Kids’ Involvement in the Arts

Is your young person involved in band, orchestra, or choir or takes lessons on a musical instrument?   Research has shown that kids are interested in the arts, including theater, dance, literature, visual arts, and others.  As a high school band director for seventeen years, I can vouch for the quality of the kids in the arts.  They are good solid kids, and the mean grade point average for my high school bands of over 100 students was 3.3 GPA.  When kids are involved in the arts, they learn how to do something that takes a long time to develop as a skill.  There are no shortcuts to becoming a good painter, singer, or instrumentalist.   Learning long-term commitment develops persistence, determination, and perseverance in kids, which they will use for the rest of their lives.

After I retired from 35+ years in education, I opened a Facebook account to connect with some of my former students.  I asked them one simple question:  “What life skills do you have from the teachings we shared?”  What has lasted and that you use today?  The comments that I received back were tremendous.  I knew that playing in the band had given them skills that they still used.  Engineers, architects, military, sales, all over and over told how they could stick with something longer than others with whom they work. They spoke of how they shared fond memories with their kids.  I was just at a funeral of a student whose kids are now grown, and when she introduced me to her kids, they immediately said, Rich Patterson, the band director that you’ve spoken about to us?  It made me proud, but I was more pleased that she had memories to share that were so terrific.  They would go on to say their kids are in the band and have done this and that.

My point is not to brag on my teaching; I had an outstanding career, but to point out the value of the arts.  Teamwork, creativity, long term commitment-which is lacking in my youth today, are among some of the valuable character traits that kids develop by being a part of the arts.  If your children are not part of a music, choir, or arts program, get them involved today; you can start at any age.  Encourage them to stick with it to develop their skills to a high level.  Like anything, there are periods when kids want to quit, keep them going because when they get into high school music programs, it is enjoyable for them.  It is not that it isn’t along the way, but it seems that middle school is when kids struggle to stay with it.  They will make friends that last a lifetime.  Teach them the determination to see the goal of being a skilled performer; you will be glad that you did.

A solid research study on Kids’ Involvement in the Arts from the Kennedy Center is available at Champion Report (

Another aspect of art involves The Art of Conversation, on my blog I have a link for you here The Art of Conversation – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Yours for Better Parenting,