A resource Joe suggests that you may not have thought of is the membership list of the Musical Theater Educators Alliance , an organization that he and I helped create. How many hours per week and how many students in a section? Does the school help you make connections to the industry — guest artists, casting directors, guest directors? For instance, are the singing teachers expert at teaching the vocal techniques required for the musical theater? Are there opportunities for project-based learning? Any musical theater curriculum will offer a mix of voice, acting and dance, but how much of each is offered, and what kind? Does the acting instruction embrace the notion of singing-acting, or does it condescend to the musical stage?
Are there student organizations where you can get experience with collaboration and leadership? Are there opportunities for project-based learning? Are you allowed to pursue off-campus opportunities? A resource Joe suggests that you may not have thought of is the membership list of the Musical Theater Educators Alliance , an organization that he and I helped create. How many plays and musicals are produced, on what scale, and how are they cast? How do the academic courses offered serve to enhance your development as an artist and a human being? What about student films? Apart from the super-famous schools, where do you look? The diligent searcher will find more than enough information online. What is the success of alums and how does the university help them get there? Is the singing instruction compatible with the specific demands of the musical theater repertoire? It may be a comfort to know there are consultants ready to assist you with this daunting task. Because of their reputations and notable alumni, these schools have thousands of applicants every year competing for a dozen or so slots in the freshman class, so the odds of getting in are pretty slight. Any musical theater curriculum will offer a mix of voice, acting and dance, but how much of each is offered, and what kind? Are there measurable results? What is the mix of professional and academic experience in the faculty? What has happened for recent grads? Will there be a chance for you to direct, choreograph, get original work produced? Teachers, guidance counselors, graduates from your high school and friends will have suggestions, and maybe even some opinions or anecdotes to share. Does the school help you make connections to the industry — guest artists, casting directors, guest directors? Word of mouth is sure to bring you some good leads, but take the time to research the schools they recommend to you. And how many schools should be on your list? Can you begin building a professional orientation and a professional network there? What courses are offered, requirements and electives? Other specialized guides have been compiled by industry publications like American Theater magazine in their annual Education issue , Backstage, Show Business, PlaybillEdu.
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