The Fine Arts And Our Kids

| June 2, 2013 | 0 Comments

Harvard psychologist and expert on intelligence, Howard Gardner, has identified seven forms of intelligence:

  • Visual/spatial
  • Musical
  • Kinesthetic – Movements of muscles and tendons
  • Interpersonal – Interactive, social skills
  • Intrapersonal – Internal thought development processes
  • Verbal
  • Logical    

Gardner says that the first five of these forms of intelligence are advanced by the fine arts. Verbal and logical intelligence are nurtured in school curriculums but can definitely be enhanced by the fine arts. Who can act or sing without outstanding verbal skills? Who can act, play a musical instrument or dance without outstanding kinesthetic intelligence.

But, perhaps the most threatened skills to our society by the technology we now rely upon at every instance is the ability of ourselves and our children to develop strong interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.

Magician

Can we exist without texting? Do we e-mail so that we do not have to interact verbally? Does television weaken our children’s communication skills and limit their creative abilities?

Parents have intimidating, courageous decisions to make. We have the good fortune to know lots of children age ten and under. We know a household where five boys, aged 11 and under are only permitted to view television on a very limited basis, usually hockey games. These boys love their games, all the games.

I wondered about these limitations. I mean boys will be boys and they are definitely active. But, I can tell you, these disciplines work. The boys are learning to play different musical instruments. They sample, languages. They are unafraid of new learning experiences. When they speak, they look you the eye and ask or inform as the situation commands. They ask great questions.

Fine Arts in Your Home and Community

In the USA, the fine arts are in trouble. The value of fine arts is a much under-estimated by communities, families and taxpayers. When we consider the technology to which today’s children and students have easy access, it is easy to see why we have lost our way in the pursuit of fine arts.

School budgets seem to reflect the attitude of the general public. Music classes, arts, voice lessons, acting lessons and dance lessons have either left or been severely trimmed at high schools. These valuable, gratifying, enriching pursuits have been pushed to the back shelf in favor of what school boards think will lead to jobs.

The problem is that when we do not encourage the fine arts, we are discouraging them. If our children fall behind in the basics of a fine art, it is nearly impossible to catch up. The fine arts not only broaden our horizons but they inspire our creative spirits and instill learning disciplines that transcend all aspects of our scripted and unscripted learning processes.

Learning

In a world where youngsters navigate the computer at ungodly ages and can flip through an iPad with ease by age four, how many are excited to sing? To dance? To act? These creative forms of self-expression are critical to preserve and expand our culture.

Kudos to parents who make the tough decisions that can be unpopular at times. Every student should pursue at least one fine art. Parents would be wise to control television and computer usage and kids should read, read, read. Learning to sing, to dance, to act to verbalize has no downside.  That’s the way I see it. I’m interested in your thoughts.   

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