There are so many reasons for humans to take Improv classes that it's almost impossible to narrow them down!
I've been teaching Improvisation for nearly 30 years and my students have ranged in age from 6 to 94. They are not only Actors, but Dentists and Sheriffs and Mayors and Teachers. Some people come to class because they want to 'come out of their shell', some want to do comedy as a full time job, some want to get in touch with their 'inner child', some want to stay spry in their retirement years, some just want to laugh on a regular basis. The magical thing about this art form is that ALL of these things can be accomplished at the same time and I get to see it nearly every day!
But, today we are talking about kids. Why Improv? Don't they already know how to play? They have spry minds and their 'inner children' are actually 'outer children'- so what gives?
Here's the deal: I have found that the coolest thing for kids is to be reminded that they are endlessly creative, that their ideas matter and that having a positive attitude will lead to a life of great adventure!
The transition from childhood into adulthood is full of land mines that every parenting blog will tell you about in detail. A kid who has discovered Improv will be able to navigate many of these areas with a greater confidence in themselves, a courage to make his or her own choices and a stronger ability to engage in social interractions.
A child who is already an Actor can really soar with a little Improv training. Improv experience can help you feel more confident in your choices at an audition, maintain your equilibrium when some little thing goes wrong and just loosen up the whole process of auditioning so the stress level is reduced by a ton. I often hear students share audition stories where Improv skills really saved them. Directors want to see different choices in a short moment - they don't always have time for you to mull over the proper response to a direction. An improvisor can offer up the same line of dialogue in 10 different ways without a worry. That's why casting directors want Improvisors at auditions - they deliver!
A good improvisation class will give a kid a safe place to make big choices, a safe place to fail and practice letting go of self judgement, and a safe place to find out what his or her secret talents are. When that kid goes into an audition, he's going into familiar territory and knows what will probably work. He knows how to bring fun into a room - people naturally want to work with him.
Just last week I received this text from the mom of a 10 year old girl:
"Thanks for bringing forth an aspect of our daughter we didn't know was there. What a wonderful surprise to see her own it onstage fully."
We make up scenes, make up songs, make up jokes, make friends, make each other laugh and make a lasting positive change in a person's life. Just say "Yes" to an Improv class for your little actor, it's an investment into their adulthood!
About the Author: Lisa Fredrickson has been teaching and performing Improv for over 25 years. She currently teaches the Youth Improv Intensive at Keep It Real Acting Studios. She is a positively charged, working commercial actress who applies improv to most things she does in life!