Why We Love Music Theatre Camp (And You Should, Too!)

Mar 15, 2017

blog - Why We Love Music Theatre Camp (And You Should, Too!)

There’s still a bitter chill in the air in Toronto, but we here at The Music Studio are already gearing up for everybody’s favourite season: Summer! And our favourite part of summer is, of course, summer camps! That’s why this week’s focus is on a subject that’s especially near and dear to our hearts: musical theatre summer camp. We love it, and so should you! By why? What sets musical theatre summer camp apart from all the limitless subjects available for summer camps?

Children with higher levels of self-control have been shown to be more successful in their future, and imaginary play is an important part of childhood that helps them develop that self control. Acting, drama, and musical theatre are the perfect examples of imaginary play. So it’s easy to see how drama and musical theatre can help children develop self-control, and help them succeed in the future. Summer is the perfect time to encourage this development; school is just a memory, at least for a few months, and music, movement, and fun take over.

Musical theatre summer camps use three distinct aspects to help children grow:

  • Song
  • Dance
  • Drama

Benefits of Singing

Learning to sing is just like learning to play any other musical instrument; in this case the instrument just happens to be the voice box. Nevertheless, learning to use your voice to make music has all the same benefits as learning to play any other physical instrument. If you’re a follower of this blog, you know all about all the myriad of positive effects learning to read and play music can have on the lives of both children and adults. Playing music is a “whole brain” activity, meaning it lights up areas all over it. This in turn means benefits for the entire brain. Coordination is developed, concentration skills increase, and memory is improved.

But beyond just the obvious, learning to sing has some much more subtle effects too. Music helps train the brain in language and reasoning. This leads to a mastery of the language kids grew up speaking as well as an easier time learning new ones, and more highly developed problem solving skills.

By itself, learning music helps with creativity, communication, and even social skills. Add in the context of a summer camps, with outdoor activities, warm, sunny weather, and lots of friends, and the benefits just keep adding up. Life-long relationships are born out of a common interest in music and drama.

Benefits of Dance

Learning to play music has a ton of benefits for the brain, but let’s be honest; it’s not usually the most aerobic of activities. Kids are crazy balls of energy during the summer, and need a release. Music theatre camps take advantage of that energy to teach and learn. Of course, dancing is fantastic for physical health, improving strength and flexibility, as well as improving posture and balance. But dance has some important benefits for growing brains too. Dancing has been shown to reduce stress, and depression. Dancing releases endorphins into the brain, which lifts mood, suppressed pain, and makes kids want to dance more!

Dance, especially in the context of musical theatre, also teaches a few lessons that are important for children to learn early. In addition to raising self-esteem and confidence, dance styles from different cultures often work as an introduction to those cultures. An introduction of this kind, in the form of something kids already love to do, helps create an environment of understanding and tolerance.

Benefits of Drama

Music and dance go hand in hand, and have a lot of complimentary benefits. But adding drama to the mix gives kids the ultimate trifecta! Drama lessons help add to the development of cooperation and collaboration that is inherent to making music as a group. Both making music and acting require working together with others, and combining them reinforces this benefit. That goes for improved self-confidence, concentration, problem solving, and memory too.

But, of course, drama brings its own list of benefits to the table as well. Performing in a play helps kids develop perspective taking – taking the role of another character helps them to literally “walk in someone else’s shoes” – an important skill as they grow. Another important area drama camps help kids to develop is their communication skill. Acting involves both the verbal and non-verbal expression of thoughts and ideas, as well as helps to develop voice projection, word articulation, language fluency, and the ability to speak persuasively. All extremely important skills for adult life.

Again, add in the context of a summer camp, and the benefits go up another notch. The months in between the school years can have a negative effect on kids’ minds. Some studies have even suggested that some kids lose a lot of what they learned during those months. It’s so important to keep those young minds engaged when they’re away from the classroom. Musical theatre summer camp is the perfect way to do that. In fact, kids who are involved in drama classes consistently outscore their non-arts peers on standardized tests by a wide margin. Participating in drama also helps improve reading comprehension, as kids learn what theire role it. Lastly, taking part in drama is the perfect way for kids with learning disabilities like ADHD to improve skills and academic performance because it keeps them engaged and interested.

Add in the fun and excitement of making new friends, enjoying the warm weather, and being away from school for a few months, and it’s not hard to understand why we love musical theatre summer camp! Camps are a great place for life-long relationships to form, for new skills to be developed, and new ideas to be explored. And hey, if it keeps their brains flexible and ready for the school year to start in September, all the better!

If your kids are interested in joining a musical theatre summer camp, click here for more information on our camps, starting in July. Performance options include Oliver, South Pacific, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty & the Beast!