Performing Arts Adult Education Programs

There are a wide range of performing arts programs available for adults. Find out about classes that teach adults to sing, dance, act and play musical instruments.

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Adults with the time and interest may follow the dream of studying the performing arts by finding a local program that offers these classes. Performing and non-performing art courses may be offered during the day, at night or on weekends in a variety acting, music or dance classes.

Program Information

Theaters, centers for the performing arts and colleges and universities offer community outreach and adult education programs in the performing arts. Programs range from beginner classes in tap dancing to advanced classes for musicians who perform regularly. Adult with the time may involve themselves in acting or stage work, learning classic guitar, or waltzing in a local competition. These programs are taught with adults in mind who may come to class without any expectations. Adults can also learn about the performing arts through lectures and performance-art appreciation classes. Read on for information on the many types of programs that are available.

Programs At a Glance


  • Performance classes in theater usually meet during the day, at night or weekends depending on the experience level.
  • A variety of acting courses are held on-campus and may include mime, voice, accents, improvisation, or comedy/drama.


  • Music classes usually involve a single instrument like guitar, piano, or as different as bagpipes.
  • Voice classes take place in a choral setting and students work as an ensemble. Some classes may be offered online through videos, but normally classes are held on-site.


  • Dance performance also takes place as ensemble courses in a variety of styles: modern, jazz, Broadway, tap or others.
  • Individual classes commonly are private and involve advanced students.

Non-performance Art

  • Non-performance classes are normally offered to those looking to expand their knowledge of a performance area before viewing a show.
  • These courses are usually held on-campus before performance venues.

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Coursework in Performing Arts Programs

Performing arts programs offered for adults include a variety of classes in acting, singing, dancing and musical instrument performance. Most of these are non-credit classes.


Adult acting classes teach acting basics, improvisation techniques and character acting. Some classes are labeled 'beginner' but mix experienced actors with inexperienced students. Some classes are focused on sharpening acting skills for auditions, while others are general acting classes that help adult students learn about performing and improve public speaking skills and self confidence. Often these groups culminate their work with a live performance that could include a scripted play, original production or community improv performance.

Musical Instrument

Adults can take individual and group classes designed for those just learning to play musical instruments. There are also classes for adults who want to brush up on their skills. The most common instrument classes are for violin, guitar and piano. However, in some communities unique instrument classes may be taught such ukelele or bagpipes. These classes are taught by experts with experience not only as performers but as educators teaching beginners to advanced students.


Adult education voice classes are typically for those without any formal singing experience. Classes teach vocal exercises and techniques, including breathing, tone and diction instruction. Some of these courses are handled by church organizations or community choirs. Local schools may sponsor these choral groups through adult education programs or senior citizen organizations.


Learning to dance as an adult can improve muscle tone and overall health. Adult education programs in dancing can include ballet, tap and jazz. Often these lessons are part of a dance studio offering private group lessons, or experts looking to give back to the community giving lessons through community centers. Many times senior groups teach or learn ballroom dance, two-step, and the waltz. Some of these programs may culminate in a public performance opportunity.

Non-Performance Programs

Adults interested in learning more about the performing arts without actually having to perform can take classes in history and appreciation of the arts. Some theaters provide pre-performance lectures to help audience members gain a better understanding of the performance. These lectures might focus on the history of a type of performance, such as opera, ballet and early dance or on a playwright's works. Many public museums offer short art appreciation courses to help their patrons and citizens understand the various school's of art throughout history or stress what their museum has on display.

Students who have an appreciation for the arts can take courses in a variety of performance arts programs including acting, dance, and vocal/instrumental music. These timely scheduled classes could be about learning to actually perform or simply to appreciate what they see or hear in a performance.

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