Ways to Effectively Teach Performing Artists

(Or Anyone, Really)

Hi, my name is Jeff Russell. I’m a healthcare professional to performing artists and a professor. One of the most incredible blessings of my life is to teach young people and watch their eyes light up when they “get it.” Many of those I teach are performing artists learning about anatomy, fitness, nutrition, injuries, and other performing arts health topics. But, every time I am with performers I realize that they generally don’t possess a lot of good health information.

The problem isn’t access…we have way more information in our world than we know what to do with. So, the problem must be getting the correct information to these artists, delivered by someone who actually cares about them and will invest in them. Ah yes…that’s why I developed Artisanus

Artisanus is constructed from the English word “Artist” and the Latin word for healthy, “sanus.” My efforts here are about the art of healthy performers, and I hope they will impact you if you are a performing artist, a performing arts teacher, or a performing arts parent. Or, even if you are none of those!

Three Keys for Teaching Performing Artists

Here are three ways that help me effectively teach scientific principles of health and wellness to performing artists, as well as their teachers and parents:

  1. Guide them to information that is important to their lives. We are buried with information in today’s world. The internet offers a continual blizzard, and the typical student lacks the discernment to critically evaluate it. Heck, they’re just trying to dig out from under it all. So, I have to find reputable sources about key topics and then show the students why the sources are good. That done, the students are more likely to access the sources again when they are searching for information. Repeatedly my students tell me how much they appreciate knowing where to turn to find answers.
  2. Make them interact with the material by giving them projects. If I want students to learn about the nutritional information on food labels, I give them food labels to read rather than just telling them about food labels. Better yet, I send them to their kitchen cabinets and to the grocery store to find labels, critique them, and report back to me about their findings.
  3. Care about them deeply and continually encourage them. I spend a lot of time telling students how valuable they are, how much I appreciate their giftedness in performing arts, and how they are uniquely created to impact the world. These messages are important for everyone, but I find that the nature of the various performing arts professions requires a heavy emphasis on encouragement to counteract the boatload of negativity that assaults young people in general, and artists specifically.

What do you think about this? Does any of this resonate with you? Would you like to learn this way? Leave a comment below.

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Please note: While diverse opinions are essential to discussion, I reserve the right to delete comments that are mean-spirited, offensive, or off-topic. If you wish to disagree with people, please respect them in doing so.

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