How Performing Builds Confidence & Self Esteem

 “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

As children and teens navigate their great big world they can’t help but feel small and insignificant. The lucky ones are those who find something they love at an early age.  The rest seem to gravitate toward whatever they are closest to or where they feel the most accepted. I have always loved the opening quote of this blog because of its truth.  In life there will always be those who hear the music and those who don’t. Even more there will always be those who dance when they hear the music and those who don’t.  Performing Arts Programs create a fun and structured space for kids to navigate the ups and downs of their adolescence.

though insane

Learning how to perform, singing with and in front of others, dancing as part of a team or group – all of these things help kids build a sense of purpose, camaraderie, confidence, and self esteem. Cheryl Lock’s article, “Turn to the Arts to Boost Self Esteem” , that was published on PBS.Org,  had a lot of great things to say about how the arts positively affect children. She also mentioned,

A 2005 Harris Poll found that 93 percent of Americans agreed the arts are vital to providing a well-rounded education for children. In another 2009 study, 12 years of data was collected for the National Educational Longitudinal Survey to look at the effect of education, visual, and performing arts on the achievement and values of children. The study found that students who were highly involved with the arts outperformed less-involved peers, even within low socioeconomic groups. Music, in particular, helps provide children with improved classroom skills, including critical thinking, creative problem solving, team work, and effective communication.

change the world

A few months ago the founders of INSPIRE were able to witness one of their students sit down at a piano and sing a solo in front of a room filled with complete strangers. This particular student started coming to INSPIRE Youth classes a few years ago but she was quiet and lacked confidence in her abilities. After some time, a few solos, and lots of of bonding through the power music, she grew into an incredible performer. It was amazing to sit and watch her put those skills into action.

“Music CAN change the world because it CAN change the people.” (Bono Vox-U2)

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How Jester’Z Inspires

INSPIRE Entertainment was excited to invite Jester’Z over to help our students with improvisation.  “Since 2001 JesterZ Improv has been the leader of Improv comedy in the Phoenix Metro area. Whether you have performed as a Jester, taken one of the classes or been to our weekly shows, you know the value of JesterZ Improv to the Mesa/Phoenix area.” They offer Improv Classes, Live Performances, and Corporate Experiences!

We had so much fun working with the Improv specialist and learning some life long communication/social skills! Our students had the opportunity to play a few Improv games such as: “Yes, Let’s” where one partner would say “let’s go to the movies”, the other would say “yes and we’ll eat popcorIMG_20150217_194806n” and then the other person would say “Yes, let’s” and then they would physically move like they were going to do it. Another time they had the students give an applause with 100% energy and it was the loudest the kids had ever been!

Two other Improv games we played were called, ” Yeah, I know Because…” where you act like you know everything on stage. So one partner would say something and the other partner would say, “Yeah, I know because…” And the “Freeze” game where a group stood in a circle and 2 people were in the middle acting out a scene. Someone standing in the outer circle said freeze, goes and taps one of the 2 in the middle, and takes their place being frozen in the same position as the person they tapped, and then they continued the scene. Besides having a lot of fun there are some great lessons learned from improv and some assumptions that are just wrong.

Wrong Assumptions

You Have to be Funny. The goal of improv is to pay attention and  fully commit to whatever you’re doing. When everyone does a few simple things well, in the right time, the result is comedy.

 You Have to be Good at it Already. Improv isn’t so much about talent as it is to commitment, enthusiasm, and a willingness to go there. It’s mostly about good old fashion games and timing.

It’s Hard to Learn. It’s amazing what happens when you throw people together, give them some rules, and let them make magic!

Lessons Learned

Play is Important! It is important to get back to our childhood roots now and again and just wiggle around, play, and have fun. Everyone needs to take the weight of the world off their shoulders and learn to be really present.

Making Room for Laughter. Taking time to laugh is essential to happiness in life. Thinking about the funny things you said or were asked to do in an Improv class can lighten any day/moment. Laughter and Improv build character and create a space where new and old friendships can blossom.

Questions and No’s Get in the Way. The improv rule of “Yes…and” makes it clear that questions kill momentum and slow things down. In this manner it gets people to try things before they ask a million questions. The game offers you a chance to build on others’ energy and for them to build on your energy.

Improvisation is Everywhere. Life is full of acting. No one gives you a script of how to say your lines or do your part throughout the day. Improv helps you to think on your feet, focus on the present, and work with others for an intended or unintended outcome.

INSPIRE was grateful to have the opportunity to do some workshops with Jester’Z and we plan to continue this kind of community outreach in the future!