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Arts education is critical to success - The artistic edge

Every parent wants to give their kids an edge over the competition. In a world where grade inflation means that test scores and GPA are no longer enough, and undergraduate degrees have decreased in value almost to the level of a high school diploma, how can parents make sure their kids are not unemployed and living on their couch after school?

Well, Lisa Phillips, author of The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World, knows from experience that the experiences in the arts can help your children stand out above the rest.

The Artistic Edge - 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World

Phillips says, "Competition for jobs is fierce and those who are winning are creative, adaptable, confident, accountable, communication-savvy problem solvers who know how to build relationships and dream big." Lisa's new book explores why leadership skills gained through arts education are critical to the success of the current generation of youth.

- Find an arts program or camp for your kids or teens - Browse arts focused private academic schools

Of course, participation in the arts can increase young peoples' creativity, but Phillips doesn't stop there. Her book, with a Foreword by Raymond Aaron (New York Times bestselling author of Chicken Soup for the Parents Soul), explains how critical leadership skills are developed through arts education. For example, through arts education, young people can develop the complex skill of accountability. Lisa explains, "Most arts disciplines are collaborative in nature. When children practice creating something collaboratively they get used to the idea that their actions affect other people. They learn quickly that when they are not prepared or on-time, other people suffer. In the work place being accountable builds trust and a reputation of dependability."

The performing arts are a natural fit for developing communication skills. If your child is used to the stage and all that it takes to prepare a smooth performance, they will be ready for any interview or presentation. Phillips points to a critical element in her book — practice. "Life is complex and always changing. Developing the skills to manage this complexity takes years of practice. We cannot expect young people to be good leaders as soon as they enter the job market any more than we expect them to be proficient piano players the day after they start playing." The arts give young people an excellent environment in which to practice communication skills, creative problem solving, adaptability, dedication and much more. This practice gives them the confidence they need to face the challenges in their lives.

With schools increasingly focused on math and science and arts educators scrambling to justify the importance of the arts by focusing on how it increases test scores, perhaps we have overlooked something very important — the arts as a means for development of key leadership skills that will give our kids an artistic edge.

With over 15 years of experience in performing arts education and youth leadership development, Phillips has committed to bringing the benefit of arts experience to youth populations of the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. For more information on Lisa's book please visit, www.theartisticedge.ca/thebook. 

—Agnes Stawicki
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