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Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions


Replies to: Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

  • Cornycollins18Cornycollins18 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Overall, I'm glad to see CMU move to prescreen. D will be applying this fall, and if the news is going to be bad (which it will be for all but a very few applicants), she might as well hear it before she invests the effort to audition live. It will certainly motivate her to be sure she has her material polished for her prescreens.
  • artskidsartskids Registered User Posts: 1,547 Senior Member
    @CTDramaMom that is exactly how I see it! We will spend more time over the summer working on prescreens - but it will ultimately save time and money if D can focus on schools where she's passed the first artistic hurdle.
  • CentralOHmomof4CentralOHmomof4 Registered User Posts: 206 Junior Member
    I'm glad the process was not standardized to require a prescreen this year. Prescreens are great for people with a support system, a background in mt, a coach, or otherwise knew about "the process" before senior year. I'm other words, newbies like my daughter would never stand a chance. Her prescreen videos were so, so bad, because we didn't know anything. Now, standardizing the cuts... That would have been AMAZING!! I never could figure out why one school needed 16 bars, one 32, one a minute, one 90 seconds... Oh well. If they standardize, I'll make merit badges for the kids and families who had to do it old school :)
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,721 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    I agree with every point @alwaysamom wrote in post 19.

    Also, while prescreens have many benefits and can save applicants time, money, and travel if they don't pass them, they are also an additional hurdle and another piece to prepare (and another thing that differs among each college's requirements). When my D applied to BFA programs, there were no prescreens. So, if anything, there is even more now that is not uniform in the admissions process to BFA programs and more that an applicant must go through. It has moved more in that direction than toward uniformity.

    And even with college applications for regular colleges, while there is the Common Application, so many schools require supplemental applications and essays and so it is only a minor convenience to have the Common App. And a drawback to the uniformity of the Common App brought more applications per student because it was easier to submit apps to more schools.

    Anyway, I don't think the BFA programs are going to agree on common standards and don't feel an obligation to do so.
  • sbcsbc Registered User Posts: 240 Junior Member
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
  • MReaderMReader Registered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
    It's good to hear that the schools are aware of the issue, @VoiceTeacher and I thank you for speaking up. I agree that it would be hard to get everyone together on one audition standard, but maybe promote a more standard audition packet with colleges requesting at auditions from among those options:

    MT programs:
    Four 16 bar cuts (or 45 seconds max): 1 contemporary, 1 classic MT, 1 lyrical MT or art song, 1 pop/rock (with possible option to self-accompany on guitar/piano) along with two one-minute monologues: 1 dramatic, 1 comedic
    For theatre BFA consideration add:
    1 Shakespeare monologue, one minute
    For vocal BM considerations add:
    1 32 bar art song in foreign language (I'm kind of guessing here)

    Reading this, it seems really obvious. And yet, it still took my D, me, and the particulars of her college choices - many of which were updated or released in the summer - to figure out what she needed to have prepared. Among her ten colleges were variations about: specifically a "Golden Age" song, 32 bar cuts instead of 16 - though you may be cut off, post-1990 contemporary, two one-minute monologues done back-to-back in exactly 2 timed minutes, one Shakespeare monologue and please no Shakespeare. And these are just a few from her spreadsheet notes. Many of the schools had other specifics on their websites.

    It's true that the MT business will involve lots of auditions and lots of specifics, but for college auditions the stakes are higher and the rule-following audition process is often getting outsourced to audition coaches or helpful, bewildered parents. It seems some standardization would draw the focus from managing audition process and direct it to finding the right fit of school and student for the benefit of all.
  • VoiceTeacherVoiceTeacher Registered User Posts: 326 Member
    @MReader I like what you propose for MT and think that may be viable. I will keep this in mind as the conversations continue. Thank you! ~ VT
  • EmsDadEmsDad Registered User Posts: 1,508 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Why can't MT programs be like VP programs and designate a couple of readily available song cut books from which to choose songs, such as The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology – “16-Bar” Audition which is available in every voice part and includes 100+ songs in every book?

    I have heard college faculty bemoan the growth of college audition coaching, but they themselves are one of the primary drivers for this phenomenon with all the different requirements for song cuts including 16 bars, 32 bars, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 60 seconds, and the dreaded, arbitrary and capricious "overdone" and "do not use" lists. If they would relax these demands and use an approach like that used in VP, I think fewer parents would be driven to hire an audition coach.

    Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior.
  • Ducky312Ducky312 Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    I wonder what the percentage of kids who are coached is compared to those who are not? My child was asked by a top school if she was coached. She was not. As stressful as the process is I think every student's audition journey is as unique as each program. Plus every professional audition is just as different. I'm not a fan of standardization.
  • actorparentactorparent Registered User Posts: 263 Junior Member
    The one thing I would really like to standardize is length of monologue. If they could all just agree on one minute or two minutes, that would be awesome!
  • EmsDadEmsDad Registered User Posts: 1,508 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @Ducky312 - I would estimate the percentage of applicants with coaches on the order of 15-20%. This is based on an applicant pool of around 3,000 and something like 450 or so students with coaches.

    The estimate for coached students is based on 150-200 for MTCA, 100-120 for Mary Anna Dennard, 50-60 for College Audition Coach and maybe another 100-150 with other coaches around the country (Dave Clemmons et. al.).

    The estimate for the size of the audition pool is based on these posts:



    On an individual school basis, the percentage of students with coaches auditioning is probably higher for the more popular MT programs and lower for the more regional programs.
  • toowonderfultoowonderful Registered User Posts: 4,145 Senior Member
    D preferred (then and now) to have different pieces for different length requirements- that way she wouldn't get confused. A little more time spent memorizing/polishing- but she likes it. Btw- the time thing is NOT going away after BFA auditions- D spent a good amount of time on it for summer stock things this year- the 2 different "unifieds" she attended had different (VERY strict) requirements.
  • Notmath1Notmath1 Registered User Posts: 576 Member
    Wow @EmsDad. Amazing. You bring up some good points.... and stats!
    Question: what is the difference between Mary Anna Dennard and College Audition Coach? Not a big deal but just want to understand your numbers .
    And note:The original article posted was about standardizing auditions requirements . It had not to do with coaching? Or did I miss something??
This discussion has been closed.