I’m sure you’re all familiar with the scene. A crowd of young actors huddled backstage desperately trying to complete their homework in between scenes. It’s a difficult situation to be in, especially if you have a tendency to say to yourself “I can always do it on the bus” like I do! That’s why I’m here to share my top 5 tips to perfectly balance school work with a busy rehearsal schedule.
It is important that you plan out what homework you have to do each night. For example, if your biology homework is due first thing the next morning, it would be wiser to start on that then an English essay which is due in two weeks! It is also important to prioritise between rehearsals and school work. Whilst bringing your books to rehearsals may seem like a good idea, I often find that I’m far too busy to get anything done. It may mean being a bit late to rehearsals, but if you explain to your director before hand that school is your priority, I’m sure they will understand.
2. WORK CONSISTENTLY.
How do you eat an elephant? Bit by bit. Rather than leaving all of a large essay to the very last minute, it is better to slowly work away at it over a period of time. It may seem like a painstakingly long process at the time, but it is much less draining than having to pull an all nighter to get it done, which will affect both your concentration at school and your performance on stage!
3. TAKE A BREAK.
It is vital that you break up your workload into small manageable chunks of around an hour or so at a time, with 15 minute breaks in between. During your break is an ideal time to read over lines, listen to backing tracks and practice your performance. Doing this helps to both tackle work efficiently and perfect your performance on stage
4. DON’T DRAIN YOURSELF.
Whether it’s exhausting yourself on stage or pulling all-nighters, it’s important that you rest yourself. Getting some rest will help to relieve sore throats from singing and relax muscles from dancing. Sleep also improves your focus and ability to retain information, which comes in handy for remembering lines or studying for an important test! Water also helps to improve memory and dehydration will completely put you out of completing school work or rehearsals.
5. MAKE USE OF THE TIME YOU HAVE IN SCHOOL!
If you have free periods or study breaks in school, you should make use of these periods to complete school work that you will otherwise have to cram in between rehearsals or catch up on any work that you are behind on. If you have completed all work for school then free time like this is also a good opportunity to read over lines or directors notes, maybe even sneak in a rehearsal of your own if your school has a drama space! It is so important to utilise free time given to you in school as it will save you lots of time later when you would otherwise be stressing over getting your work handed in on time.
It is important for all young thespians to find a good balance between schoolwork and rehearsals, and if you feel like you are struggling to cope with it, the talk to your director or teacher. They can help you work out a schedule that will allow you to do both work and rehearsal and ensure that you are achieving your full potential in the classroom and on stage!
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