Some kids seem as if they are born performers. We have all seen them, these precocious kids who at a young age exhibit a flair for the stage and a personality that lights up every room.
Most kids that have this personality lose it as they head to their teens, but many still retain it. When we observe them we immediately think that they must have been practicing their talent in the womb and this made them born to be a star.
But the reality is that stars and made not born. Yes, the child may be fearless on stage and possess charm and talent, but that talent must be developed, and there are so many more attributes that the child must master in order to make it as a professional performing artist.
To build and refine the needed skills the child needs schooling. This entails teachers who can give the child guidance in their chosen art and an environment that can create experiences that simulate the realities of the performing arts industries.
For this purpose there are performing arts high schools where talented young people gather to learn to become proficient in their art and to acquire knowledge and skills that can help them succeed in the entertainment business. Today there are 3,000 performing arts high schools in the US.
Some performing arts high schools are public schools that have a focus on performing arts. Most cities have at least one of these types of high schools. There are also many private schools that focus on performing arts.
The most immersive of these schools are boarding schools that provide a near seven day a week immersion in all things performing arts. Besant Hill School for example, one of the top boarding schools in California has one of the most comprehensive performing arts programs in the country. Students are treated with constant access to training, performance opportunities, and the best teachers.
Not every child is capable however, and not every talented child will make it, but they will get their best chance at these institutions. Here are some of the things to understand about how they operate and what they offer.
Performing Arts Schools Will Not Cater to Every Performing Art
These schools will not accommodate every type of musical instrument, style of dance or acting. They will however cover the major categories and the major sub-categories. Areas of focus will always be: dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Under these headings you can expect the popular disciplines. As an example under dance a school will always offer ballet, modern, and tap. Music will cover the main instruments and theater will have drama and musical theater. Each school will also offer other types of arts, but you will have to enquire which specific ones they offer.
Getting into a Good Performing Arts High School is Tough
The best performing arts high schools will often get many times the requests for admissions than openings they have available. Students from around the world will likely be seeking to attend, so there will be international competition for the limited openings at the school. This means students have to have great grades, a fantastic attitude, extremely talented and do a great job at the performance and school interviews.
You Child Will have to Audition
All performing arts schools requires that potential students audition in the area they wish to study. This means your child will have to have great proficiency in their art. Your child will also have to demonstrate this proficiency in front of a panel of judges and teachers who are professionals. With this in mind parents should focus on having their child practice live performance technique, and master the piece to be played at the audition.
There is a Steep Learning Curve
Nearly immediately students are involved in some type of performance project that will require them to stretch their skillsets and knowledge. These schools are set up to teach and train on the go, so students work toward real performances, and with other students in groups that require teamwork and coordination. This is often a jolt for students, particularly those used to solo performance. They will have to work in teams and on collaborative projects.
Students Will Get a Well-Rounded Education
The focus of a performing arts high school is to give talented kids the training and experience to advance themselves toward becoming a professional in their desired art. The good schools do this exceptionally well. They also ensure that students receive an outstanding academic education. So classes like math, English and social sciences are also taught by excellent teachers using the most effective teaching methods. If students cannot keep up in any of these classes, there will be steps taken including tutoring and extra classes to get the students proficient. There will be balance in terms of class load and focus for students. Performing arts schools build well rounded confident students. Even if they do not become performers that usually excel in whatever career they choose.