As a father of two boys, I am constantly inspired and challenged, to expose my children to the variety of cultural avenues available to them. For those who are not aware, I am both a music educator and performer and have spent many years collaborating with, or working alongside, artists of many kinds. Being involved in the cultural department here at Crawford La Lucia, I have to been exposed to the various arts disciplines on offer and have been privileged to work alongside colleagues who invest in their pupils with determination, creativity, and excellence.
I am naturally biased towards the arts; however, I truly believe, wholeheartedly, that the arts offer each child a variety of skills and experiences which are not only vital to their development but are integral to their entire wellbeing.
Spending time with our art teacher, I have learned the value of perspective. How I see the world around me shapes my response to it. She has taught me to see the beauty in both the big and small, the flower and the horizon and has inspired me to ‘see’ the world around me with fresh eyes and to take time to contemplate its beauty and vibrancy.
When I watch our drama pupils, I learn the value of the presentation, the importance of body language when communicating a message, and how to connect to an audience using my words and expression. I believe this skill is vital, both in the boardroom and the stage and I know that for both of my sons, their success will often be determined by how they present their ideas in a creatively compelling way.
From our dance department, I have learned the value of developing a healthy self-image, self-confidence and most importantly, the breaking of gender stereotypes. Dance is no longer a ‘girls’ subject, it is now commonplace for boys to outnumber the girls and this is truly so exciting. My oldest son dances and it is not uncommon for him to practice his dance moves in front of the mirror. As he does so he is learning important lessons about body movement, is challenged to remember intricate choreography and best of all, is being physically active whilst he does so.
And finally, from our music department. Learning an instrument requires discipline, commitment, patience, and determination, just to name a few. As a practice routine is established, pupils learn the value of being balanced and learning how to give all their commitments the necessary time and attention. When performing, pupils learn how to handle their nerves, conduct themselves professionally in front of audiences large and small and how to receive constructive feedback. When entering exams, pupils learn the importance of goal setting and that to achieve a long-term goal, one needs to plan small achievable steps. The skills of improvisation and composition teach pupils to both trust and value their ideas and how to respond when placed ‘on the spot’ in both a calm and creative manner.
Truly, the list is endless for each art discipline. As a father, I want all of the above for my boys. I know that one day, they will enter a professional world where they will need to be flexible, solution orientated, creative, well-balanced, determined and more. I truly believe that the arts equip them for this world and develops in them the skills required to not only engage with it but more importantly, to thrive! If you have yet to do so, I cannot encourage you enough to begin exploring the arts with your child and to receive the wonderful experiences and lessons that they all have to give.
By Gareth Gale, Crawford Preparatory La Lucia