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The Importance of the Arts in School


The importance of the Arts in school and beyond 

  • How many of you listened to the radio either at home this morning or on your way into school?
  • How many of you have been to a pop concert or music festival this year?
  • How many of you have created something artistic either in school or at home, or just enjoy the mindful colouring in?
  • How many of you learn an instrument (that of course includes singing), have Speech and Drama lessons or dance?
  • How many of you have read at least one novel for pleasure this year?
  • How many of you have been, or will this year, be in a school production or concert?

I think that everyone was able to put their hand up for at least one of those questions.  That means that we all value the arts in our lives in some form or another.  Imagine life with no music, colour or stories.  We would certainly be all the more impoverished without the arts. Cast your minds back to the Music Assembly a week or so ago when Lucy and Flo inspired us all by getting up and helping us to learn the Black Eyed Peas song ‘Where is the Love’?  It was a fantastic moment and one which we will all remember.

Why are the arts so important?  You all know that I trained to be a music teacher and so I have been thinking about what I have gained from my musical training that I have been able to transfer into my role as a teacher and now a Headmistress.  First and foremost, standing up and performing in front of an audience from the age of 11, has given me the confidence to speak in public.  So many people say to me that they could never speak in pubic, let alone sing, play or take a principal role in a play.  Well, there are two things in response: learning how to present in public is the first step and then it is a matter of practice.  The more you do it, the more confident you feel. 

You have to be prepared to feel nervous – I always feel nervous but the adrenalin is there to help you perform at your best - have a go, be outside your comfort zone and be prepared for the fact that sometimes things don’t go quite to plan.  I remember getting up to sing in a competition and announcing my song by saying, “I would like to go to sleep” instead of saying that I would like to sing ‘Sleep’ by Ivor Gurney.  As you can imagine I was embarrassed but nothing terrible happened and I sang the song without any further mishap.   

The arts gives us a whole range of skills that we can put to good use, especially the ability to think creatively and interpret the world around us.  Learning an instrument or learning lines for a play helps your brain to become even better at concentrating, memorising and persevering.  But the arts also gives us a better understanding of the world around us and its history.  Last year, our production of ‘Ghetto’ was much more than a play.  It brought home to us all the atrocities of war and speaking to some of you who took part, you went as far as to say that it was a life-changing experience as it gave you an understanding of World War II that would never have gained from just reading about it. 

It is also a proven fact that listening to classical music helps maximise academic performance. But of equal importance is to ensure that we have a rich diet of the arts.  Listening to one style of music, or reading one genre of novel is not ideal.  We need to expose ourselves to as much as we possibly can with the knowledge that we will not necessarily like it all but that we think about our likes and dislikes and formulate a rationale rather than merely making sweeping statements such as “I don’t like classical music” or that “modern art is not real art”. 

So, just as one of our aims this year is for us all to embrace our Sport and Wellbeing afternoons and find our activity that appeals to us, we also need to balance our physical fitness with time for creative pursuits which are enriching in so many different ways.  That applies to all of us at KC – teachers as well as students.  So, what is your creative project going to be this year?  Just to let you know that I am in the process of working on mine and I will tell you more about it in due course.  I look forward to hearing what you are all doing and with that in mind, can I remind you that my Open Door times are between 1.15 and 1.45 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, so please do pop in – I would really love to hear what you are up to be it in class, Sport and Wellbeing, Music, Drama, Dance, Art or any other activity. 

Posted: 11/10/2017 at 13:40
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