I love Theatre, Culture and Events- it is what my blog is all about. But where did that come from? A lot of it was from my family but some of it came from my schooling years.
So I thought I would write about my experience in art education when I was at school.
If I think about to my nursery, when I was little we were always encouraged to play, be messy and be creative and to express ourselves. Of course, when you are little, there is no judgement there, you are allowed to be yourself and find yourself and be creative.
When I was first in the first school, it was very much the same. Finding what you like and being experimental, if I am honest I was never good at drawing and if I look back my drawings that are very clear and I remember my friends being good at it and better than me. But my teachers never said that, no matter how good or bad we thought we were, they still encouraged us to try.
Moving on to middle school, that was when it all changed. In school, we were taught music and art- no dance but we had PE. My art teacher was very passionate about their subject, they really loved art. They taught us all about different artists and their work, then we got to have a go ourselves- using their inspiration and techniques to get more of an understanding. I was never any good and I do feel that if you were good at it then you were favoured more.
Music was a little different, we didn’t get to learn about reading music or playing music- that was an extra activity that your parents had to pay for. My parents did pay for me to play the clarinet but my teacher never really turned up for the lessons so I gave that up. No, my music experience was not the best, we played on Ejay, watched music videos and perhaps tinkled on the keyboard and that was it. I realised my music education experience was so different from other schools when I went to high school.
Which brings me nicely to high school, we were taught music, art, drama and in GCSE I chose drama then in my A-Levels I did dance and performing arts. In the teaching years, I hated the arts subjects. In high school, you are merged with other middle schools and it was clear that they had had a proper art education compared to the school that I went too.
Those kids knew art, music and shakespeare- I felt so embarrassed. I hated art anyway but this was worse as the high school art teacher expected us to be good at art and if you were rubbish then they should show you up in front of the class. It was the same in music, the other kids could write, read and play music of all instruments and again the teacher expected us to know all the basics already.
I think that is why I kind of enjoyed drama because we were all new to this and we were able to find out what it was like for ourselves. My drama teacher was a little scary but I got over that and I ended up really liking drama. I was able to play with voice and physicality to embody different characters.
When it came to A Levels (the last in my art education experience) I chose Performing Arts and Dance. Now I knew my dance teacher as she taught me to dance in my out of school activity and I talk about her in another blog post. I loved to dance, it was challenging and fun and I always looked forward to it. Performing Arts was also enjoyable, we had an amazing teacher and I really liked his teaching style. He opened a lot of opportunities for us students and was responsible for really pushing the arts in school especially drama and performing school shows etc
In high school there was no judgment of your ability, it was all about finding, learning and developing those skills within the arts.
Looking back it appears that my art education was very dependant on the schooling and the teaching quality of it. I think if it wasn’t for my amazing education and excitement of the teachers when I don’t think I would have been in the arts as much if at all.
Arts are very important and can offer a range of skills in the big wide world and can benefit mental and physical health.
I also realise how lucky I was to even have an arts education back then as I worry about the children now and the future if they will be able to have the same or better experience of arts education now.