How to Expose Kids to Different Careers in the Arts at School

There is an amazing variety of jobs in the arts. From acting to painting to running a gallery, you can help kids learn about many different ways that they can turn their creativity into a career. In class, take time to explain different career paths. You can also explain art schools and other degrees that might make these jobs easier to obtain. You can also further expose kids by expanding the art classes at your school and integrating it into core classes. Have fun with this! You’re helping kids find a path they can be passionate about.

Method One of Three:
Highlighting Different Career Paths

  1. 1
    Help students find resources. When you are discussing possible careers, it’s important to give kids as much concrete information as possible. For example, you could make sure to have flyers or brochures for different art programs on hand. If a student asks a specific question, use the internet to help them find the answer.
    • Provide your students with a wide array of possible job ideas. Go into detail about those that interest them.
  2. 2
    Tell your students about careers in the dramatic arts. It’s great to start discussing the arts at a young age. When students are in elementary school and middle school, you can talk about learning to be an actor. You can use popular children’s movies or TV shows as examples. Once students reach high school you can start discussing even more job possibilities. You could talk to them about ideas such as: [1]
    • Live performer
    • Playwright
    • Director
    • Agent
    • Public relations
    • Voice over artist
    • Theater teacher
  3. 3
    Help students learn about becoming a professional artist. If your students are in middle school and high school, they might be thinking about possible career paths. If you notice they seem interested in art, or even just have a creative streak, you can talk to them about various careers as an artist. Some career paths include: [2]
    • Creating and selling art, such as paintings or sculptures
    • Graphic design
    • Interior design
    • Animation
    • Flower arranging
    • Architecture
  4. 4
    Explain different careers in music. You don’t have to be a musical genius to have a fulfilling career in music. Obvious paths include performing, such as a singer or member of an orchestra. Don’t forget to discuss options such as:[3]
    • Composition
    • Production
    • Education
    • Music therapist
  5. 5
    Talk to your students about careers in dance. Let your students know that there are many ways to translate their passion for dance into a career. Talk to them about their specific interests and help them come up with ideas of what they might like to do. You could suggest: [4]
    • Performing
    • Choreographer
    • Educator
    • Fitness instructor
    • Dance therapist
  6. 6
    Invite professionals from various careers to speak to students. If your school has a career day, make sure to invite a variety of speakers who have careers in the arts. You can reach out to people you know personally, or search the community for people who would be willing to talk to your students. Try inquiring at local dance studios, music stores, and art galleries. You could also check with local colleges. [5]
    • Make sure to be polite when asking someone to share their time with your students.
    • Ask the speaker to be ready to answer lots of questions from curious students.
    • If your school does not have a career day, you can simply invite guest speakers into your own classroom.

Method Two of Three:
Exploring Higher Education in the Arts

  1. 1
    Discuss options for going to art school. For many careers, it might be helpful (or even necessary) to earn a degree from a college or art institute. Make sure to provide kids with lots of information about art school. You can help them search online for schools that specialize in the field they are interested in. For example, help a painter search for schools that are known for their painting programs.[6]
    • Make sure that students also consider the costs of going to art school. Help them look for scholarships and financial aid.
    • Help them create a portfolio that highlights their best work.[7]
  2. 2
    Discuss the liberal arts route. It’s not necessary to attend art school to pursue a degree in the arts or an art related field. Talk to kids about going to a liberal arts school instead. Some students might feel more comfortable in a traditional college environment instead of an art immersion program. [8]
    • One benefit to this path is that students can study other disciplines in addition to art. This might be useful in finding a job later.
    • For example, a photography student might take business classes so that they will be able to run their own business one day.
  3. 3
    Encourage students to explore different fields. Remind your students that they don’t have to make up their mind about a career right away. College or art school can give them the chance to explore new mediums and work on finding or combining their passions. For example, if a student is passionate about drama, encourage them to take some music classes, too. The two fields often overlap. [9]

Method Three of Three:
Introducing the Arts in the Classroom

  1. 1
    Create an introduction to art class. The classroom is one of the best places to begin exposing students to art and possible careers. If your school does not already have one, start an introduction to art class. In this class, students can learn about a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography.[10]
    • Make this class as hands on as possible. Instead of spending the entire class talking about using pastels, let students jump in and try it.
  2. 2
    Incorporate music into core classes. Adding music into other subjects can help students engage with the material more. Look for ways to add it into the classes you already teach. This can be done with Math, Science, English, and History.[11]
    • For example, in an English class you could have your students transform Shakespeare’s sonnets into rap pieces. This will help make the material exciting and relatable.
    • Take some time to talk about how music is important in all aspects of life and that there are many ways to turn it into a career.
  3. 3
    Take a field trip to a play that connects to the curriculum. Field trips are an excellent way to help bring information to life. Look at local theater listings to see if you can find a play that connects to what you are teaching. For example, if you have been discussing McCarthyism, take your class to see a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.[12]
    • Before and after the excursion, discuss all the different jobs involved with putting on a play. Mention performers, directors, writers, people in charge of marketing, etc.
    • Don’t forget to follow your school’s protocol regarding field trips.
  4. 4
    Use art as a writing prompt. You can use art to help students practice critical thinking skills. Play them a piece of music and have them write about how it made them feel. You could also display a photograph or painting and have the students write a description of what they see.[13]
    • You can use this as a jumping off point to talk about careers. For example, you could say, “What went into producing that piece of music? How many people do you think were involved?”
  5. 5
    Teach arts history in social studies classes. Getting students thinking about different types of art is a great way to encourage them to think about possible careers. In history or government classes, you can use music to help you describe the period or place that you are teaching about.[14]
    • For example, when you are talking about the counterculture of the 1960s, you can play music by artists such as Jimi Hendrix. This could help them start thinking about the arts as an integral part of society.

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