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Audition coach vs summer intensive

txtxyehatxtxyeha Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
edited April 2013 in Musical Theater Major
Could anyone weigh in on comparing the help from coaching versus the experience from a summer program such as MPulse in getting prepared for auditions?
Post edited by txtxyeha on
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Replies to: Audition coach vs summer intensive

  • DramaMamaZDramaMamaZ Registered User Posts: 134 Junior Member
    A Summer Intensive experience and a coach for college auditions are two entirely different things, but will compliment each other as part of your training and preparation for college auditions. A Summer Intensive will immerse the student in the Musical Theater experience; 8 hour days, 5 days a week of singing, acting, and dance training. In NJ, my S participated in Paper Mill Playhouse's Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, an audition-select program of 100 performers, broken into 3 groups, by age. 40 are chosen for the Senior Company (ages 14-18), another 10 spots are for Lead Actor/Actress finalists in their Rising Star Awards program (think "HS Tony Awards").

    The Conservatory program runs for 5 weeks. Students receive a weekly private vocal lesson, daily dance classes, song interpretation, scene studies, and learn song and dance numbers to prepare for the showcase concert on the final weekend (3 shows for family, friends, and invited talent/casting agencies) at the Playhouse (1,000+ seating). Rising HS seniors also receive training in monologue prep for college auditions. My S had a fantastic experience and made some great friends there. Many of them attended the same college auditions, and it was great for him to see familiar faces at those.

    He also utilized a college audition coach to help him prepare for his auditions. The coach helped him finalize a working list of schools to apply to/audition for. We'd already started researching and visiting schools, but tweaked the list with his coach. Their first meeting, which included the parents, was an honest discussion of what he wanted for his college experience (BA vs BFA vs BM), where he'd like to be demographically, and as a family, what we could realistically afford. From there, his list helped determine what he needed to prepare for each school's audition (how many monologues, did he need Shakespeare?, how many songs, golden age & contemporary, 16 vs 32 bar cuts, etc.) His coach provided him with homework - she gave him suggestions for reading, but he had to also research on his own. He had to read the entire play for any monologue he wanted to work on. They worked together on each piece, analyzing it, reworking it, until it was where they both felt was ready to go. She did the same for his song selections.

    I realize it's not something everyone can afford, on top of application fees, audition travel expenses, etc., but for us, we felt utilizing a college coach was a worthwhile investment. Son's list was a mix of BA/BM/BFA programs, audition select and audition optional (for talent scholarship). He was academically accepted to all 8 choices with merit scholarships, and went 7 for 8 for program/talent scholarship offers. He's now a freshman MT major @ Wagner College, one of 30 accepted to their program.

    Everyone at auditions will go in at different levels. Some will have extensive experience/training, others little experience/training. Raw talent will take you far, and most evaluators at auditions are looking for students who are talented, personable, genuine and yes, prepared. Anything you can do to prepare well for an audition will be to your advantage.

    Good luck with your college search and your preparations. It may seem daunting, but there are so many college MT programs (not just the "big" ones on seemingly everyone's list), with new ones being added each year. It's all about finding the right fit. Be confident, be prepared, and go for it!
  • CallieneCalliene Registered User Posts: 856 Member
    My daughter did ArtsBridge the past 2 summers and I would HIGHLY recommend it. It is a 2 week summer program that focuses on college audition prep, so it is kind of a combo of summer intensive and audition coaching. The cool thing is that you get feedback from faculty at a whole bunch of different MT schools, and last year there was even the option of private lessons/coaching with Gary Kline from CMU and Amy Rogers from Pace, both of whom gave my daughter invaluable advice. They took daily dance with Michelle Chasse from Boston Conservatory and Robin Lewis from Rider, and had classes with faculty from CMU, Pace, Emerson, NYU, Michigan, etc. Connecting (or not) with some of these faculty also really influenced my daughter's school list. It is a great program!!
  • txtxyehatxtxyeha Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    Thanks for the feedback! My S plans to participate in a summer intensive this summer for sure. My hope is that getting a feel for a full daily schedule will give him a better understanding of being in a college program. I think once he's completed that we'll see where we stand.
  • entertainersmomentertainersmom Registered User Posts: 1,407 Senior Member
    While I cannot compare a summer intensive to hiring an Audition Coach, I can tell you why my DS applied to (and found out he was accepted yesterday) to a summer intensive program. I am a novice MT parent. My DS is a Junior, and his decision to pursue an MT major was made last December. We live in Maine, and I have been scrambling to find a voice instructor and dance classes. Thank goodness for CC and this forum in particular because the information I have learned has been priceless.
    While my DS is a bit of a "big fish", the pond here is very small. DS has confidence in his abilities, but he needs to know how he measures up in the real world of college level MT. The summer intensive program will also give him access to the classes, meeting fellow MT aspirants and a real taste of college life, all things he cannot find by staying close to home this summer. I also need to know how he measures up and the feedback he will receive will help determine where he stands.
    In a nutshell, for my DS, there are very few resources available in our rural area. Attending the summer intensive will meet many needs for DS, even if the cost makes me wince a bit....OK, a lot!
  • SingingBelleSingingBelle Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    My daughter is getting ready to do a MT college search. We are totally new to this and this is the first I am hearing of College Audition coaching. How do I find a reputable College Audition Coach?
  • Christie2Christie2 Registered User Posts: 383 Member
    On the web, google "musical theater college auditions". One of the first choices you will get (outside of the ads) will also have the label "MTCA". Or you can pm or email me if you have been on here long enough:-) MTCA has been in the business for over 20 years, and you will find many, many positive references to them on this forum. The differences between them and many other similar services you may read about are: they are reasonably priced-you don't need to sign up front with a large amount of $ and can pick and choose what you want for coaching in dance, voice, songs and monologues that cost about the same as a regular private voice lesson anywhere, they successfully coach over SKYPE which we did for 18 months to get my d into camps as well as college auditions, they KNOW what they are doing-check out all the schools their kids get into on their website (current year's success will have pics and choices up soon), they provide massive support in the whole process-taking a load off your shoulders (like making college lists that fit your student, choosing songs and monologues, providing prerecorded music tracks-as well as regular voice lessons if you need to learn a mix/belt healthfully, etc. No one I have met or conversed with has EVER regretted using them! Once you work with them, you are family! Remember, they are based out of NYC, but you don't need to be there. Numerous students are successfully coached over SKYPE and never meet them until they attend Unified auditions, which they have a supporting presence at.
  • prntosomeprntosome Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    SingingBelle - you might also check with the theatre folks your D is working with now for recommendations. Teachers at school who are in charge of the school shows, vocal coaches she may know, any outside theatre groups she has worked with? My D used 2 different coaches - her vocal teacher made all the decisions about song material and prep, and her monologues coach who made the choices on that material.
  • jeffandannjeffandann Registered User Posts: 669 Member
    I would heartily recommend a coach for auditions. We used someone locally that has been doing this for years with a track record of placing kids into performing arts programs, and she was amazing. She was instrumental in picking monologues that showed my D's acting skills, and worked with my D's regular voice instructor to pick the right songs for her. Then there were all the things we never would have thought of, from picking the right dress to wear to the questions you want to ask and to avoid during interviews, and on and on. Well worth it in my opinion - she was fantastic.

    As for a summer intensive, my D two years ago did one with a local theater group that was run by three veteran MT performers. While they did not coach on auditions per se, what it did do was give me a group of experienced professionals that could give an objective opinion as to whether my D should be considering this as a career. When they told me she should get a spot in MT, it was a sign that our D was headed down the right path.
  • MTDancerMomMTDancerMom Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    My D used an audition coach, Mary Anna Dennard. I would highly recommend her or anyone who understands the nuances of the college auditions and their programs. There are many colleges with different types of MT programs and different emphasis. She was especially helpful with helping us select an appropriate range of schools to audition to that would satisfy my daughter's particular needs.
  • monkey13monkey13 Registered User Posts: 1,029 Senior Member
    I agree with MTDancerMom that you have to find a coach who understands the nuances of the college audition process. Like Christie2, we used MTCA, and I would do the same thing all over again...we LOVED them. I know some people swear by their local coaches, but please be sure that whoever you use, they understand the college audition process. Some do not, and they can lead you wrong. It is very, very different than professional auditions. Can you do it without a coach? Absolutely. Is it easier with a coach? I think so...we never would have found my D's great songs and monologues without one.
  • MTCoachMTCoach Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    ALL I'm going to add to this discussion (at the risk of sounding biased...) is that I echo most comments, and feel whether it's a coach or an instructor who is familiar and well-versed with the COLLEGE audition process, it will make your journey easier. And like monkey13 said, it's absolutely doable without one as well.

    I WOULD like to add to the summer program discussion though, just to say that if you're looking into them, they can serve different purposes. Some are classroom style where you just receive intense training in all or some of the areas of Musical Theatre; others teach classes and you work toward putting on a full production at the end of the session; others are specifically designed for audition prep. No matter what, your child will likely receive some great training and have a fantastic experience. But a summer program can serve a very particular purpose if you know what you're looking for. Don't discount summer programs in your area either, put on by a local professional theatre company, local arts program, etc. You might find some real gems!
  • vvnstarvvnstar Registered User Posts: 1,587 Senior Member
    Camps: our daughter attended both OCU and mPulse. Both of those summer programs were great for getting a feel for the types of classes you would take in college and familiarizing her with those schools, faculty and programs. At both she received great training, made life long friends and had a wonderful time. They did not help with the college audition process but gave her perspective on what different types of programs and campuses might be like.

    coaches: we used Mary Anna Dennard (Moo) And would highly recommend her. She helped develop our list of schools; helped with monologue selection, analysis and coaching; helped with song selection; and everything from what to wear to audition etiquette. She also provided on site support at Unifieds. She has a great book called I Got In! That is a super resource for anyone new to the process. She also has online videos on her website. (College audition coach dot com). And she can do personal coaching in person or via Skype. My daughter also found a great support system and many new friends as part of Moo Crew as they call themselves. They have been wonderful cheerleaders for one another via their online support group. Moo also puts them in touch with her former students currently attending programs in which they're interested. Great opportunity to hear from a student with personal experience with those programs and a great resource for getting questions answered. And Their results have been great. They will be posted on her website. We would not have been prepared for this process without her.
  • theatermom2013theatermom2013 Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    Apparently--unless your child is a prodigy, you need the summer programs--as many as you can get, a coach (the best you can afford apparently--even if you have to sell things work a second job or take out a second mortgage). Especially one who has connections to college faculty who can evaluate them beforehand. My daughter did do CMU's summer program but no coach. She did okay without a coach but I will tell you, many of the kids at Unifieds have them. They rent suites at the hotels, the kids all meet up there, get warmed up and have that connection. They can also help you a great deal in putting together a balanced list of colleges for your child to apply to and audition for. This process isn't just about your child's talent and preparation. Some if it is about who you know and getting your foot in the door too. It's a little disheartening in moments actually. At CMU in the summer, they told the kids they don't like them to be coached or over trained because that can make things difficult to undo. But in the end, it's those kids who get in the top programs. It all worked out well for her in the end, thank goodness, but what an eye opener. Probably a good sample of how the "real world" works for performers as well. Good luck!
  • supportivesupportive Registered User Posts: 441 Member
    Unfortunately- the college audition coaching thing is just getting bigger and bigger and so are the summer intensives at colleges. It has become a big business. It's not just the arts either as many kids in sports are doing it too. Yes, this is tough for families with limited incomes because everyone wants their child to be competitive. If your kid is able to go to a PA high school- that can certainly help as the resources can be there. However, it is possible to get into a good program without any of these. You can't really buy personality and stage presence or drive. I happen to love the theatre and loved doing a lot of research myself. I can understand the need for coaches for parents who are new to this or just do not have the time or knowledge.

    It is frustrating when a school tells you they don't want kids who are coached and yet that is who they seem to choose. Perhaps these kids already had the talent and the coach just tweeked it. Who knows? In the end, I really do believe that kids and their final choice of college does work out.
  • halflokumhalflokum Registered User Posts: 1,870 Senior Member
    Wow what a difference a year makes. I have been kicking and screaming all year about one not needing a coach but I'm getting worn out and I'm starting to think I was either just wrong or things have changed a ton in a year. Though I still think there are certainly programs that pay no heed to "coachly connections", maybe there are some where it is an advantage and if you want to have a better chance in those programs, by all means, sell the farm. But eh... I'd be noodling whether or not it would be worth it to me to throw that advantage into the shopping cart just for that because the idea bugs me. But maybe I'd have to get with the program if I were starting out now. Huh. Go figure.

    But I'd still say do a summer program wherever it is for the experience, skills and friendships that you'd establish there. Not because of anything related to admissions. It is certainly not a must with respect admissions.
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