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Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

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Replies to: Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

  • theatremom10theatremom10 181 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    @collegemom2000 We used MTCA for my S this year and I honestly don't know what we would've done without them. They guided us on every aspect of this process. I think the connection to your coach is very important and my S was able to make very personal connections to all of his MTCA coaches. MTCA's services are ala carte and I believe they do have a minimum number of coaching sessions which makes it more affordable and allows you to choose the services your D wants/needs most. If you have any questions please PM me. Good luck on your journey!
    edited April 2017
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  • MTTwinsinCA2MTTwinsinCA2 36 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Even the coaches would tell you that coaching is absolutely a personal decision and a financial decision each family must make for themselves. I've seen kids do well with and without coaching and there are so many variables it's hard to point to which factors made the difference. I know for us, coaching was invaluable. I can also venture that for some families that are well-versed in the theatre world or who come from PA HS backgrounds, or for extraordinarily talented students, that coaching might be unnecessary. Everyone must decide for themselves. Coaching is also a two way street -- the coach provides materials and direction and the student must be open to those materials and direction. Certainly there can be the rare instance of a mismatch, but I think the main coaches and coaching organizations referred to here on the reg have pretty darn good track records. Also, I hear the "cookie cutter" thing a lot, but I think that's a broad generalization. I think MT kids across all the coaching groups that I see in person, and online/on social media are different heights, weights, ethnicities, types, abilities, etc. If you can go it without a coach and be successful, go for it -- this is an expensive enough process at it is, but for those who need extra direction, support or resources it can be a tremendous help. Break a leg!
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Thank you. Yes, the financial aspect leaves me cold, particularly when I know what we are likely facing in terms of tuition alone (not to mention travel, college app fees, etc.) I agree about the year of maturity as well...definitely could work in someone's favor. And maybe that is all it took for our friend to get into college...may not have been the coach at all, just a year in the real world.

    For the sake of full disclosure, I spent two years at performing arts school myself (many, many years ago.) All you needed then was a monologue to get in. Now so much seems to depend on things you cannot control, like your looks and your ethnic background. Crazy!

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  • EmsDadEmsDad 1507 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    My d attended an excellent public PA HS and certainly didn't "need" to hire a coach - they did two, full, six-week terms solely on audition prep in her Junior year including monologue and song selection, individual work with a successful professional actor, reviews with all faculty members, formal mock auditions with a panel of former MT college faculty members, video taped auditions, held Master Classes with current MT department heads and faculty (Lara Teeter from Webster, Raymond Sage from Penn State, and Kaitlin Hopkins from Texas State), took her entire class to the International Thespian Festival in June specifically to audition for colleges, hosted a college fair each year with all the top programs in attendance, hosted a major regional audition with about 50 colleges in attendance, sent two teachers with them to Unifieds in Chicago, etc. They also spent a lot of time lecturing the students on the college audition process, worked with them on preparing college applications, went over lists of schools, etc.

    However, for students auditioning for competitive musical theatre programs, her department head recommended using a coach, and Mary Anna Dennard was one of her recommendations. As she put it, "Auditioning for Musical Theatre is nuts. I can't even begin to describe how competitive it is. A coach can really help." This from someone with more than 20 years of theatre teaching experience, whose students every year get into top MT and Acting programs including Julliard, CMU, Purchase, UNCSA, Michigan, CCM, Northwestern, BU, Mason Gross, Guthrie, CalArts, etc.

    My d used Mary Anna and really enjoyed working with her via Skype (and two face-to-face sessions in Dallas). Mary Anna help her find monologues that she liked better than the ones from her work at school, increased her confidence, gave her some great advice on specific schools, had a great set of online tools and videos, etc.

    The total cost, including auditioning for 13 programs at "Moonifieds" was not much more than the cost to fly and stay overnight at one on-campus audition (about $1,500 - at least one one-campus audition required a two-night stay).
    edited April 2017
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  • toowonderfultoowonderful 4077 replies68 threads Senior Member
    Completely random question - when did MTCA, Moo and others get started coaching? As we lament how much more competitive the BFA college process (esp in MT) has become, esp in the last 10 years, or 5 years- is there any chicken/egg? Coaches helped students become more competitive, so the process became more competitive?
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  • jbtcatjbtcat 329 replies2 threads Member
    @toowonderful excellent question!
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    I would be fine with the coaching on an ala carte basis at a reasonable price. I spoke to one coach who is $180/session and REQUIRES weekly sessions from May through February...hence my skepticism. That's a big chunk of cash that could be spent on college tuition, imo, or a car. Mind you, I am open to both sides, however, my daughter does not want to hire anyone after the rant her vocal teacher went on about scams, etc.

    Can anyone suggest a coach who would be willing to advise primarily on college and monologue choices? I really don't see the need for weekly sessions and we are not willing to travel anyplace.

    And I suppose one other question I have (thanks for tolerating my ignorance on all this), how much does "not getting in" depend upon grades? Are there any statistics on kids who were accepted academically but not artistically? I'm pretty sure my daughter could get into any of her choices academically, it's the artistic side that is the wild card. Thanks!

    edited April 2017
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  • MReaderMReader 69 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @collegemom2000 I'd say most of the "not getting in" discussed here based on artistic rejections, not academic ones. Some of the colleges are more academically competitive, but none of that is nearly at the level of the artistic competitiveness - except maybe Yale.

    I don't have a coach suggestion, but count me in as another mom who didn't think a coach was necessary who now wishes we'd had one - at least for monologue and song selection.
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  • KelviVanKelviVan 103 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Last year Mary Anna had a monologue package that was just designed for picking and preparing monologues. I don't see it on her website right now, but you could contact her and ask if it is a possibility.
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  • vvnstarvvnstar 1715 replies22 threads Senior Member
    @EmsDad is our king of statistics. Perhaps he could answer that precisely. But in our observations, for most schools, academics did not play a big part in acceptance. There are some schools where it matters more (for example Northwestern and NYU). Somewhere there was a list of MT schools divided by academic selectivity. I'll see if I can find it. But it seemed most schools cared more about what you did in your audition as long as you met whatever their minimum academic requirements were.


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  • Notmath1Notmath1 569 replies36 threads Member
    edited April 2017
    Wow, @vvnstar . Amazing post #45
    edited April 2017
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  • theotherparenttheotherparent 27 replies0 threads New Member
    edited April 2017
    @collegemom2000 how much academics play into it depends on the school. Mine is a kid who had the opposite problem of most people - he received artistic acceptances, but had trouble being academically accepted due to grades. We knew that would be a problem going in, so he primarily applied to programs that focus on the artistic acceptance (in his case these were generally conservatories). The 2 schools that had more specific academic requirements accepted him artistically but not academically. They also happen to be the state schools he applied to.
    edited April 2017
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  • entertainersmomentertainersmom 1399 replies23 threads Senior Member
    I think it is worth keeping in mind that some students live in rural areas where resources are scarce or non-existent. Skype support can be a lifeline, not to mention the support to be found from the CC "family".
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Traveling is not really an option for us, which I think is probably going to play into auditioning as well. I can take local day trips but no airline or multiple overnight travel is possible for us due to a health situation with my son. We live in a major metropolitan area with an enormous arts scene, I imagine there could be someone local and perhaps less costly. I'm open to Skype, and glad to hear others have found this method to be effective.
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