Music and the Arts in a Private Boys’ School

Music and the Arts in a Private Boys’ School

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 12:53pm
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The best private schools in the country strive to help students become successful in academics, athletics, and the arts. This “triple threat” student is often sought after by secondary schools and colleges. Most schools are successful in creating programs that give students opportunities in academics and athletics, yet the arts are often underresourced and treated as an afterthought. Add the dynamic of an all-boys school, and it is easy to lose sight of the importance of the arts.

Boys, from a young age, are encouraged to play sports. This is a natural response to their energy and enthusiasm. Who doesn’t know a three-year-old boy who is drawn to a ball? The ubiquitous appeal of sports draws even the youngest. An all-boys school will often capitalize on the “sporty” nature of kids by offering sports-based PE classes and organized team sports after school.

There is certainly nothing wrong with providing athletic opportunities for boys. The only disservice happens when sports are offered at the exclusion of the arts. Boys need a solid arts education, which allows them to experience and express emotions through hands-on, creative endeavors. The expressive nature of the arts transcends language and is an important part of connecting humans to one another. There is no other school subject that can powerfully address this basic need, and single-sex schools are poised to address this need in way that give students confidence.

“The earlier a child starts instrumental training, the stronger the connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.”

As with language arts, specialized techniques must be built and practiced for a child to develop fluency in the visual and performing arts. Schools must invest the time and offer the curricula to help students gain the necessary skills. PDS boys begin with singing, rhythm study, and movement. Soon after, they start the study of a musical instrument and develop the ability to self-express through music. According to a Concordia University study, “The earlier a child starts instrumental training, the stronger the connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.”

Similarly, in the visual arts, younger students need to focus on learning to draw, understanding the mixing of colors, and experiencing different media. This early investment in creative endeavors will not only give our young boys the skills needed to create art but also provide a firm foundation for future engineers, designers, and architects.

In addition to music and visual arts, boys’ schools should encourage their students to be involved in plays and dance programs. To improve education for boys, PDS consciously strives to break gender-related barriers and stereotypes. Boys are encouraged to be strong readers, mathematicians, scientists, and athletes. Schools designed for boys must encourage students to be invested in all areas of the curriculum. The arts — whether visual or performing — must be an equal part of boys’ education programs.

Last modified on Friday, 10 February 2017
Steve Hancock

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