It’s so exciting that your child has embarked on an acting journey—not just because it provides a wonderful outlet for creative expression, but also because an acting education has many benefits. In my 20 years of running an acting studio in L.A. for kids, teens, and young adults, I can say that an acting education positively impacts many aspects of life. Here’s how.
First and foremost, it’s so important for your child to train in a positive learning environment. When this is the case, without a doubt, I see a significant increase in self-confidence in students who stick with their acting training. Some students embark on an acting course because they want to pursue professional careers while others are simply looking for a fun extracurricular outlet. No matter the reason, I see an increase in confidence across the board even for those who are shy. For example, Forrest Wheeler, star of ABC’s hit show “Fresh off the Boat,” was a shy boy when he first came to my studio. Afterward, he gained the confidence needed to secure a top talent agent.
Later in life, when a child actor is interviewing for college programs, internships, or jobs, he’ll have already done dozens, maybe even hundreds, of auditions playing all sorts of characters. In this case, a simple one-on-one interview, in which he gets to simply be himself, can certainly feel a lot less daunting since actors tend to develop excellent interpersonal and interviewing skills.
The craft of acting involves studying the lives, thoughts, and emotions of other humans in close detail. By considering the plight of a character and then stepping into the shoes of that character and bringing her to life, your child is cultivating empathy. As she cultivates empathy, she will become more and more curious about, and sensitive to, how other people think, feel, and operate in the world.
As they continue their training, many actors actually become involved in service work and humanitarian efforts. This inclination to be of service is a natural byproduct of an actor’s increasing capacity for empathy.
Developing focus and cognition.
Acting involves an immense amount of focus as well as memory retention. Your child will be exercising his brain in a dynamic way that involves physical coordination and memorization while at the same time remaining open and flexible to the words and actions of the other actors around him. In order to remain present to his character and to the characters around him, while also speaking lines and thinking thoughts of his character, your child actor must be very focused.
This level of focus can certainly help to improve your child’s focus in the classroom. Over the years, I have witnessed numerous instances of students’ grades going up after beginning their acting training!
Providing stress relief.
Acting provides a great outlet for stress relief and for the expression of emotions. Teenagers especially are hard-wired to feel emotions on a larger scale than adults are. Acting provides a great outlet for these feelings.
Again, I must emphasize the importance of a positive and safe training environment. Your child should feel free and comfortable to express or not express herself at the level that she feels comfortable with and at her pace. A positive and encouraging teacher will foster your child’s growth in an uplifting and healthy way. Do your research!
Of course, acting is not a replacement for therapy or counseling. It’s meant to be a positive and fun mode of self-expression. Always seek the resources that you need outside the classroom.
Acting is a really fun profession. Your child can learn so much about other humans, about storytelling, history, culture, and the world. She can cultivate empathy and confidence. She can learn about herself! Always check in with your child to make sure she is enjoying the journey. The journey itself—the classes, the auditions, and all of the moments in between—can be as fun and rewarding as an actor chooses to make it.