“You’re not putting MY son in a tutu!”
Why your son should study fine arts.
A few years ago I had a mother come into my studio to enquire about performing arts classes for her young son. It appeared that she was distressed—doing something that wouldn’t meet with her husband’s approval. She said that her son did not enjoy sports activities but her husband kept insisting that he participate. She said her son was musical and artistic and that she felt that this should be cultivated—but obviously this idea had not gone over well with dad—and a martial dispute ensued!! She wanted to get my view on the matter.
I told her that fathers who react like this have, more often than naught, been brought up with the idea that dancing is not masculine, that if allowed to dance or pursue drama or music, their son will be effeminate. At the end of the day, they often don’t want to have to deal with their adult friends or relatives and how they may view his decision to allow his son to participate. These are often the same fathers that tell their son to buck up and not cry and “be a man” when they are upset about something.
So dads, in hopes of providing enlightenment and easing martial tension—I would like to share with you what the arts can do for the young male in your household! Let’s begin with:
Studying music teaches your son how to take a problem and figure out how to fix it! Taking on a technical challenge when playing an instrument teaches him to take that problem apart, figure out ways to make it work and then see the results when it does! This skill will be an asset all through his school years and on into the w. Counting rhythm and understanding note values and the intricacies of simple and compound rhythm teaches math skills and develops the same part of the brain that math does.
How many of you would like that young man to be the school valedictorian, a lawyer, a school teacher or perhaps even the next prime minister? All of these goals require the ability to be a successful public speaker! He must exhibit self-confidence and stage presence, be able to project his voice without the assistance of amplification and use his body, mind and voice all at the same time. He must be quick on his feet, be capable of memorizing large amounts of information, be able to recover from unexpected memory lapses or distractions and never let his audience know that something has gone wrong! All of these skills are taught in a drama class.
Have you ever watched that hockey player—slick on the ice, outstanding balance, able to turn as though on the head of a pin? Or the basketball player who can jump so high and yet land so lightly? The swimmer with the beautiful long arm strokes, moving rhythmically with his body? Wrestlers and boxers, light on their feet, strength in their bodies? Many sports professionals study ballet and dance. They do it to develop muscle tone, balance and coordination. It teaches them to be light on their feet and to use the correct muscles, be aware of their bodies and avoid injury.
Architect? Graphic designer? Draftsman? Animator? All of these careers are visual arts-based. Art classes teach an understanding of colour and how the mixing of colours can change a mood, giving the image an entirely different look. Drawing teaches perspective, shading and all sorts of other skills that develop an eye for detail.
So dads—lighten up! Teach your son to love life and what the arts can do, not only for his body and mind but also for his soul! Masculinity is based on more than kicking a soccer ball or being the tough guy on the playground. It’s about respect for himself, respect for the females in his life and about understanding that life is what we make of it and that the more things we try to do, the better person we become for having tried them!