Art, music, and drama reduce stress. What you should know about arts courses

You may be weighing up several factors when you decide to take a performing arts or visual arts course in your 11th and 12th years. Consider your passion for the subject and how it might impact your university application. Also, you should think about what you can do with your new skills.

In 2019, nearly 30% of the total number of year 12 students in Australia (53,311 students) studied visual or performing arts. In 2019, nearly 30% of all Australian year 12 students (53,311 total) chose to study visual or performing arts.

The arts subject selection you have will depend on what state you live in. But these are the types of subjects you can broadly choose from in visual and performing arts.

Visual arts

Visual Arts is an academic subject. You will be introduced to different types of artworks and the role that artists play in society. Discussions and writing assignments will be given to help you understand what art means. You will be able to draw on ideas from both historical and contemporary art and culture.

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In studio arts , you will learn about artists’ practices and the art industry while also developing your own art.

The mediums you choose will be the ones in which you experiment with art techniques and processes. You can choose from photography, painting or drawing, printmaking, filmmaking, digital arts, textiles, ceramics, and more. You will create your own art, document the process, and display your work.

Studio arts allows you to work with any media of your choosing, including photography. Shutterstock

Media Arts is a research and learning project that focuses on narratives across media. You will be able to demonstrate your knowledge of the production process by creating a media product, such as a photographic exhibition or film.

What are the benefits of studying art?

My research and experience as an artist and a university teacher for 15 years have taught me that any art subject in year 11 or 12 will allow you to benefit from the extensive creative process. It is important to experiment with different techniques, learn from other artists, and develop a message or theme.

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Your technique must be proficient to achieve good marks. It would help if you also documented the development of your research and ideas with visual images you created and written statements in journals. This is risky as you are putting yourself out there. It must also come together in a certain time frame, which can be challenging and stressful.

Research shows that arts education is beneficial.

Benefits include enjoyment and stress reduction. Senior years can be stressful, so adding arts subjects to the mix is a great way to care for yourself. The arts are known to offer benefits for mental health, as creating art is a mindfulness practice.

The arts, such as theatre and music, can help relieve stress. Shutterstock

Art is the process of combining subject matter, creative experience, and technique to tell a story. The arts are a way to release. Reflecting on the meaning of art can give you insights into yourself, which is therapeutic.

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In addition, you will develop a range of skills that will help you in any area of life. Beyond creativity and thinking skills, research shows arts education will help you enhance your communication and expressive skills, as well as boost your confidence and self-esteem. Teamwork, too, is a big part of the arts, and learning this skill will be helpful at university and in your future employment.

You can use the presentation, communication, and performance skills that you learn to pursue careers in public speaking, community art, and teaching.

Does doing arts affect my ATAR score?

Universities use the ATAR system to determine how many students are accepted into certain courses. It similarly ranks you to a queue against all students of the same age.

ATAR is not required for university admission, especially in the arts. It is often an interview with a portfolio.

Even if you don’t plan to study arts in university, you should still choose subjects that you enjoy and are good at. The skills you gain in the arts will also improve your chances of getting into university. To enter a medical program, you need a high ATAR. Most Universities also conduct interviews to test your skills in empathy, collaboration, and ethical reasoning – all of which are enhanced through the arts.

What can I do after school with these skills?

Students who have studied senior art often go on to learn visual or performing arts at university. Others become independent artists. Some people practice art as a hobby, which helps them to maintain a healthy balance in their lives.

Many people practice art as a side job to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Shutterstock

A former student in her late 20s now, she studied music and visual arts in school but is also a psychiatric nurse who is in a rock band. She says that being a musician helps her deal with the stress of her job.

A 20-year-old male ex-student also studied VCE VET, including media arts, studio art, visual arts, and psychology. He works as a full-time employee in a technology firm. He said that the networking he is doing now is similar to the work he did for his documentary in media arts. He said that his design skills are also helpful for marketing materials.

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