Find performing arts lessons near you
OurKids.net lists camps and programs in dozens of cities across the country. Find your city in the list below and find performing arts after-school and weekend programs near you.
More than just after-school classes
Kids and teens who love performing can find different ways to explore their passion on our site. See related options below:
What children learn in performing arts lessons and programs
Kids and teens learn a variety of skills in performing arts classes. These can prepare them for working in this field, related fields, and improve critical life skills. Learn more below.
Responsibility and independence. Putting a production together is a group effort. Each child is expected to take ownership of their tasks and complete them on time. Kids also learn how to take responsibility for any tasks they may fail to complete. They learn responsibility, independence, and cultivate a strong work ethic.
Problem solving. Production members need to solve many problems in class. As issues arise, kids learn to communicate with their peers to arrive at compromises and come up with solutions. Good problem-solving skills, needless to say, are critical, and have importance that extend far beyond performance (for instance, in school and in many settings outside of school).
Performance skills. Performance skills are the core of performing arts lessons. Verbal skills such as projection and enunciation are learned during rehearsals. On performance dates, kids learn how to cope with the pressure of being in front of an audience. Perfecting these skills can boost children’s confidence and self-esteem, and open up opportunities like public speaking.
Storytelling. Storytelling is a central part of the performing arts, in all its facets. For instance, lighting and sound set the tone, set design establishes setting, and actors create characters. Kids will learn many of these roles and what function they play in storytelling which can improve their overall storytelling abilities.
Flexibility. “Yes, and…” is a traditional drama improv game that teaches improvisation skills. Performing arts class uses games like this to encourage students to build on each other’s ideas. This teaches flexibility, creativity, collaboration, and (often) humour, all skills that are pivotal to performing in different types of productions.
Note: consult with individual programs listed above to see exactly what skills kids learn in each.
The benefits of performing arts lessons and classes
Performing arts classes are extremely valuable for kids of all ages (not to mention adults). While they teach a wide range of performing arts skills, benefits also extend beyond this field. Find some of the principal advantages kids gain listed below:
Experience with backstage roles. Roles offered backstage are incredibly important to the creation of live theatre. Kids in performing arts programs are exposed to lighting, sound, stage management, and costume design roles. This provides them with technical and specialized experience it’s difficult to find elsewhere.
Exploring multiple genres. Productions performed include a range of genres including drama, mystery, and comedy. Kids learn various skills related to each genre. This helps increase their range as performers.
Practicing empathy. Empathy is one of an actor’s most important skills. Understanding the emotions, thoughts, and urges of their characters improves their performance. As kids empathize with the characters they play, this also leads to connecting better with others in real life. They learn to take a deeper interest in others and their feelings and motivations. If performing does not pan out for them (in a very competitive field) this character trait will benefit other career choices.
Strengthens memory. Memory is an important component of performance. Performers need to memorize lines, position, and various other things. Kids who work in lighting, sound, or stage management will need to memorize cues. This helps improve their memory, with applications far beyond performing arts, in areas like academics, etc.
Exploration of emotions. As kids perform numerous productions, they use a full spectrum of emotions. This exploration of emotions enables kids to recognize real emotions outside of performances, both in themselves and in others. They often become more aware of changes in posture, facial expressions, breathing, and body language, all indicators of emotional states.
Career preparation. Children often build a personal and deep connection with the theatre and other performance venues. The supportive environment in class and skills learned prepares and inspires many kids to eventually pursue the performing arts as a career. This may include becoming an actor, filmmaker, or becoming involved in theatre production. Presentation, speaking, and other talents they develop can also apply to many aspects of “regular” careers.
Questions to ask before registering in a performing arts class
When choosing a performing arts program, you’ll need to ask some key questions to ensure you find the right fit for your child. Below are some of the main ones.
- What tools or props are required for class?
- Will children have to interview or audition for roles and jobs they want?
- How much creative freedom are kids given?
- What are the instructors’ credentials for teaching performing arts?
- When are recitals or performances held?
- Does my child need experience in the performing arts?
- Is this an introductory program?
- What level are most kids at?
Other programs, camps, and classes you might consider
If your child is interested in the performing arts, there are lots of options out there. In addition to programs, you should also consider the depth of learning possible at a performing arts camp, as well programs that are more specialized. Find just a few of your many options below.
Ballet dance programs focus on this sought-after skill in the performing arts. Operas and musicals require the fluidity and graceful movement of ballet dancers. Depending on if the program involves much performing, this can further enhance your child’s stage presence and confidence.
Singing programs help kids and teens develop into a triple threat. Learning to dance, act, and sing can help kids excel in the performing arts. Singing programs can be particularly valuable if your child is interested in musicals and theatre.
Filmmaking camps are a logical step for more cerebral teens. Filmmaking programs teach kids about the writing, filming, and editing process. This can prepare and inspire them to become professional directors, producers, editors, or writers.
Public speaking programs focus on this core performance skill. Your child will learn to captivate audiences with their words. Public speaking programs help kids to find their voice, practice their communication skills, and establish a public “presence” and “persona.”
Combine this with more advice from OurKids.net
Sources and further reading
"How kids explore emotions." Scholastic.com.
"The 'yes, and....' improvisation game. Dramanotebook.com.