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How can music and dance rapidly increase your personal growth?

Toorak College
Sep 30, 2019 11:58:21 AM

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The words that you hear ringing out at Toorak College at the moment are ‘personal growth’. Our Toorak value for Term 3 focuses on personal growth and how to define your own success. What does personal growth mean? How is it different for each individual? 

Personal growth is a continual process of understanding your own self and identity so that you can achieve your goals and aspirations without limitations. Personal growth is essential to your happiness, success and health on an emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual level. As a school, it is our responsibility to ensure our students are being developed both academically and personally so they graduate feeling equipped with the courage, knowledge and skills to take on the world. 

Personal growth can be expanded rapidly by discovering your passions. If you find an activity or hobby that truly excites and motivates you to pursue it on a deeper level, that will enhance your drive for growth on many levels. 

In psychological studies, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs assesses your steps to personal growth and success. According to Maslow, we go through several psychological stages in order to reach our full potential. These stages include physiological needs (shelter, food and water), safety needs (health, financial security, safe environment), love and belonging needs (being affiliated with groups, friends and family), esteem needs (feeling competent and earning respect from yourself and others), cognitive needs (the desire to learn more on a deep intellectual level), aesthetic needs (the need for beauty, design, creativity and art) and lastly self-actualisation needs (reaching full potential, dreams turning into reality). Using Maslow’s pyramid as a guide, we can take one step at a time to slowly build our personal growth. These steps may not be in sequential order as we always encounter some unexpected challenges along the way, but if you remain determined and passionate, that is when personal growth flourishes. 

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How does Toorak offer opportunities for personal growth? 

Music - tuning talent, coordination and discipline 

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Music is a subject that tunes the ear, coordinates the brain in different ways and encourages self-discipline to practice what has been taught to students. Music can be a solo artistry or an ensemble that brings groups of students together with common interests. It does not matter if you are an elite or a beginner, the art to learning how to make music is a skill that can be taught from any age. Toorak Music Captain, Charlotte Baker, said her experience with music has made her a confident and skillful young leader. 

Charlotte Baker Toorak College Music

“Being a musician brings me a lot of joy. I'm provided with the opportunity to make new friends in collaborative situations (bands and orchestras) as well as developing my own personal performance skills. For me, the music captain role has assisted in developing my skills in teamwork and collaboration in a very professional manner. These are skills that I believe are extremely important for my future in the workforce. These skills, combined with my love of performing, have been wonderful over the past year and I've grown as a musician, as well as a leader.”

Dance - flexibility, coordination, endurance

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Dance is similar to Music in that it helps to develop self-discipline, coordination and artistry. Yet dance is also a very visual artform and it begs the dancer to be self-aware of their own body in space. Being self-aware and bodily aware of your surroundings is a skill that takes a long time to develop, yet dance accelerates this dramatically. Dance also tests endurance and the ability to make things look effortless when in fact the movements are complex. Yet above all, dance is a kinetic and tactile sport that releases endorphins through physical exercise and allows you to engage with other people on a deeper level. Generally speaking, those who grow up dancing together end up being long-term friends due to sharing common interests and similar ambitions. Toorak Dance Captain, Annalise Butler, said she has released how much she loves to dance. 

Dance captain Toorak College

“Being dance captain has shown me the amount of passion I have for dance and for my team. Training endlessly and experiencing competitions as a team have allowed me to grow as a person, though my confidence and joy as a dance leader. 

Through dance, we all experience the feeling of being nervous and scared but when you step on stage as a team and know you have the support of strong, like-minded dancers, you are able to find a confidence within yourself as both a dancer and person.”

Friendships, fun, failure 

There are three signature words that all contribute to our own personal growth: friendships, fun and failure. In both music and dance, students can develop long-term friendships that are based on common interests and values. Having a strong sense of belonging to a team or environment can make a world of difference to your technical, social, mental, emotional and physical improvement in the arts. Close friends share one another’s experiences and often have similar viewpoints, traditions and goals. They witness milestones in one another’s lives, unexpected changes of life, the adversity, sadness and celebrations. 

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In both music and dance, the fun aspect comes from belonging to a team or environment that inspires and encourages motivation to perform to the best of their ability. Yet, in order to learn, we must first make mistakes. Those who have achieved great success have also achieved great failure at some point. It has been their reaction to that failure that has set them apart from others. These people found alternative routes to success, discovered other passions to fuse with their goals, kept an open mind and focused on what made them happy. Only from our low points (like losing a dance competition or hitting a wrong note) can we appreciate our high moments, which is what sparks our journey of personal growth. 

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