Improv has foundational guiding principles, each of which can be linked to psychological skills or constructs that may increase self-concept. Below, we list each of these foundational guiding principles, and how each one may be linked to self-concept or other social-emotional skills.
I can attest that Improv most certainly does increase self confidence. Here is an email I just got THIS MORNING from a student new to our classes.
“(my son) is having a blast in your class. Every time, he has huge smiles for the rest of the day, and he’s had tremendous growth in his speaking confidence already. “
This mom is signing up for another four weeks.
What is most significant about this student, he has ONLY taken virtual classes the past four weeks.
For 18 years I have seen shy kids wake up after just one live session. We moved online with the rest of the world in March.
I am beyond excited to see the growth in this child. He has such anxiety, he sounded asthmatic when he has to talk, well when he finally talked around the third class. When he finally opened up it was a struggle.
But yesterday, he laughed nearly the entire hour, and contributed more than ever. Only once did he start to heave before speaking.
Reading his mom’s email brought smiles and happy tears.
The smartest among us are usually the shyest. Their brains worked differently. They have so much information they don’t always know how to share it. Many of these kids are on the. Spectrum. They are high functioning but society generally writes them off.as different so they shut down socially.
They seem quiet but are just as anxious. Improv calms the anxiety through creative cerebral play.
I had been doing residencies at schools and workshops for years by the time I opened up my school in 2011.
One of my very first students enrolled in public classes was first a five year old kid with Asperger’s Syndrome. I only knew this because his parents, after coming to our show numerous times, reached out on Facebook. Mom explained to me his situation and how just being in our interactive shows brought the kid out if his shell.
Their requests led to my first public class. He was now eight. Five years later he was cast in a Netflix TV show. Now I hear he wants to enlist as a Marine.
Another student from that first class is now working with our company as a professional performers and teacher. Steven Prestia also sits on the board of a Long Island arts council while still in College.
These kids, and their parents, have become family.
In those years I have had hundreds, maybe 1000+ pass through our doors. We get a few theatrical types, after all we are in Times Square and Improv is amazing for ALL performers. But the ones I treasure, come in scared.
They leave with smiles and laughter.
I leave feeling accomplished. I never set out to change a life. I am humbled by every parental email, text or call saying how much our classes have done for their child.
But more importantly, GET YOUR KID INTO IMPROV CLASSES.
I hope you will choose mine, but there are hundreds others.
Just make sure it’s a class that does not cater to it’s stars.
The secret is PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY for all. No one should feel less than in an Improv class. I nurture my stars but never at the expense of those that NEED our classes the most.
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