by Joan Koster, author
We may not understand the words in a song or the techniques in a painting from another time or place, but we can feel the artist’s humanity and feel what is important to him or her. In this way we can cross boundaries of politics, religion, and war and see that most people are just like us - creative, vibrant human beings who find joy in the same things.
The arts also bring inner peace. There are many research studies that show that the arts are a way to heal both our minds and our bodies. Listening to music has been shown to lower levels of stress and aid healing. (Harvard Health Letter, November 2009 "Using Music to Tune the Heart"). Premature babies exposed to music daily, grow faster and go home earlier (Sousa, 2001 How the Brain Works). Dance increases oxygen to the brain and improves cognitive processing (Sousa, 2001). Painting and drawing reduce stress and are often used to help children and adults deal with painful, traumatic events such as natural disasters and war (Frost, 2005). After the Columbine Shootings, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and now, Sandy, the arts have been and will be an integral part of the healing process.
In this age of test scores and computer-driven education, we need to be sure to include the arts in our schools and our homes. We need to encoursge our children to learn to use the tools of the artist, the musician, the dancer, and the actor in order to express their individuality and their commonality and thereby find inner peace. Visit these links to learn more about how the language of art speaks from one person to another.
Join in - Teachers can take Dancing Matt’s idea and film their class dancing in different locations and with different groups in the school and community. Using a school-to-school Skype hook up you can dance with students in other schools and even on the other side of the world.
Have fun. Find peace. Then let us know if your class dances.