Archive for September, 2019
I know auditioning for college musical theatre programs can be stressful, and have you and your parents pulling their hair out! One way to get a little more organized before heading into the process is by creating an audition chart. An organizational chart is something that can be used by any Junior/Senior high school student preparing to apply to college with a few modifications depending on your major– but for high schoolers preparing to major in musical theatre where auditioning for between 10-30 schools is considered “normal” nowadays, the chart is a necessary tool to help keep you organized during the application and auditioning process. It should be made by YOU, not your parent since you are the one auditioning, but getting help, support, and advice from Mom and Dad about such a huge financial and life decision is always a good idea.
So what exactly IS a college audition chart? Well, before you even begin applying to schools, before you choose your audition repertoire, before you record your preliminary video auditions, and before you begin filling out your Acceptd page, you need a college audition chart. Trust me when I say this will help you keep your head on straight as things begin to run together during your Senior year. I typically suggest that students begin to create this chart at the end of their Junior year.
This chart should list between 10-30 schools you are thinking of auditioning for, and structured according to your skill level and chances of getting into schools. For the sake of this post, lets say you are a highly trained and skilled singer/actress/dancer and there’s a good possibility of your getting into a great program. Your chart should include a handful of top schools called “Reach” a few “Far Reach” schools. A larger grouping of middle tier programs, or “Target” schools, and a handful of “Safety” schools who either don’t have an audition requirement, or have more lax audition requirements and/or accept a larger freshman class. This differentiation is color coded in my chart as red (Reach), blue (Target), and green (Safety).
If you are unsure of who the Reach/Far Reach schools are there are plenty of online lists, but they all vary, and many list schools as a top program that are not in my opinion. Click here if you do want my opinion. 😉
Your list should include the following:
- Preliminary Video Audition Requirements (and fee if applicable)
- Preliminary Video Audition Deadline Date
- Application Deadline Date (and fee)
- Degree type (BFA, BA, or BM) can you double major or add a minor?
Nice to include:
- Which schools on your list will be at National Unifieds/ Moonifieds/ CAP United Auditions/ Greater Houston Area Auditions, etc.
- Which schools you’ll have to travel to if you do get a callback
There is no perfect right or wrong way to go about this process and are many things to consider when you’re looking at potential schools. Things like location, the size of the program, and the type of people you see already attending these schools are definitely things to factor in. What kind of musicals have they done in recent years? Lots of Golden Era or lots of contemporary shows? If you’re not a strong belter, the latter may not be a great fit. This list of things to consider will grow as you do your research. If you’re unsure of a school’s potential fit for you, you can look up clips of past shows on YouTube, use Google Maps to check out what’s in the area, get in touch with a current student of the program to ask some questions, or visit a campus and sit in on some classes or take a trial lesson if available (although it is recommended that you wait until you’re accepted into a program if you have to travel far to visit to save on travel expenses to so many campuses). If you will be attending a consortium audition, look into the lesser known programs in attendance that you will also be auditioning for. You may find some hidden gems in a program you didn’t even know existed, then add them to your list!
Obviously, this list is going to change as you discover information about various programs you may want to include or remove from your list. But this should help you get started and hopefully set you up to be admitted into the program that is perfect for you.
Take a deep breath, and break a leg!
I have seen many lists online for the top BFA programs and they all vary depending on who wrote the lists. Very often the author is a journalist and not necessarily a musical theatre person. So I decided to make my own list. 🙂 This is just my opinion, but I am a director and voice teacher of musical theatre repertoire who prepares a half dozen or more seniors for college auditions every year.
First, lets look at what makes a top school a top school? Mainly, a top school is one where the percentage of college grads that go on to have professional performance careers is high. Other things to consider are things like senior showcase, quality and training of faculty and curriculum, qualities of facilities, selectivity, Alumni support, and performance opportunities. For more information about what criteria makes a top school, checkout OnStage’s blog about Understanding College Rankings.
In no particular order, here are my top 10:
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Shenandoah University
- Baldwin Wallace University
- Penn State University
- Elon University
- Pace University
- Otterbein University
- Texas State University- San Marcos
- Florida State University
The above are schools that are seeing 1400+ kids audition and accepting the top 1-3% of those kids, and have the highest rates of graduates going on to perform professionally. There are several other amazing schools that have amazing faculty and amazing opportunities that could also make it into my top list like:
- Coastal Carolina
- Oklahoma University
- University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music (CCM)
- University of Arizona
- University of California- Urvine
- Montclair State
- Texas Christian University
To see how to decide which colleges to audition for and structure your audition list, click here. Break a leg!