Drama Lessons for Children
Drama lessons are popular with children and parents for two main reasons. If your child already has an interest in acting and would like the opportunity to perform, drama lessons are a natural home for them. Drama lessons also attract more reserved children who may need a boost to their confidence.
Studies have shown that reserved children tend to settle in quicker and enjoy specific activities such as drama than more mixed activities such as cubs and brownies. Having the opportunity to perform in a low pressure environment is a great way for quiet children to find their voice. If a child is finding school difficult from a social point of view, teachers often recommend drama groups as a good way to boost their confidence.
Whether your child joins a drama group in order to perform or to gain confidence they should have a lot of fun. They should also make a lot of new friends with a shared interest.
At What Age Can My Child Join a Drama Group?
Some drama groups will take on children almost as soon as they can walk and talk. It is more common for children to start from around school age, so from four to five years of age.
In most cases there are no upper limits. This means if you have a child who is older and would like to give lessons a go it should be easy enough to find a suitable group locally.
Children are usually divided into groups by age. So there your child should be in with children of their own age.
What Types of Drama Lessons Are There?
There is quite a lot of variety in what gets taught and how it is taught. Some classes place the emphasis on having fun and role playing. These classes let skills develop organically over time.
Others take a more formal route where the level of teaching is much greater. This type of class tends to be stricter and more disciplined too.
To a degree the amount of instruction given is related to the age of the children involved. So for younger children who may not be ready for more formal training the classes may be more fun based. This is not always the case though. Therefore it is worthwhile considering what type of group you would like your child to attend before signing up.
As a very rough rule of thumb quieter children may be more suited to the more fun based groups. Budding actors and actresses are generally better suited to more formal tuition.
When Do Drama Groups Meet
A typical group will meet once a week in the evenings or after school. Timings usually take into account the age of the children involved.
In addition to the weekly sessions there can also be holiday workshops on offer. The workshops give children an extended taste of drama where they can develop new skills or polish up ones they already have.
Most groups give performances. The level of performance, regularity and where the performances are held vary from group to group.
It may be that younger children produce short end of term shows for parents. Tuition based groups may put on full blown productions at local theatres.
If your child is uncomfortable with the idea of performing this may lead you towards fun based drama groups with less pressure. But it is often children who are uncertain about performing who benefit the most from it.
Drama groups tend to take almost any performance seriously, apart from little end of term shows. Therefore if your son or daughter is asked to be involved in a performance be prepared to encourage them to learn any lines and attend regular rehearsals.
Working Behind the Scenes
Not everyone wants to be the star of the show. For older child who would like to be involved, but do not want to perform there can be options for getting involved behind the scenes. These can include anything from stage management, to looking after younger cast members to working the lights.
Writing and Directing
Some drama groups also give older children the opportunity to get involved in activities such as writing and direction.
Another aspect of attending lessons is working towards qualifications. Examination boards such as Trinity offer qualifications that may help your child make the step up into Theatre Schools at a later date.
Even if their ambitions are somewhat lower there are other advantages to preparing for examinations. These include working as a team, learning to take instruction and coping with the pressure that comes from taking an exam. All of these can help to prepare your child for challenges they face at school in their teenage years and beyond.
There is plenty of variety on offer when it comes to the type of drama lessons that will be the perfect fit for your child. Shop around a bit and see which ones tick most of your boxes. Most groups will let you sit in on a session or give your child a free taster session.
Despite the possibilities of performances, qualifications and future super stardom the biggest attraction of sending your child to drama lessons is that they should thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Related Articles / Websites
Helen O’Grady Drama
Helen O’Grady Drama Academy has over 50,000 students attending its classes each week, throughout 26 countries. They help to develop social skills, improve self-esteem, build confidence and encourage effective social interaction. Students also have a lot of fun.