Up here on my soap box, my message is always that the arts build skills beyond singing, dancing, acting, or painting; the arts help build the Whole Human. Interestingly, it was all the work I did outside of my music career, after studying music for many years in university, that taught me that. We can all agree that commitment, work ethic, attention to detail, a collaborative attitude, and striving for excellence will get a person almost anywhere they want to go – and those are things I learned while studying classical singing.

But just because a person studies
the arts doesn’t necessarily mean that they will make a career of it.

Sure, there are definitely
elements of studying art that require a person to sit down at the piano and
play the correct black and/or white keys at the correct time, while working to
create an emotional response to the mathematical relationships between notes or
rhythms.  …Or knowing exactly how to hold
a paint brush in order to make someone’s eye believe that what they just
created was a tree on a lake shore, stirring up memories of a family holiday
years ago.  That’s pretty advanced, “artsy”

But at the end of the day,
learning to paint or play piano takes discipline, and refining and perfecting a
skill takes serious commitment.   The
same can be said of ice dancing or hockey, soccer, or gymnastics.  The list of comparisons goes on.

Many of us learn discipline and
work ethic by applying ourselves, and setting and accomplishing goals.

But no matter what your walk in
life is, or where your watercolour skills are at, I believe that every one of
us is creative, whether we know it or not.

I have a friend who spent years as
a kid learning to play the piano, she sings, she does a million creative
things, and now, she’s one of the busiest optometrists I know.  When I asked her what value the arts plays in
her life now as a busy doctor (which I’ve heard can be stressful at times), she
told me that it offers her a chance to relax, to use a different part of her
brain, and enjoy some creativity with her little boy and her family.  I’ve even heard her unwind with a little karaoke,
and if you ask her for the lyrics to any song on earth, she’ll crank them out without missing a beat!  But when I asked her what role the arts played in her life growing up, she told me that it taught her HOW to commit to large projects (like a musical), confidence on stage and in the halls
of her high school, and discipline – in rehearsals and math class.  You can’t master a musical instrument without
hundreds (thousands, actually…) of hours of work. The same goes for academics…and
that starts young for many of us, even my optometrist friend.

Oh, I almost forgot.  She’s got a black belt, too.

If you ask me, those are skills I
want my optometrist to have.  And I’m
pretty glad she started out by developing self-discipline, commitment, creative
and critical thinking through the arts, and even striving for excellence.  As a result, I can clearly see that
trusting my eyes to her care is a smart thing for me to do.

The skills
developed when participating in the arts benefit everyone, no matter what you
choose to do.

So go ahead – tackle a new hobby
in the arts.  Apply yourself.  Surprise yourself.  Build yourself.