Devastatingly enough, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of children in public and private schools who are going through traumatic times. These tragedies can range from death(s) in the family, lack of family, lack of support from family, money issues that prevent from social stimulation, etc. The list could go on and on, and the more terrifying part of it is that teachers can continue to have these children in their classes and knowledge of these events in the child’s life would go unnoticed.
While teachers can only deal with what they are presented with in regard to the personal lives of their students, teachers do have an expectation to enhance these children’s education in any way they can. Music and art are two of the most impacting elements of a young student’s education. Despite all of the news of budget cuts within schools that are impacting the performing and visual arts departments, there is a massive amount of teachers who are still supporting the arts.
So how do music and art help with students who are dealing with life-altering tragedies in their personal lives? With these avenues, students are given the chance to express their emotions. In Math and History classes, there are no ways for these students to express themselves. Even in English classes, at least in the first six or seven years of school where students are given opportunities to write stories and poems, there are still limitations. Children with developing writing skills simply do not have enough words in their vocabulary to put down on paper what they are feeling. Music and art, however, need no vocabulary, just passion, in order to efficiently express emotions and thoughts. These are two of the very few universal languages we have to offer as the human race to each other. For example, if a composer wrote music that was supposed to invite the listener to feel sad or remorseful about something, nine times out of ten, the listener will feel the pain that the composer felt. They might not understand or grasp the context in which the sadness was placed in the composer’s life or surroundings at the time the piece was written, but the communication of feelings is still present. Same with a painting from an artist; colors mixed together with one another and presented in such a way will help viewers from all around the world understand what they are trying to portray.
In the classroom, while the student will more than likely not produce a Mona Lisa or write symphony, their emotions can still be expressed. Teachers can provide that avenue and this will help students to understand a number of things: 1) the teacher is a safe person and the classroom is a safe haven that the student can take advantage whenever they need to, 2) expressing emotions or revealing troubles on their minds is not a negative thing and should be welcomed by the teacher and other administration, and 3) the student does not always need to hold back for fear of talking to something; rather, they can release traumatic stress through means of music and art.
Emotional release is something that every student needs access to. There are thousands of ways to release this stress, and many students do commission one or more of these ways in most cases. However, there are still students that are overlooked in classrooms because they are quiet or reserved. Teachers need to reach out more and provide various activities within their classrooms to aid with students who are upset and need someone to express themselves to or even something to express themselves with.