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What kids can learn from veteran artists

From the earliest age, the mental and physical health of children will affect how they live in the future. Thus, growing up with with good nutrition as well as an encouraging environment will make it easier to turn them into goal-getters.

As such, it helps that parents learn about what kids enjoy doing at an early age, with the right avenue of course.

The I-Shine mentors: Robert Alejandro, Kara Escay, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, I-Shine alumna and actress Krystal Brimner, Ryan Cayabyab, Teacher Georcelle Dapat-Sy and Audie Gemora PHOTOS BY J. GERARD SEGUIA


Summer camps is one of these avenues. In the Philippines, I-Shine Talent Camp is among the popular avenues to nurture kids’ talents.

Meant for kids aged 6 to 11, the summer workshops organized by milk brand Promil gained recognition for having their alumni reach greater heights after the camp.

To ensure they have the best trainings possible, the camp tapped mentors who have made a big name for themselves in their respective fields, and have figured out the capacity to make learning more fun.

National Artist Ryan Cayabyab’s iShine music camp

They are celebrity choreographer and G-Force founder Teacher Georcelle Dapat-Sy, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, theater veteran Audie Gemora, visual artist Robert Alejandro, art director Kara Escay, and National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab. Though they are already pillars in the arts industry, they all think that it is important for the youth to get the right teachings and encouragement in order to nurture their talents.

“The [number one thing the kids need] is exposure, that’s why it’s important that we partner with the parents. So expose them to theater, to dance, to music to art — you’ll never know what will interest your kids,” expressed Teacher Georcelle.

“But you know, kids their age, they’re interested in everything but that will make them stay and be attracted to each camp — that’s where you come in and that’s where the nurturing follows,” she reiterated.

Following this, The Manila Times asked visual artists Alejandro and Escay the importance of having mentors, since their field is generally the most accessible.

“I believe, you just have to make it really fun. Art — there’s so much that you can do with it, so what you do is you think of so many ways to keep it fun and keep it different,” answered Alejandro.

“Art shows how you see the world, so you need a mentor that will help open up that view,” added Escay.

Meanwhile, Gemora tackled how bright the future of Philippine theater is and how young kids play a role in making it so much better.

“Dati kasi sa panahon ko, pag sinabi mo gusto mo maging artist, sasabihin ng parents mo, ‘laro lang yan ha, pero kailangan seryoso yung kukunin mo sa college.’ Ang pinaka natural na gawin ng bata ay mag role play. Kung ano ang pinaglalaruan nila, naniniwala talaga sila na yun na yun,” he began.

“When my child was simply playing with his action figures, he sees this whole production behind the toys because the best gift that God gives kids is imagination. If you just allow your kids to let their imaginations go, they will really become great [arts] ambassadors. Just encourage your kids to be what they are — imaginative children.”

Not fearing rejection
Although the arts is considered a fun field, most people tend to forget that there are still difficulties that come with it. In fact, even if they are some of the biggest artists today, most of them had to start somewhere or from scratch.

Take Ryan Cayabyab, for example. He was once an accounting student who remained passionate about playing the piano. If it wasn’t for a music scholarship offered to him, he would have never persuaded is family, who did not allowed him earlier on, to pursue a musical career.

Fast forward to becoming a legend, the living icon admitted his experience and status however does not exempt him from negative comments and rejection.

“Even as an adult, you’re still competing with other people. For example, you’re doing a campaign tapos they open it for bidding. There’s been times na na-reject yung sinubmit ko. The lesson is, you just check what was wrong with it and then probably improve, but usually it’s so simple to get over it,” he shared with The Manila Times.

“The way to do it is just think, ‘it’s not the way they want it. It’s not that they don’t like me, it’s not the right combination for this particular one.’ In art, the audience is subjective because all of us grow up having personal likes and dislikes. You cannot impose on the other person, so for me, that’s the easiest way to offset.”

The Philippine National Artist Imparted this message when it was his daughter’s turn to experience rejection. When she was younger, she was very eager to join singing competitions but would come home crying after losing.

Cayabyab recalled the advice he gave her, “Your voice is different. That’s not what they’re looking for in school performances. They’re looking for birit, but look at your voice, your voice is angelic.

“With kids, sa umpisa palang dapat the parents mold their minds because the kids might think na their rejection is a rejection for life.”

‘You learn better when you make mistakes than when you keep on getting it right all the time,’ expressed prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.

Similarly, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde was not always a prima ballerina. But because of her dream to be one, she continued practicing only.

Asked by The Manila Times if she too has experienced rejection, she answered, “Yes, of course. That’s part of the experience, the learning — to be rejected or to fall or to make a mistake in the choreography, forget something, or to not be perfect. Rejection makes us stronger and it also points us in the right direction.

“You learn better when you make mistakes than when you keep on getting it right all the time. That’s what happened to me and that’s also what I let my students learn.”

The summer camp opened many doors for Krystal Brimner who has already essayed a theater role in ‘Annie,’ and a part in the acclaimed film ‘Sunod.’ She is soon to play the young Darna in the upcoming remake.

Rounding up thing interview, the prima ballerina imparted this important message, “Hard work trumps talent when talent does not work hard. Stick to it and invest the time and energy into pursuing and achieving a goal, whatever it is.”

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