The Four Emphasized Areas of Art in Education

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The Four Emphasized Areas of Art in Education

The National Summary Statement summarizes what every young American should know and be able to do in the arts. It is focused on four areas of emphasis: dance, music, theatre and visual arts. The scope of the summary statement is grades K-12 and speaks to both content and achievement. (National Standards for Arts Education) In this essay I will first describe the four areas of emphasis in art education and then provide recommendations of how the four areas of emphasis could be taught based on current research studies and theoretical constructs related to art. Wikipedia defines dance as an “art form that refers to body movement, usually rhythmic and to music”. Dance can be used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting. The evolution of dance runs deep into history and while it is hard to find the first instance of dance, we know it certainly has been an important part of many cultures for a long time. Dance has been used in ceremonies, rituals, celebration and entertainment since the earliest existence of cultures and societies. Dance does not stop with humanity as many animals have their own form of “dance” as a way of communication. Humans can also use dance as a non-verbal way to communicate. In fact, dance has a broad range of its level of participation. It can be participatory, social, performed, ceremonial, competitive or erotic. A few sports incorporate the elements of dance such as ice skating, gymnastics, etc. Since dance has such a broad range of purpose and participation, the movements can be without significance or be specific to a gesture. Dance can express or embody ideas, emotions or even tell a story. The definition of dance definitely depends on the social, culture and moral constraints of a society or even individuals. One thing that is certain is that music and dance were created and performed together. Throughout the ages and still continuing even today, music and dance evolution is directly related to one another. Wikipedia defines music as “an art whose medium is sound”. As with dance, the definition of music can range depending on social and cultural environments and can even often present a debate about whether the work is considered music or not amongst groups or individuals. I can recall listening to some music of my mother’s from the 1960s, it certainly did not sound like music to me. Interestingly enough, she felt the same way about my 1990s music! Musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez summarizes that “The border between music and noise is always culturally defined-which implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place; in short, there is rarely a consensus…By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what music might be.” There are specific elements to music such as pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, meter, articulation, structure, form and texture. As with dance, music can range from very organized with purpose to improvisational without a specific purpose but more of an expression of the individual. Music can have many different purposes; it can range from simple pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes or entertainment. How music is experienced is unique to the individual that is experiencing it. Music can be dated back to prehistoric times when paintings or cave drawings depicted musical instruments, such as flutes. Within the “arts” music is classified as performing art, fine art or auditory art according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia defines theatre as “any performance”, but when in the concept of art it extends its definition to include the performance usually being focused on “live performers creating a self-contained drama”. In Greek, “theatre” means “a place for seeing”. Thanks to storytelling, theatre can be linked to existing since the dawn of man. History was passed...
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