Should the show go on?

“Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.”- The Lion King.

In Term 2 of this year, all students in Years 5 and 6 performed The Lion King Jr., based on the Broadway production directed by Julie Taymor and the 1994 Disney film. Throughout Term 1 and part of Term 2, the students worked extremely hard to learn the songs, dances and dialogue for this famous story and loved working with our visiting choreographer Chris Barratt. The cast focused on using movement to enrich the storytelling and clearly convey important dramatic moments throughout the show. It was an exciting experience for everyone involved and attracted sell out performances.

Being part of a school musical production is a great deal of fun but it is also a huge amount of hard work and commitment. When the final performance is over, those involved are left with a huge sense of achievement, espirit-de-corps and many wonderful memories. For children, these experiences are precious and full of positive learning possibilities. In many studies, researchers are now linking involvement in the Arts to better child development and higher student achievement. School musicals in particular provide a range of Arts activities that benefit the students.

One of the most obvious benefits of being part of a school musical is the development of skills in self-presentation. Children must learn how to present themselves in front of an audience, be it big or small. Participation over a period of time, from the first rehearsal through to the final performance, allows students to improve their self-esteem and self-confidence, developing poise, and learning to overcome anxieties. In an article published by  PBS Parents, it was noted that “When students are working towards a common goal, they appreciate that their ‘voice’ and interests are heard and understood by others. This joint effort creates a sense of secure acceptance that is critical to their self-esteem.”

Thomas Schumacher, producer of the stage version of The Lion King highlights that, “It takes an ensemble to make a show; everyone’s part is important.” Being part of a school musical production helps to teach children both self-reliance as well as collaboration with others in order to reach a goal. In group settings, there is less focus on winning or losing, and more emphasis on working together as a team towards a shared performance goal. For example, in musical theater, children may have to learn to work behind the scenes as well as on stage. By having to carry out a variety of tasks and roles, they are able to look at the world from different vantage points.

“Music gives us a language that cuts across the disciplines, helps us to see connections and brings a more coherent meaning to our world.”– Ernest Boyer, President, Carnegie Foundation. The Arts allow for deep self-expression from a child’s heart. In a world addicted to technology, the experience of being part of a school musical production can provide students with an outlet for making creative choices, thinking new ideas and interpreting the material in expressive ways. These experiences can help our girls make sense of their emotions and the world around them, as well as developing new ways to communicate and express their ideas.

Every two years the staff and students in Barbreck prepare ourselves for a period of intensive work to prepare a new performance piece. The energy, time and commitment given to this project is substantial, however, I believe that the educational benefits the students draw from these experiences more than justify these efforts. According to an ancient Chinese Proverb, “One picture is worth ten thousand words.” I think you will agree that the photos from the Junior School Musical say it all.

The show must go on!

Mrs Melissa Dods

Junior School Music Coordinator

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