In our age of the Internet, social media, reality television and other “worthy” pursuits that can steal away our students’ attention, are musicals still worth preparing? Of course, my answer is a resounding “YES”!
Here are my top 10 reasons for doing a musical once, twice, or even three times this year (and in years to come). And they’re based not only on my personal experience through the years, but what I’ve heard from countless others over the last three decades:
- The Event Factor. Since musicals aren’t performed on a regular basis, whenever they are performed, they’re an event. They can build excitement and a real positive “buzz” in the classroom.
- Dramatic Impact. There’s no question we live now more than ever in a fast-paced, visual world. Drama—especially when connected with music—offers a way to tell a story that can leave an indelible impact on its performers and listeners.
- Greater Depth. A musical offers a longer time to “plumb the depths” of any given subject, so the potential impact on students is exponentially increased.
- Growth. Musicals tend to offer healthy musical challenges that students might not experience otherwise. This can contribute to a growth in confidence and musical understanding.
- Outreach. A one-time special event musical is a great excuse to invite friends, family, and community members and showcase your student’s hard work.
- Bonding. An event tends to “rally” a classroom together and generate excitement among students. Everyone becomes part of the musical ‘team.’ If there are a few extra rehearsals to pull the musical together, those offer an opportunity for greater bonding between the teacher and students.
- Wider Involvement. A musical offers a chance for parents and even more students to get involved, too! They can help with design, building or painting (if there’s a set); audio/visuals (sound, lights, PowerPoint, and/or video); costumes (if there are any, of course), and more.
- Encourages Participation. There’s no question that, in general, musicals sometimes take a recruiting process to get students to audition. Use the audition process as another means of outreach to excite students to be a part of the fun!
- Dinner or Dessert Theatre. Who doesn’t love the mixture of food and musicals?! Contribute to the ‘event’ factor by offering some appetizers and baked goods. Another great avenue to get the parents involved!
- Memories. Students will fondly recall the time they were the singing sidekick or a belting baritone! Memories are another way to help share the joy of making music for years to come.
Bottom line: Musicals—when carefully chosen, prepared, and performed—can create a lasting impact on those who experience them. And that is worth “the roar of the greasepaint, and the smell of the crowd!”
Mark Cabaniss is a music publisher, producer, writer, and educator. He is President/CEO of Jubilate Music Group, based in Brentwood, Tennessee. Two of his elementary musicals (Tom Sawyer & Company and Gilbert and Sullivan Rock!) are published by Alfred Music. www.markcabaniss.com