How a School Trip Can Benefit Students’ Performing Arts Skills

For students interested in the performing arts, a school trip focused on the subject might lead to new insights. More and more, educators are considering the benefits of such a tour in developing students’ performing arts skills.

A lengthy tradition

For many decades, if not centuries, it has been commonly accepted that students who are interested in the performing arts typically benefit from the opportunity to study abroad. In the past, this opportunity was largely restricted to more mature students and/or those from wealthy backgrounds.

The advantages obtained were rarely disputed. Looking, for example, at the field of dance, expert practitioners may exist in a number of different European locations, and having the opportunity to be coached by them on a school trip can only offer benefit for the students concerned. Equally importantly, studying the performing arts in a different cultural background may allow students to see the different emphases placed by other cultures on the various aspects of things such as dance and drama. For example, does the different body language seen in Latin countries affect their interpretation of body positioning during dance?

It certainly may be possible to study these things at home based upon academic representations in books or on the Internet, yet few would doubt that it is far more effective to see and experience such things in context.

The school trip and performing arts

Today it is possible to take groups of young students on tours to various centres of excellence located in some of Europe’s most prestigious destinations. Examples include places such as Paris, Berlin and other major cities.

The students are located in excellent accommodation and their day is divided into a number of workshop sessions where they receive expert coaching from established professionals. This is complemented by the opportunity to engage in performances so as to put into practice some of the skills they will have learned.

Of course, not everything is work! Being based in such attractive locations brings with it the opportunity to get out and explore some of the local sites and cultural attractions. This is essential if the interest of younger people is to be maintained and the dangers of them becoming stale avoided.

Inevitably, such tours will benefit those that have a genuine interest in the subjects concerned. There may be little point in trying to force people to attend who have no fundamental orientation towards, for example, dance or drama. Yet for those who do, the concentrated coaching in a dedicated environment may help them progress at a rate that may be unachievable under normal circumstances at their home base.

There are a variety of such tours available, suiting students of different ages and ability levels. The tutors and coaches understand well that not every student will be of equal ability and this is taken into account during the workshop and coaching sessions.

This type of school trip may make the difference between a student having just a passing and transitory interest in a subject or eventually becoming an accomplished practitioner.

Contemporary Ghanaian Performing Arts

Contemporary Ghanaian performing arts have been influenced by foreign culture, technology, and education. It is a synergy of the indigenous performing arts with the Western cultural forms of performing arts. There are three main forms of performing arts practiced by the Ghanaians today. These are music, dance, and drama.

Music

Ghanaian contemporary music has been influenced by foreign music styles and concepts though there is not a total eradication of the indigenous music styles. Some contemporary Ghanaian musicians blend the indigenous and foreign music styles in composing their songs. The foreign music styles that have influenced Ghanaian music today include jazz, pop music, Blues, Rock and Roll, Reggae, Ragga, R&B, Indian and Arabic songs. Contemporary Ghanaian music includes highlife which has more of the indigenous music elements, the hip-life which fuses slow lyric choruses with Ragga or rap music. Currently, there is the hip-pop music that is an exact rendition of the Western style of music though the lyrics and language are mostly Ghanaian in nature. There is also the church or choral music, brass band music, regimental or military music as well as the classical music.

Several foreign musical instruments are used hand in hand with the indigenous musical instruments. These include guitars, pianos, trumpets like the saxophone, foreign drums, cymbals etc. Unlike indigenous Ghanaian music, contemporary Ghanaian music is recorded in high technological recording studios where other artificial elements are added to the originally composed music to bring it to foreign standards. They are then copied on Compact Disks, DVD’S, VCD’S, EVD’S etc.
Contemporary Ghanaian music is played at theatres, church services, parties, concerts, dance halls, and parks. They are played during religious services to enhance praises and worship. They are also played during social functions like marriage feasts, sporting activities and the like to entertain those in attendance. During workshops, talks, and seminars, music is played to relieve stress and boredom during intermissions of the program. They are played to boost the morale of competitors in various forms of competitions. Others are played to educate us on morality, patriotism and nationalism. There are various music contest and competitions held in Ghana to promote music. These include TV3 Mentor, X-Factor, etc.

Popular contemporary Ghanaian music stars include Dr. Ephraim Amu who composed various Coral songs for the Ghanaian community. Others include Agya Koo Nimo, Cindy Thompson, Yaw Sarpong, Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Nana Acheampong, Obrafo, Sarkodie etc.

Dance

Contemporary Ghanaian dance, like music, has been influenced by foreign dance styles. Some of these foreign dance styles include cracking, electric boogie etc. Dance is performed to entertain people and to express their sentiments towards one another. Contemporary Ghanaian dance forms include quickstep, mambo, waltz, foxtrot, salsa, boogie, cha-cha-cha, robot movement, twist, break and now, Azonto. These dance styles are performed at various functions such as church, weddings, funerals, parties, durbars, and festivals etc. Several dance competitions are held today in Ghana to promote dancing such as the Malta Guinness Street Dance contest. Dancing is now a very lucrative enterprise in contemporary Ghana.

Drama

Contemporary Ghanaian drama is performed on a stage in a theatre. Unlike the indigenous Ghanaian drama where the audience sometimes interact with the audience while the performance is in season, contemporary Ghanaian drama is performed uninterrupted by the actors and actresses who play the various roles in the story depicted in the performance. The audience, however, participates by clapping, booing and shouting in a bid to express their sentiments towards the performance. Contemporary Ghanaian drama includes plays, comedies, operas, and cantatas.

Popular contemporary Ghanaian drama groups include the Abibigroma drama group, the National Dance Ensemble, Osofo Dadzie drama group, Adabraka drama Troupe and the Tsadidi drama group. Popular drama themes in contemporary Ghana include the ‘The Black African Slave Trade, by the National Dance Ensemble, ‘Ananse and the gun man’ by Joe deGraft, ‘The dilemma of a ghost’ by Ama Ataa Aidoo and the celebrated ‘Marriage of Anansewaa’ by Efua Sunderland.

Contemporary Ghanaian drama is staged in churches and mosques to illustrate some Christian themes to educate members about the Christian and Muslim doctrines and the relevance of leading a good moral life in line with the principles and regulations of God. During social gatherings, parties, and festivals, drama is performed to entertain those in attendance. Others are staged to educate the general public on social issues such as healthy living, personal hygiene, laws and norms of the land, patriotism and the like.