Top 10 Skills taught at CoSA

Posted by: Shane Schmeichel 3 years, 9 months ago

Top 10 Skills taught at CoSA

Top 10 skills children learn from the arts

By Valerie Strauss , Updated: January 22, 2013

You don’t find school reformers talking much about how we need to train more teachers in

the arts, given the current obsession with science, math, technology and engineering (STEM),

but here’s a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts. They serve as a

reminder that the arts — while important to study for their intrinsic value — also promote

skills seen as important in academic and life success. (That’s why some people talk about

changing the current national emphasis on STEM to STEAM.) This was written by Lisa

Phillips is an author, blog journalist, arts and leadership educator, speaker and business

owner. To learn about Lisa’s book, “The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in

an Increasingly Right Brain World,” click here. This appeared on the ARTSblog, a program

of Americans for the Arts.

By Lisa Phillips

1. Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives

and think ‘outside of the box’ will distinguish your child from others. In an arts program,

your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that

represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have

practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

2. Confidence – The skills developed through theater, not only train you how to

convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence you need to take command of

the stage. Theater training gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and

allows them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children

the confidence to perform in front of large audiences.

3. Problem Solving – Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I

turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How

will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the

arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving

develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important

problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.

4. Perseverance – When a child picks up a violin for the first time, she/he knows that

playing Bach right away is not an option; however, when that child practices, learns the skills

and techniques and doesn’t give up, that Bach concerto is that much closer. In an

increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new

skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.

5. Focus – The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work. Keeping a

balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus.


It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to

the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the

arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives.

6. Non-Verbal Communication – Through experiences in theater and dance education,

children learn to breakdown the mechanics of body language. They experience different

ways of moving and how those movements communicate different emotions. They are then

coached in performance skills to ensure they are portraying their character effectively to the


7. Receiving Constructive Feedback – Receiving constructive feedback about a

performance or visual art piece is a regular part of any arts instruction. Children learn that

feedback is part of learning and it is not something to be offended by or to be taken

personally. It is something helpful. The goal is the improvement of skills and evaluation is

incorporated at every step of the process. Each arts discipline has built in parameters to

ensure that critique is a valuable experience and greatly contributes to the success of the final


8. Collaboration – Most arts disciplines are collaborative in nature. Through the arts,

children practice working together, sharing responsibility, and compromising with others to

accomplish a common goal. When a child has a part to play in a music ensemble, or a theater

or dance production, they begin to understand that their contribution is necessary for the

success of the group. Through these experiences children gain confidence and start to learn

that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role.

9. Dedication – When kids get to practice following through with artistic endeavors that

result in a finished product or performance, they learn to associate dedication with a feeling

of accomplishment. They practice developing healthy work habits of being on time for

rehearsals and performances, respecting the contributions of others, and putting effort into

the success of the final piece. In the performing arts, the reward for dedication is the warm

feeling of an audience’s applause that comes rushing over you, making all your efforts


10. Accountability – When children practice creating something collaboratively they get

used to the idea that their actions affect other people. They learn that when they are not

prepared or on-time, that other people suffer. Through the arts, children also learn that it is

important to admit that you made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Because mistakes

are a regular part of the process of learning in the arts, children begin to see that mistakes

happen. We acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

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