Now is a great time to watch some favorite movies. It’s an added bonus when we can watch movies that teach us something. Disney Channel does a good job of this with some of their original movies. High School Musical did so well that it got a second Disney Channel original movie as well as a grand finale in its third movie, which was even theatrically released.

The High School Musical trilogy is always good for a sing-along marathon with friends and family, but it also offers some valuable lessons for fans of all ages. Here are the ten best lessons we learned from the three High School Musical films.

10 Seize the Moment!

This message comes through effectively in all three movies. The first movie celebrates discovery of new talents, the second captures the magic of summertime, and the third is an ode to growing up and moving on.

That last film puts this into music perfectly with Troy and Gabriella’s tree house song, “Right Here.” It also emphasizes the little moments we want to remember from growing up.

9 Try Something New!

Yes, as the song goes, it’s “the start of something new.” This phrase from the karaoke song plays out in more than one way over the course of the movies. Something new could take place in the form of a hobby or skill, like Troy with his music, Zeke with his baking, or Martha with dance.

Something new could also happen with friendships that last a lifetime. Lastly, something new might just be a romantic relationship with that special someone.


8 Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover!

The “Stick to the Status Quo” song from High School Musical is not perfect, but it gets at one of the franchise’s best selling points: people have have more than one layer, and they can’t be reduced to just one talent or personality trait.

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Though the Wildcats have Disney’s sense of uniformity about them, they all have different gifts and interests.

7 It’s Always Better Together!

A clear principle of the HSM films is that there is strength in numbers. Take music as an analogy.

A solo piece is lovely, but the ensemble piece is the one where everyone gets to shine. We will have some victories on our own, but how much better are they when we can share them with the people we love?

6 Remember Where You Came From!

Backstories of the teen characters are not explored in any detail, but there is a clear continuity from the innocent aura of the first movie. There are hints of characters’ development arcs throughout, like Gabriella wrestling with her and Troy’s relationship, Troy slowly becoming less self-centered, or Ryan gradually finding a different path from Sharpay.

Other characters, like Martha and Zeke, retain the initial bright personalities of the first movie but build on their own strengths and interests.

5 Always Work Hard!

Hard work is explored in different ways in the three films. The first one shows what it takes to pursue multiple opportunities in life. It can be challenging to juggle more than one commitment. The second shows that working a day job can be pretty brutal, even if it is at a country club. The third shows that finishing strong in high school or in anything else is only the beginning.

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There will always be something else around the corner, but the hard work of today prepares us for tomorrow.

4 Let Kids Be Themselves!

There is a big lesson in these movies for parents, too. Coach Bolton repeatedly struggles with Troy’s choice to be more than the face of the East High basketball team. He means well, but he spends most of the first movie making fun of musical theater and fighting with the drama teacher.

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The takeaway here is to be open to your child’s interests, even if they are different from your own. With the first generation of High School Musical viewers now old enough to be parents, this is timely advice.

3 Dream Big!

These movies may not seem so realistic to some, but they remind us to dream big dreams for ourselves. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s healthy to draw up a design like Sharpay’s in “I Want it All,” but a girl can dream.

It is exciting in the third movie when characters seek to make their dreams their reality.

2 Don’t Let it Go to Your Head!

Troy gets too big for his britches, metaphorically speaking, in the second movie. Let this be a lesson to us all: No matter what the Sharpays of this world try to bribe us with, we must stay true to ourselves.

It is necessary to prioritize our relationships with the people we love over the shiny objects that might not be so genuine in the end. Our integrity and our friends and family are worth it.

1 Just Keep Singing!

One of the most important lessons of all is that music is powerful. Even if you don’t sing or play an instrument, music can be a healing force in dark times and a celebratory element to accentuate the joys of life.

Each movie bears this in mind with songs of sadness, songs of determination, and songs of rejoicing.

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