Fine Arts at Brentwood is entering into the busiest time of the year. It is contest season!
The Middle School Theatre will be competing in PSIA One Act Competition on February 10th. We are hosting the event this year. It has been fun watching these young ladies and gentlemen develop their acting “chops” while producing Alice in Wonderland. In many ways Fine Arts can feel like Wonderland. We are a land of mystery, magic, color, and chaos. Fortunately, Mrs. Stow is more loving with her students than the Queen of Hearts!
Band and Choir are both in solo and ensemble season. This is one of the more stressful events for students and teachers. There is strength in numbers and this competition takes all that away. Many times you are alone in the room with the judge. You perform to your best and then get an evaluation. You can’t hide in a larger section. You are alone, or in a very small group doing different things at the least. So much growth happens when we step out of our comfort zone, and this event, more than any, does that.
Art is currently working on the pieces that they will enter into competition in late February. The are nearly 20 different categories that students can enter from drawing, painting, furniture building, industrial design, fashion, sculpting, computer art, movie making, etc. There is a venue for so many different mediums, that every art student can find a niche. After seeing the wonderful works during the Christmas Concert and Art Show, I can’t wait to see how our kids place in state.
Many people have asked me “why compete?” If art, music, etc, is for the performer or for the audience, why does it matter when we compete. That is a very valid question, and for many of our students, they are perfectly happy doing art for art’s sake. However, we don’t just teach art or music or drama here. We are teaching these students life long lessons through and while we teach. An important part of growth is putting your artistic product out there for evaluation. Learning how to evaluate appropriately is important, as is learning how to critique and give feedback that is not degrading or demeaning. Competition can be a motivator to bring our best. As Christians, we need to be able to discern what is “Good, In Tune, Perfect,” and competitions give us the framework to have the conversations in our class. It also gives us a chance to let the students find success and failure in a safe place and grow in a healthy way.
In some cases, we might not agree with the results of the competitions and that gives us as teachers an opportunity to guide students through circumstances that we may even agree were unfair or wrong. But isn’t that how life works? If the kids are able to learn these lessons in our class, how much better will they be prepared for life. When the students fail either through lack of preparation or from judging that may have been unfair, what an awesome opportunity that presents! It gives us a chance to remind them that their value is not in the works that they produce or in the results that they get in contests. Their value is determined by Christ alone! No matter the results of the contest, we get to remind them that. What a great lesson indeed!