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Column: Through My Eyes

Focusing on the Benefits of the Arts 

By SAVANNA PATINO

High school is a hodge-podge of stereotypes and cliques, and for newcomers, it can be very intimidating. Here’s what I have to say about that: Give the arts a chance.

Whether it is performing arts or visual arts (or somewhere in between), there are plenty of benefits that come with taking part in it during your high school career. Not only are there many options: band, choir, theatre, ceramics, photography, etc., but each branch of the arts has something special about them.

Here’s a quick breakdown from my point of view:

Instrumental Music Classes: Whether you have been playing the clarinet for five years or you have never touched an instrument in your life, there is a band or orchestra class for everyone. Here, students learn about music theory and how to play in a more sophisticated way. If you are looking for a challenge, here you will surely get one.

Marching Band/ Color Guard: Now this activity takes instrumental music to a new level. While it is time-consuming and challenging, the satisfaction of creating an entire nine minute show in just a couple months and the bond that is formed between everyone in the program makes it all worth it. If you enjoy a challenge to your physical and musical talents and have a fire to compete, this activity may take a lot of dedication, but it is something you will truly enjoy. (To be fair, this may be biased, because I have been a part of the colorguard my whole high school career.)

Vocal: I have been a part of plenty of choirs and vocal groups throughout my life, and one thing I can say about all of them is that they have all been a place to let go. Some groups that I have been in were closer than others, but nonetheless they make you feel like part of something. And vocal experience is not necessary to join a beginning class. Anyone who is looking for a place to go to find a group of such different people who all have a common goal (to make music), choir is the place for you.

Theatre/ High School League Comedy Sports: This is a program that truly takes everyone. If you have a passion for the stage, auditioning for a play will give you the experience onstage and will challenge you to do your best to create a picture for your audience. If you have a love to perform but don’t want to be in the limelight, there are plenty of roles in the chorus or as a smaller character. But if performing is not your thing, there are always places for people backstage. The stage crew, whether they are painting sets, helping performers change, or working the lights, plays a very important role in putting on a great show. And if making people laugh is something you enjoy, maybe you should consider joining your school’s Comedy Sports high school league team, where the main focus is to bring joy to their audience.

Dance: This is a special type of performing arts, because being a good dancer takes dedication and hard work. However, of course, you do not have to have started dancing at a young age to start now. This activity takes a great deal of hard work to keep up your body and mind, but for anyone who has a passion for expressing themselves in a way that everyone can see, dancing can be a good release of emotion.

Photography: Now, to get into photography, all you need is a camera (or a phone) and something that inspires you. Just snap a photo and if you don’t like it, snap another. The more you do it, the better you become at finding the angles and lighting that work for you. The great part of photography is that a good photo can be of anything, as long as it inspires you. And with all the social media that exists now, it is very easy to share your photos with others.

Visual Arts (ceramics, drawing, painting, etc.): Visual arts tend to be an underrated art in some high schools, but it takes a lot of talent and hard work to create beautiful artwork. But yet again, anyone can get into it through beginning classes or by just picking up a paintbrush and trying it out.

The underlying theme of all the arts is this: Everyone can join. And if none of the above options appeal to you, there are plenty of other ways to get involved. You do not have to be in the program to enjoy the art. You may not be in it, but you can still go see your school musical. You can cheer on the marching band at your next football game during halftime. You can go to your school’s art show and see what other students have created or attend the next music concert to watch your peers perform their hearts out.

So all in all, the arts in high school are fantastic places to express yourself and create bonds with people just like you. If you are coming into high school or you just want to try something new, give the arts a chance, but of course, that is just through my eyes.

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