Some Things Are Caught, Not Taught

by Angie Mack Reilly, founder of Ozaukee Talent (c) July 21, 2016

I wish that I could remember who I originally heard this great quote from.

“Some things are caught, not taught.”

I have used this saying quite a bit, especially with my vocal students.  A perfect example would be trying to teach a student of mine how to “perform” the song as opposed to “just singing” it.  I will say something like,

“Some things are caught, not taught.  Here.  Let me show you what ‘performing’ this song looks like.”  And then I will get in front of them and show them by example.  Sometimes, teaching in the performing arts requires more than just words.  It requires showing the passion or emotion of a certain piece.

Children are great mimickers; some more than others.  Growing up, I was good at mimicking characters in cartoons like Marvin the Martian and Goofy.  A lot of my vocal training consisted of mimicking Whitney Houston and Barbara Streisand.  Honest!


I firmly believe that, as artists, we are subconsciously and consciously inspired by what our senses are exposed to.  When my three sons were growing up, I am thankful that we exposed them to so many diverse experiences in the arts.  I think that is one of the greatest gifts that we can give our children.

The greater Milwaukee area is fortunate to have so many opportunities to appreciate the arts between the festivals, concert venues and performing arts venues that we have.

If you want to instill a greater appreciation for the arts in your child or even help develop their talent, expose them to diverse arts opportunities that they can mimic.  Some children learn better by watching or hearing rather than telling.

A great example would be from one of my summer drama sessions yesterday.  A six year old student of mine performed “Thriller” by Michael Jackson for the class.  I could tell that he has watched the music video several times and learned how to mimic the moves.  My niece is a fabulous mimicker.  Let me tell you, she can sing and perform every nuance from the movie, “Frozen” like nobody’s business!

So, for my Ozaukee County parents, Port Summer Musical Theatre opens with “The Little Mermaid” tonight.  The shows will start this evening at the Port Washington High School at 7:30 pm.  There will be 7:30 pm shows tomorrow night and Saturday night and then a 2:00 pm matinee on Sunday.  Tickets will be sold at the door.  Not only will your child catch some inspiration, but they will catch some nice air conditioning in this hot, hot, hot weather as well!


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