When parents discover that their children or teenagers have developed an interest in or discovered a natural aptitude for acting, they often become curious about the value of enrolling their offspring in professional acting classes.
We have created this guide to help parents of budding thespians explore the many practical benefits provided in the basic acting classes for beginners, regardless of whether their children go on to pursue a career in the dramatic arts or ultimately choose to follow another path.
Now, we know that not all children who participate in professional acting classes will go on to become superstars on the stage or screen. However, the skills and knowledge that they develop throughout their training will carry forward into their future life no matter the direction that they choose.
Let\’s take a look at all of the areas of your child\’s life, whether directly related to the performing arts or not that will be enhanced through the training received in professional acting classes.
Emotional Development Benefits
Professional acting classes for children provide an array of emotional development benefits at a critical juncture in the maturing and learning process when the cultivating and nurturing of strong emotional skills can be most beneficial.
As children learn to step into the role of another character, they learn to understand the different thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that motivate other people to behave and react in the way that they do.
By its very nature, performance art of any kind requires the performer to be vulnerable with themselves and, most importantly, with other people. Learning how to be vulnerable with others is a critical tool to help ensure healthy relationships later in life.
Acting requires that the actor be able to tap into their own emotions, as well as interpret the emotions of those around them. Emotional intelligence is developed and honed as young actors learn to read and react appropriately to the emotional cues given off by other actors as they play their roles.
Actors must learn to deal with disappointment, mishaps, and criticism in a constructive and positive way so that they may continue to nurture and grow their dream. This helps to develop resilient nature, which will prove beneficial as they face the myriad challenges of everyday life both on stage, and off.
Thinking Outside The Box
Improvisation is a large part of an actor\’s training regimen. This aspect of professional acting coaching helps children to develop the ability to think outside of the box as they brainstorm new ideas on the fly.
As mentioned previously, the world of performance art is chock full of harsh truths, rejections, criticisms, mistakes, mishaps, and disappointments. To paraphrase Murphy\’s Law, if something can go wrong, it very likely will. However, as we know, the show must go on! This means that actors must learn to persevere in the face of challenges and setbacks if they hope to realize their dreams.
Actors must learn to be excellent problem solvers. They must learn what their character\’s objectives are and reason through how their character is most likely to act in order to further their objectives. The actor must then figure out how to convey their character\’s motivations and thoughts to the audience and the other cast members.
This one is a no-brainer. Standing up on a stage in front of a live audience or standing in a rehearsal studio in front of a room full of other actors and industry professionals to deliver a monologue or improvisation is a daunting feat that requires a great deal of confidence. The confidence that students develop in the course of their professional acting classes will serve them well in every area of their life.
In order to stand out amidst a sea of other talented performers, young actors will need to develop charisma and charm. Both traits will open doors for them both in the performing arts world and their everyday lives.
Acting students must develop the ability to interact and engage with other actors and crew of various ages, cultures, and professional backgrounds. Developing the skill to understand and work with all types of people is a valuable tool to have in every area of life.
Actors use more than just their words and voices to communicate with the audience. They must also learn to be aware of their body movements to ensure that their posture, gait, and motions are all conveying the proper message.
Academic Development Benefits
Children develop a number of critical skills during the course of professional acting classes that provide an immense boost to their academic achievement as well.
Young actors must develop the ability to remain present and in the moment for long periods of time. The intense focus and active engagement developed in acting classes easily translate to an improved ability to remain focused and engaged in the classroom.
Reading and interpreting a script requires actors to develop an advanced level of literacy skills. Actors must be able to read the script and accurately decipher the meaning of what they have read using common reading comprehension and contextual cues.
The wide variety of writing and scripts that young actors will encounter throughout their training will expose them to a myriad of unfamiliar dialects and words, which they must learn the meaning of if they are to understand the meaning of what they are saying. This exposure will grow their vocabulary far beyond the bounds of traditional education.
Actors must learn to listen carefully to the verbal cues being spoken by their fellow actors, the stage crew, and the directors. These active listening skills will come in useful in learning and retaining knowledge in the academic sphere as well.
Obviously, a large part of acting classes is learning to memorize lines accurately so that they may be delivered back during the performance. The large role that memorization plays in the development of a young actor will make later memorization of facts and figures much easier as they progress through their academic careers.
People do not often think of acting as a physically demanding activity in the way that one might think of football, cheerleading, or gymnastics as a physical sport. However, when you think about all of the ways that an actor uses their body to express ideas and emotions physically, it becomes clear that agility and physical fitness play a large role in the performing arts.
Young actors will learn to control their body movements, perform stunts, participate in choreographed dance routines, and hold poses for sustained periods of time. All of these activities will help children to develop an awareness of their own bodies as they build strength, stamina, and agility.
Very few actors spend their time performing solo monologues as part of a one-person show. For most, acting is a team activity where everyone must show up and give their all to produce a successful performance. There are clear parallels between the skills learned in a children\’s acting class and the tools needed to be successful in the workforce.
As we touched on earlier, acting is absolutely a team sport. Young actors must learn to work with other members of the cast and crew and to pull their own weight in order to pull off a successful performance. They will quickly learn that every person on the team, from the stage crew to the sound team, to the director, and of course, their fellow cast members all have a crucial role to play in bringing a performance to life for the audience. The importance of teamwork is every bit as critical in the workforce as it is in the world of performing arts, and the ability to be a team player will serve students well in both arenas.
The unique nature of acting means that actors must be present and ready to perform regardless of the circumstances. After all, they cannot simply call in sick and expect the performance to continue without them. Young actors quickly learn the importance of showing up and being prepared. This strong work ethic developed during acting classes easily translates into a strong work ethic in every task that they take on.
Acting classes teach young students how to interpret thoughts and ideas and then convey those thoughts and ideas to others in a convincing manner that is easy to understand. These critical presentation skills will come in handy whether they are performing in a stage production or presenting a marketing campaign to a room full of executives.
Throughout the course of their acting training classes, young actors will be asked to analyze and critique the work of fellow actors. The skills to observe and make an objective analysis of another actor\’s performance develops the ability to view their own work and talents in a more objective manner. The ability to be objective, whether analyzing one\’s own performance or the performance of others, is a critical tool in the workforce, as much as in the rehearsal studio.
Improvisation, and of course, good old Murphy\’s Law, teaches young actors to develop a strong ability to adapt to unexpected changes, mishaps, missed cues, flubbed lines, and other glitches. This ability to think on the fly and roll with the punches will make young acting students indispensable in the workforce.
There are no two ways around it; being an actor is incredibly stressful. The high-pressure world of performing arts is filled with intense competition, frequent rejection, harsh criticism, and the pressure to consistently deliver 110% regardless of the circumstances. The stress management techniques that students will learn as a part of their acting training will prepare them to handle the pressure of whatever life and career has to throw at them.
An actor\’s reputation is a critical part of their ability to secure work and advance within their chosen arena. If an actor behaves in an unprofessional manner, it can disrupt production and reflect poorly on the entire body of work. For this reason, young actors are coached on the necessity of always behaving and conducting their work in a professional manner. This ability to behave professionally in any setting is an immense advantage regardless of the career path that they eventually choose to pursue.
Public Speaking & Communication Benefits
It clearly goes without saying that actors must be accomplished in the art of public speaking. Let\’s take a look at each of the critical skills that young actors will develop that will help them become masters in the art of communication.
Performance artists and actors, in particular, must be comfortable speaking for long periods of time in front of audiences of all sizes and backgrounds. The ability to deliver a monologue in front of a room full of fellow actors, or a packed theater, prepares students for a myriad of public speaking roles throughout their lives.
Young actors must learn to speak clearly, to enunciate, and to project their voices so that their words may be heard and clearly understood by every member of the audience from the front row to the theater balconies. By honing their oral delivery technique in acting classes, students will be able to make their voices heard in other public speaking engagements as well.
Humans in general, and actors in particular, communicate with our body movements as much as with our spoken words. Young actors will spend a considerable amount of time throughout their acting classes, learning to convey ideas and emotions through body language alone. This training allows them to hone their awareness of their own bodies and the ways that even the slightest of motions can convey a powerful message.
The improvisation exercises and performance techniques taught in acting classes teach young actors to think quickly, to react positively to unexpected changes, and to roll with the punches. All of these skills help to hone a young person\’s ability to think on their feet and to overcome challenges quickly, no matter the circumstances.
Being an actor means stepping out of one\’s self to become another person, and part of delivering a successful performance involves convincing an audience that the actor and the character are one and the same. This art of convincingly portraying the ideas and beliefs of another in a manner that engages the audience and entices them to care about the character and the story requires the young actor to become skilled in the art of persuasion. Possessing the finely honed ability to persuade an audience to adopt your point of view is an invaluable asset for any public speaker to have.
Choosing The Right Acting Classes For Your Child
Now that we have discussed the vast array of benefits to be found in enrolling your child or teenager in professional acting classes, you may be wondering how to go about choosing suitable acting classes for your budding thespian. Fortunately, there is a bevy of options available to you depending on your child\’s interests and needs, as well as your physical location.
It is vital to select an acting coach, or acting classes, that has experience working with young actors of all ages and skill levels. The acting training that you choose to be able to provide the appropriate level of instruction for your child\’s maturity level and experience.
For example, if you are in the Salt Lake, Utah area, you may want to explore the variety of acting lessons offered by The Actors In Action Conservatory, which provides various levels of acting classes, each geared towards developing the skills, and technique of actors and performers of differing ages, as they progress through the various stages of their acting training.
The other factor you will need to consider is whether your child will need to be enrolled in online acting classes or whether they will travel to a physical location to participate in on-site acting training. While there are many strong arguments to be made for the importance of in-person acting classes, your physical location may make it difficult, if not impossible, to find quality acting training for your child.
Thanks to the rapid development and widespread adoption of various live streaming and virtual meeting technological solutions in recent years, it is now possible to participate in interactive, face-to-face, online acting classes from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
It is important to note that while older children and teens do very well in online acting classes, children under nine often require personal attention that can only be found in on-location acting classes.
If you live in the Salt Lake area and are interested in learning more about enrolling your child in acting class in Salt Lake City or enrolling in online classes from anywhere in the world, then we encourage you to contact The Actors In Action Conservatory today. We can\’t wait to meet you and your talented young thespians!