You might have missed it sitting in the VPAC for the first time, watching your child up on the stage acting or dancing. You were impressed to see them singing or playing an instrument. . . and that painting they did? Wow. From the general state of their room at home you were amazed they could organize much of anything, let alone create something that’s moving, deep even.
It is impressive what our students can do and what our teachers draw out of them every day at Episcopal. The final product is thrilling, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the surface, the connections and discipline at work are also playing out in their academic lives and on the athletic field. The Arts help focus emotion and bridge understanding between individuals and groups. It uses every part of the brain and allows the artist to communicate abstract ideas where words might fail.
How does this apply to a future career? Let me get a plug in here and say that a career in the arts IS a viable career. With a little creativity and a great deal of hard work, graduates from Episcopal are enjoying lucrative, meaningful careers in advertising, dance, theater, music, and art. It can be done. But for those who might not see art as their eventual career path, participation in the programs we offer can reap future benefits.
Let’s imagine that your daughter is intent on studying medicine. In the not-so-recent past, the path for a would-be physician was a pre-med undergraduate major, leading to a battery of tests and eventual admission to medical school. Things have changed. In a recent blog post, Kathleen Franco, M.D., associate dean of admissions and student affairs at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, writes about the new diversity of Medical School admissions. MCAT scores are still very important, but on the subject of music majors successfully applying to med school, she writes:
“Typically, music majors are both great in math and superb in feeling emotions. They are practiced team players and possess great discipline. They demonstrate by their activities and in their essays how much music has enriched their lives.”
Dr. Franco is highlighting what artists, at any level, train rigorously to do:
So, as you take a seat to see one of our excellent productions or meander through an art show this year, I hope you’ll rest a little easier knowing that college and career preparation is taking place in the ballet studio and being worked out on canvas every day. It’s intentional and it’s one of the difference makers of an Episcopal education.