reflects the grades is helpful, but it does not assess a person’s capability after receiving a diploma. True investment in students builds self esteem and establishes certain coping mechanisms. A student taught to have integrity, along with humility and balance is more likely to adapt to the ever-changing situations in life. Art allows students to learn self-calming techniques because it “brings a chance to talk, relax, get out any blocking social dramas, or forget their doubts” (Brown 16). When students unlock and focus on the task at hand, art becomes constructive, similar to the means of therapy. Concentration becomes an outlet while the student builds on his talents and confidence. Often the appropriate allotted time immersed in artistic activities, whether through movement or creative thinking, allows for stretching and attempting new things. Because disparity is rarely seen within the arts, students are free to partake in the beneficial aspects of self-expression without artistic or societal boundaries. Remember, society receives what it puts out: “A work of art triggers emotion, admiration and appreciation in the onlooker, thus revealing the author’s comprehensive view as he moves through various stages in knowing and comprehending art” (Lese 183). Schools that allow art programs authorize students to take ownership of the contributions they will make to the world.
Society needs people who are not afraid to express themselves through art. Artists and onlookers appreciate the role education plays in the world. Without the values placed on former and newly built cultures, life would seem dull. Seeing a play, watching or listening to a musical performance, or entering a gallery are some the many pleasures of the human experience. The foundation built in schools enables the new artist a position in a circle of expertise. It fulfills a human need that spans all backgrounds. Art education in the school unlocks unique abilities in all students whether or not they choose to pursue a path of artist expression as form of income. It must be emphasized again that those abilities are established because the art of learning is individual. When the schools can teach that individuality is recognized and praised, students are given the chance to learn specifically what they need to flourish. It is when the students’ ideas and talents are invested and groomed that society gains its most useful resources.
Without the arts, we would not have Harper Lee’s latest publication. Get it here:
If you’re into Georgia O’Keefe, take a look here:
Brown, Tina Boyer. “A High School for the Arts.” Journal of Education 195.1 (2015): 15-19. Education Research Complete. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Lese, Ana-Cristina. “The Importance of Artistic Creation Resulting from the Collaboration/Interaction of Arts.” Review of Artistic Education 9 (2015): 182-5. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Winship, A. E. “The Vision of Public School Music.” The Journal of Education 77. 19 (1913): 507-508. Jstor. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.