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What's ahead after COLLEGE Graduation for the MT Students

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Replies to: What's ahead after COLLEGE Graduation for the MT Students

  • pennmompennmom 78 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I think what these examples show is that it is nearly impossible to predict the post-graduate careers of anyone majoring in theater. It's probably not a good path for those who dislike uncertainty.
    Some will make it as artists, some won't. Most will probably have to shuffle among many different ways to make a living. I think most will come out OK. As others have said, studying theater improves skills which can be useful in many jobs - self-confidence, teamwork, comfort speaking to an audience. It's never a waste.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    >> If I had only one piece of advice for kids who are interested in MT, it would be to become the best musician you can. It always surprises me the number of kids who are auditioning for MT who cannot read music or play an instrument.


    D has been surprised by that as well. Even in her first year of college she's already auditioned for a show in which every singer also needed to audition playing an instrument, and she's earned $ since Middle School playing in pit orchestras. She has played since third grade and studied music theory really starting in preschool, but I do sometimes wish she also was strong on the piano.
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  • 4inoregon4inoregon 102 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I agree, Momcares. At the audition for one of the small auditioned BFA MT programs, D sight read/sang for the auditioner and they discussed the multiple instruments that D plays. The woman remarked that everyone that audtions is a singer, but few are musicians. We knew right away that D would get in to that program.
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  • lojosmolojosmo 703 replies10 threads Member
    At the final performance of Chicago at UMich last weekend, the drummer became ill during intermission. The boy who played Aaron (Hunyak's lawyer) went into the pit to play drums; another boy played Aaron and the swing filled in for him in the ensemble. The audience had no idea. Who would have thought... and he saved the day!
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  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica 3300 replies54 threads Senior Member
    My daughter is not MT (she is a straight actor) but she does play multiple instruments and I wonder if she will have time to continue to study and play while she is in college.
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  • RoysGoin2CollegeRoysGoin2College 544 replies14 threads Member
    McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, etc...
    No offense.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    ^^^ Most MTs may do the functional equivalent at some point(s) in their careers, but typically they'll be catering for swanky parties or serving in high-end restaurants, because not only are most MTs insanely talented but they're also insanely decorative. ;-D
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  • soozievtsoozievt 31412 replies372 threads! Senior Member
    McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, etc...
    No offense.

    ^^Well, that is offensive. My kid is a graduate of a MT program and has supported herself professionally in music and theater the entire time. I don't know a single peer of hers in this field who is working at a fast food restaurant!

    I think the opinion stated is quite prejudicial concerning those who major in the arts.
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  • soozievtsoozievt 31412 replies372 threads! Senior Member
    I agree with alwaysamom about the value of being able to play instruments and that many MT performers cannot. My MT kid studied piano for ten years prior to entering college (and not because she was going into MT, as my other D also studied piano for ten years and did not go into MT or performing arts in college or career). My MT kid also studied flute for five years. She had to give flute up in high school because anyone in chorus could not also be in band, and so she switched her second instrument to private guitar lessons. She was able to make a special arrangement to be in jazz band on piano and vocals. Her sister also studied a second instrument for nine years, clarinet.

    I will say that my MT kid's piano playing skills have come in beyond "handy," in her MT life in so many respects, too numerous to mention and I have discussed it on this forum in the past. She is at the piano every day in some capacity, either rehearsing, composing, teaching, musically directing, accompanying individuals/classes/productions, or performing on stage herself as a singer at the piano. She is paid to play piano in fact, and who would know that back when she studied classical piano all those years as a kid? In fact, one family pays her $100 for an hour lesson to teach a 13 year old piano. Not bad.

    Piano has been a major force in my D's professional life in music and in musical theater. I highly recommend that those going into musical theater know how to play piano or other instruments. Piano and guitar are also useful for accompanying oneself as a performer, not to mention accompanying others.

    PS, I agree with the point also about being able to read music. Due to playing instruments, my D can sight read any music. This comes in handy, for example, when given a song never seen before that must be sung for an audition on short notice. My kid has an audition in a few days and was given a song to sing from the show which is a new musical. She can look at the music and immediately know the melody.
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  • MomCaresMomCares 3058 replies90 threads Senior Member
    >> Piano and guitar are also useful for accompanying oneself as a performer

    So true. D struggles with accompanying herself on the flute. ;-D


    >> ... an audition in a few days and was given a song to sing from the show which is a new musical. She can look at the music and immediately know the melody.

    D has even had composers write a song for her for a new show on the spot and she could sight read it as fast as they wrote it. Sight reading is an invaluable skill for any musician, and MTs are (or should be) musicians.
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  • soozievtsoozievt 31412 replies372 threads! Senior Member
    ^^^Agreed. Here is an anecdote and then I should get off the topic as it is not really the topic of the thread. But when my D was almost 11, she went to her first agent submitted audition in NYC. My D was a "hick" from VT and up against girls with major credits who auditioned in NYC all the time (example, the next person at the audition after my D's turn was Lea Michele who now stars on Glee but at that point had been on Broadway already....my D knew her as they went to camp together). While my D had prepared a song, the composer of the work was the one who held the audition and didn't want to hear the prepared song but rather taught an excerpt of the music on the spot (music my D had never heard or seen before), and it was not easy music as it was an opera style piece and my D could sight read music (had been playing instruments for about four years at that point and so was able to pick it up on the spot). I recall when her audition was over, the composer opened the door and said to me (I was in the hall), "she learns very quickly." My D got the part and performed the role for two years. I really do think her ability to sight read music played a role in the audition going so well.
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  • jasmomjasmom 1135 replies37 threads Senior Member
    My son graduated 4 years ago from Tisch-Playwrights, and although I wouldn't describe him as mainly MT, his experiences might be relevant. He performs regularly in a long-running Off-Broadway production, and when not scheduled to perform, assists in other aspects of the production. This is his "meat and potatoes" in terms of income. In addition, he assists a sculptor (another interest of his in addition to theater is art) doing some modeling, historical research and grant-writing). He has picked up some paying choreography and dancing gigs (but these are sporadic, and typically happen when people call him, rather than when he seeks them out). He even regularly works for former faculty in non-acting capacity.
    But also, he and a couple of peers formed a non-profit theater company, which allows them to be eligible for grants and to accept tax-free donations. They were able to provide educational credit to theater interns over this past year, and have written, directed, choreographed, produced and performed a number of plays. Their actors, designers, tech folk, and composers arise mostly from NYU contacts, but they hold auditions, and have cast graduates from other programs. They will be performing in Europe in the summer, taking a play that they have workshopped and performed at a variety of festivals and venues. So far, the theater company has been a break even enterprise (so not a source of income) but they've been artistically very successful.
    So, he's learning a lot about fund-raising, about managing a business, and is becoming a prolific grant-writer.
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  • kedstuffkedstuff 157 replies5 threads Junior Member
    S graduated CMU in 2011 along with others mentioned earlier in this thread—not a member of the group of BFA Acting guys who are successfully creating their own futures around their creative program, he is an Acting/MT BFA instead. He opted for L.A. over NYC as a personal preference. While auditions his manager sets up for B’way musicals require flights, his preference is to live his life in L.A. and be prepared to shift to New York if that becomes necessary. He has so far been in a new musical (lead)—small production but well reviewed, a short film (lead) going to festivals now, an independent film (principal) with Danny Glover, an episode of Fatal Encounters (lead) and a reading and now upcoming production of a new play (lead) in which Alfred Molina played the role of his father in the reading!
    Is he self-supporting? No. Are we pleased with what he has been able to do in his first year out of school? Yes! I second the reactions of others about the importance of a range of interests and skills. He has done lots of filming/directing/editing of short video and music video projects which have also increased his visibility as an actor and have extended his connections among the entertainment community. His music (guitar and piano), camera and computer skills have all grown as a result. He is earning some money from his camera skills, including for headshots among friends and acting acquaintances.
    The constant uncertainty of what will come through among the many things “in the works” would not work for me but he is generally able to cope with this lifestyle as long as he is able to keep busy. His dad and I are impressed with his industry and see this as a form of “grad internship.”
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