Music and Art Stress Therapy at CP

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Isabella Carlin, Reporter

It can be easy for mountain-high piles of homework, long shifts at work, and important sporting competitions to fill our minds with immense stress throughout high school. By focusing on this stress, we are just making the situation worse. It is important that we each find the correct coping mechanisms for ourselves in order to create a sense of peace in our lives. One popular coping mechanism that has emerged in recent years is playing a musical instrument or creating art. 

By playing an instrument or creating artwork, students are allowing themselves to express their emotions, use their creativity, and focus on the task at hand without stressing. This type of expressive therapy has been proven to increase the physical, psychological, and social well-being of individuals. The fine arts departments at College Park have created a safe environment at school for students to practice their artistic abilities without feeling stressed. 

“In choir, students are free to share their ideas, both musically and personally. Musicians are never critical of each other because, in music, there is rarely a “wrong answer”, but another way to approach the same challenge,” assistant choir director, Mr. Doerries said. 

By allowing students to convey their ideas, the fine arts programs are creating a safe environment. Once people step into a music room, they know they are not going to be judged or negatively criticized by others. This safe space provides an outlet away from the stresses of grades and academic classes. 

“Over the years I have taught, I have heard many students say that orchestra is their favorite class, mainly because it allows them a period of the day to refocus their academic energy to a different part of their brain,” head orchestra director, Dr. Kempter said. “Our school has very high academic expectations, so when a student has the opportunity to belong to the orchestra, choir, or band, they have a perfect outlet for engaging the parts of their brain that control breathing, cognitive functions, and generally makes them feel good.”

Stress from academics has been proven to reduce achievement and decrease motivation in students. A fine arts period in the middle of the day allows students to get a break from constantly taking tests and recharge before returning to academic classes. Although you are still working hard in fine arts, you are using your brain in a unique way from academics. Instead of focusing on memorizing math formulas, you are focusing on creating a masterpiece of art with your peers and directors. 

“Art gives me a relaxing outlet to decompress by incorporating my personal thoughts and emotions into my pieces,” senior artist, Rebecca Lee said. “It provides an escape from some of the pressures I feel on a day to day basis.” 

The act of drawing or painting emotions onto a medium allows people to reflect and release their anxieties in an innovative way. It provides an alternative method of communicating ideas, especially those that cannot always be put into words. By providing students the opportunity to express themselves in the school setting, fine arts programs are helping to lighten the heavy burden of stress on high school students. 

“Orchestra and all fine arts invite and recruit a variety of students to the program, so I believe most students are comfortable being themselves among others on a daily basis,” orchestra director, Dr. Kempter said.