It has been said about Music that, "Music is the shorthand of emotion." (Leo Tolstoy) and "Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without." (Confucius). Similarly, about Dance it has been said that “Dancers are the messengers of the gods.” (Martha Graham) and “Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.” (Maya Angelou). Music and Dance are the essential nature of mankind. It is, therefore, rather demeaning to talk of Benefits and Importance of Music and Dance. They are something beyond utilitarian importance. However, people do ask of benefits and importance of music and dance before taking classes.
So, for the benefit of such persons here are a few benefits of Music and Dance:
1. Music and dance increase intelligence.
2. Music and dance are great stress removers.
3. Music improves the ability of higher-level thinking.
4. The discipline of music and dance brings discipline to life.
5. Music and dance give great self-satisfaction and self confidence.
6. Music and dance bring name, fame and riches i.e. success in life.
7. Music and dance have social, emotional, and spiritual benefits and give happiness to life.
8. Music develops abstract reasoning necessary for academic success and mathematics and science.
9. Music and Dance can transport their practitioners and audience to a state of bliss akin to Union with God or Nirvana.
10. Dance has great health benefits. Dance builds endurance and stamina, releases toxins through sweating, may lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels and reduce heart rate and also help in weight loss. Dance is better than Gym Exercise because:
i. Gym exercises and other physical fitness routines are monotonous and, therefore, boring. They are like playing football without a ball! While dance moves are interesting and creative.
ii. Dance gives happiness, reduces stress and teaches us a new art of living.
iii. Dance routines help build strong and flexible muscles with graceful body and movements. In fact, some forms of dance, like Zumba, burn more calories than Gym routines.
iv. Dance is a great way of socializing. It gives feeling of brotherhood/sisterhood. In dance one has to synchronize with other participants and it thus gives understanding of each other. Some dances like Waltz and Tango are great for socializing.
v. While Gym routines build specific body parts, dance is good for the whole body.
The dilemma of using singular or plural is at the root of defining Summer Camp (s) also.
A camp, traditionally, is a temporary staying arrangement, usually under the sky and in tents. Invading armies, explorers/mountaineers on the expedition and nomadic tribes usually stay in camps. Vaudevilles, circuses and, of course, boy and girl scouts stayed in camps.
Later on, a tent became unnecessary for a camp! People stayed in hotels, motels and other residential facilities.
All sorts of camps sprung up: day camps and night camps, sports camps and boot camps, political and religious camps and, of course, summer camps. Even a temporary day facility like medical camp, health camp and yoga camp are also there.
Today, Summer Camps are basically of two types. First, which mean staying in the lap of nature, usually overnight and enjoy nature or nature activities like hiking, swimming or climbing. One could add adventure activities to the list. The second type is, generally, day activity for the sole purpose of utilizing summer holidays for a hobby, recreational or learning purpose.
There seems a vast difference in the western and eastern approach to summer camps also. In the west, summer is the most enjoyable period of the year when outdoor activities are possible and enjoyable. There is, therefore, great looking forward to summer in the west. Summer days are quite longer, even more so because of daylight saving timings, and neighbourhood parks and recreation facilities are enough to enjoy. In the east, on the contrary, summer is rather not the best part of the year except that school/colleges are closed. Most of the people travel to hill stations primarily to run away from the scorching sun and secondly because schools are closed.
Of course, in the west also there are summer camps of all varieties and types. Night camps and day camps and sports and games camps and music and dance and hobby camps.
One would do sunbathing in the west, sun screening in the east!
In India, most of the outdoor summer camps are visit and stay in exotic natural places. These camps also provide outdoor recreation and adventure activities.
Then there are summer camps which are mainly for keeping children occupied, if possible usefully, during the holidays. These are day camps supposedly teaching children various utility subjects like sports and games, hobby subjects, educational subjects and music and dance subjects.
Out of all these, which are the best camps which you should send your children to?
Visit to natural places (hill stations) is mostly a family affair and it has nothing to do with summer camp but, of course, only to summer. Who could afford it, a visit to hill stations is practically mandatory and necessary for bragging rights. However, it has the drawback that one could afford to stay in a hill station for limited days and then, again, one has to return to heated plains.
Sports and games summer camps are very popular. Parents think that just joining an Academy owned by a former famous sportsperson would make their children also a great player. But in all of these Academies, the actual coaches are those who have just played the game and are now available at cheap price. For example, most of the ball boys and court maintenance boys become very good player and coaches by dint of their hard work. These are the coaches who are running most of the tennis courts, sometimes, under the famous banners. I have all the praise and good words for them. But they have their limitations and the celebrity player may visit the facility once in a month only, that too, to collect the money and inspect the accounts. So, I am not very much in favour of sports summer camps.
Then, there are summer camps which boast of exotic subjects like rocket science, robotics, and abacus etc. What is the use of a summer camp if it is just an extension of school and one is studying the same, or even more difficult, subjects as in school.
Now, there are summer camps which teach hobby subjects like music and dance and art and crafts. True, one cannot learn these subjects during one summer only. However, they serve a great purpose. All our academic education caters to our left brain only which is analytic. For balanced and harmonized and complete development of brain and personality, one needs development of the right brain or creative side of the brain and personality. Music and dance have unlimited benefits.
I would, therefore, in the final analysis, recommend a summer camp which takes care of Mind, Body, and Spirit of your child. Only a summer camp providing such subjects as music, dance, art, and crafts qualifies for that.