4 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Choosing a Performing Arts Studio

1. Who’s running the show?

WHO ARE THE OWNERS? WHAT ABOUT THEM MAKES THEIR SCHOOL A PLACE WHERE YOU WOULD WANT TO SEND YOUR CHILD? EXPERIENCE AND BACKGROUND ARE CERTAINLY AMONG THE TOP QUALIFICATIONS TO LOOK FOR IN AN OWNER/DIRECTOR. HAS THE OWNER HAD A PERFORMING CAREER? IT IS WIDELY KNOWN THAT “MAKING IT” ON BROADWAY IS EVERY YOUNG PERFORMER’S DREAM, A DREAM THAT IS REALIZED BY ONLY THE SMALLEST PERCENTAGE (ABOUT 1 TENTH OF 1% OF THOSE WHO TRY, ACTUALLY APPEAR ON A BROADWAY STAGE). THEREFORE, YOU CAN COMFORTABLY ASSUME THAT THE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE ACHIEVED HIGH LEVELS OF SUCCESS IN THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD ARE WELL ACQUAINTED WITH HARD WORK, DEDICATION, AND DRIVE WHICH ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT WHEN COORDINATING THE DIRECTION OF A PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL. DOES THE OWNER TAKE HANDS ON APPROACH WITH THE DAY- TO- DAY SCHEDULE? THOSE OWNERS, WHO ARE INVOLVED WITH TEACHING AND ADMINISTRATING, USUALLY KEEP THEIR FINGER ON THE PULSE OF WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE STUDIO AND THE ENTIRE TEACHING STAFF.

2. Who are the Teachers?

MANY STUDIOS GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO PUBLICIZE THEIR TEACHERS HAVE “COLLEGE DEGREES” IN DANCE, MUSIC, OR ACTING. COLLEGE DEGREES ARE AN ASSET BUT NOT NECESSARILY THE ONLY IMPORTANT THING FOR A PARENT TO LOOK FOR. HERE’S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT; YOU CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A SPECIAL SITUATION WHEN A STUDIO HIRES ALUMNI AS TEACHERS ON THEIR STAFF. THERE ARE MANY STUDENTS WHO STUDIED FOR YEARS AT ONE STUDIO. IF THOSE STUDENTS CHOOSE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THE ARTS, AND THEN ARE DRAWN BACK TO THE STUDIO WHICH THEY GREW UP IN, YOU THEN HAVE A VALUABLE UNIQUE SITUATION FOR STUDENTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF. THESE TEACHERS ARE UNIQUE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW PASSING ON THEIR KNOWLEDGE IN THE VERY SAME WAY IT WAS GIVEN TO THEM BY THE DIRECTOR/TEACHERS. CONSEQUENTLY, THE CYCLE CONTINUES FROM TEACHER TO STUDENT IN THE SAME SETTING. LOOK FOR STUDIO OWNERS THAT HIRE ALUMNI AND/OR UNIVERSITY TRAINED TEACHERS. IF YOUR CHILD CAN’T TAKE CLASS DIRECTLY FROM THE OWNER, YOU’LL BE GETTING INSTRUCTION THAT IS EQUALLY AS GOOD.

3. Dance Recitals/Dress Rehearsals: Hassle or Not?

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“OUT OF ORDER”. MEANING THEY REHEARSE THE YOUNGEST STUDENTS FIRST, AND WORK THEIR WAY UP TO THE OLDEST. THESE TYPES OF “OUT OF ORDER” REHEARSALS TYPICALLY LAST 15 MINUTES PER DANCE NUMBER. THIS RESULTS IN A MUCH MORE EFFICIENT USAGE OF TIME FOR ALL INVOLVED.

4. Can I get immediate assistance and customer service?

EVERYONE NEEDS QUESTIONS ANSWERED IN PERSON FROM TIME TO TIME. IF A STUDIO OWNER IS, DOING THE BOOKS, ANSWERING PHONES, ORGANIZING RECITALS, THEY SIMPLY DON’T HAVE TIME TO PROPERLY ANSWER EVEN THE SIMPLEST QUESTIONS. TO HAVE A GOOD EXPERIENCE IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE A STUDIO WITH A FRIENDLY QUALIFIED DESK STAFF THAT CAN ASSIST YOU WITH QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING COSTUMES, SCHEDULES, AND CALENDAR EVENTS EVEN IF TEACHERS ARE OCCUPIED IN A CLASS. CHOOSE A SCHOOL WITH A DESK STAFF THAT PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO PARENTS AND STUDENTS DURING CLASS TIMES. OUR TEACHERS ARE LEFT FREE TO FOCUS ON TEACHING GIVING THE CLASSES UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.