“Where do I start when considering musical theatre summer intensives for my teen who is preparing to audition for colleges?”
There are many great summer programs nationwide that offer a variety of training in the skills necessary to prepare for musical theatre college audition season. Attending a summer intensive is of course not a requirement for getting into a good program, but the boarding intensives can definitely help prepare a high schooler for college auditions and for life as a BFA major on a college campus. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Local summer programs:
If your child is a entering 7th-10th grade, check locally to see if your local university has a summer intensive through its theatre department. Ask around to see if anyone has attended their program and see what their experience was like. This might be a good way to save some cash because it’s local, and you might even choose to commute during the 1-3 week intensive. Local schools may also prepare your teen for pricier, more competitive programs that are out of state in future years.
Schools I might want to audition for:
If your teen is already in high school, there are tons of great programs that are offered through college theatre departments to consider. In fact, this can also be a way to get to know a campus and some of its faculty if you are considering auditioning for a school after attending their summer program. Some programs like NYU’s summer program even offer an early admittance/audition option at the end of the intensive. Check the fine print though, because sometimes early admittance means you might have to commit to their school if they offer you a spot. It’s a blessing in that it removes the stress of audition season, but a curse if you are planning to audition for many schools in the hopes of having multiple options.
Fun programs that are more like a summer camp:
French Woods is a program that is more like a typical summer camp for ages 7-18 that offers training in musical theatre without taking away the fun of a childhood summer. They offer swimming, horseback riding, and even classes in circus skills like trapeze and silks!
Higher caliber summer intensives:
Programs that are more competitive like Carnegie Mellon, TPAP, Broadway Theatre Project, Berklee, Interlochen, and Idyllwild offer 1-6 week boarding intensives which provide a full-submersion in training for the teen who is already a fairly well-rounded performer. These programs will help students identify their weaker areas and sharpen acting, singing, and dance skills sending them home as more of a solid triple threat with more of an idea of what to expect for college auditions.
There are of course many more fantastic summer programs that are not listed in this blog. Depending on where you live, there is something perfect for your teen and it doesn’t have to be too far away. Do your best research and ask around to find people who have attended and see if they enjoyed their experience. While not a deal breaker for getting your teen into a great college, attending a summer intensive can provide some of the skills and confidence to know he/she is on the right track as they head into the big competitive world of college musical theatre.