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Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

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Replies to: Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

  • EmsDadEmsDad 1496 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @Notmath1 - sorry, I was referring to "My College Audition Coach" (Chelsea Diehl) when I said "College Audition Coach" (which is the name of Mary Anna's web page). I think the growth in coaching is due in no small part to the complexity of the requirements involved in the process (post # 25), and @Ducky312 asked in post #26 what is the percentage of kids that are coached, hence, my comments in post #28.
    edited April 2017
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  • EmsDadEmsDad 1496 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @toowonderful - I think that the many different song length (and monologue length) requirements is much more of a problem for college auditions than professional auditions - for college, many/most students have to deal with on the order of 12-14 (or more) differing requirements (which can actually vary within a single school because of different requirements for prescreens vs. actual auditions). At college Unifieds, you may have to do several auditions within a few hours, potentially having to remember to shift the version of your song(s) (and maybe monologues) for each audition. My d messed up one audition at Unifieds because she confused the 32 bar version with the 16 bar version of one of her songs.

    For summer stock auditions, at least the ones that my d has done, you just do your material one time for all theatres en mass, and then you have up to a month or more between auditions to shift gears and get ready for the next one (of course, you may get asked to do something else at callbacks, but that is very easy to prepare for). Also, by the time you are competing for summer stock, you probably have done at least one entire semester of repertoire preparation along with audition training at college targeted at just those sorts of auditions. I know my d has a lot more material now ready to go for many types of auditions than she did in high school, not to mention lots of great training and advice on how to handle professional auditions, including many mock audition sessions (even her semester juries are run as mock auditions). She did not seem to bat an eye while doing OTA's, MWTA's, on-campus ss auditions, etc. this year.

    I personally don't think comparing professional auditions with college auditions is valid due to the difference in age, training, and experience between the two environments. For most students, its apples and oranges. There is a huge difference in my d between now and high school.
    edited April 2017
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  • toowonderfultoowonderful 4077 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,145 Senior Member
    @EmsDad - I am not comparing college and summer stock auditions other than to say that the need to meet specific requirements, which vary from one set of auditions to the next, isn't going away.
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    My daughter is finishing up junior year and we are in the beginning of learning about the audition process for college MT programs. Between my daughter's vocal coach (former Julliard student and Peabody Professor) and friends who used Dennard and did not like her at all, I am not convinced that a coach is necessary. These coaching organizations seem like puppy mills to me, churning out cookie-cutter students. I don't see how mentoring someone via Skype could possibly be effective. I would think that anyone who has been doing MT for as many years as most kids have, would have resources in their own community to reach out to (ie, vocal teachers, school theatre teachers, etc.) I'm open-minded, but I'm having trouble seeing this whole coaching phenomenon as anything other than a money-making scheme.
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  • stagedoormamastagedoormama 789 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 798 Member
    edited April 2017
    We didn't use a coach and wish we had. The process has changed so much, even in the past 5 years, that most people (even former students and professors) don't realize how different the process is now if they haven't been involved in it personally. We didn't need coaching for material, but having a coach who knows most of the programs thoroughly would have been immensely helpful in getting us to make a good list for my D's particular strengths and would have been able to guide us on which schools to include and which ones not to bother with. That would have saved us a TON of money, (talking thousands of dollars) and worth the minimal expenditure of hiring a coach. JMHO.
    edited April 2017
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  • IfYouOnlyKnewIfYouOnlyKnew 404 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 405 Member
    @collegemom2000 I hope your D has a great audition season using your decided on family approach. There is no right or wrong way. I did not have a coach, my S is delighted with his results, and I wish I did have a coach. This is just one of many stories you will find here. I hope you will share your story through her season so others can benefit from your approach.
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  • bisouubisouu 2408 replies145 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,553 Senior Member
    I wish we had used a coach if for no other reason to help us formulate a good list of schools to audition for. We were sorely uninformed. Also, monologues were hard to choose and my daughter could have used some guidance in that area. These coaches are clearly doing something right since so many of these kids get into at least one program.
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    Thanks! I have a decent list already (I think) for her and I have a fairly good grasp on the process. We are targeting some of the smaller schools here on the east coast as well as a few of the bigger reach schools. My daughter is at a disadvantage (Caucasian female), but is strong academically and has a lot of training in theatre and voice (high level choir since 4th grade, private vocal coach for four years, All State, etc., leads in the school musicals, summer theatre camps, summer conservatory training, etc.) We can use her vocal teacher as a coach for the music, she is wonderful. My daughter is not a dancer, however, so that will be the hardest part and I'm not sure how to even approach that via a Skype session. I do think she needs help finding monologues but I am not sure I'd trust a stranger with that task; so many others who have worked with her over the years know her strengths already. Nontheless, I'd be willing to pay for that service, but it seems most of the coaching sites make you commit to more than just that.

    FWIW, our friends son is one of the most talented young men I have ever seen, and he did not get into a single MT program last year...he used Dennard as his coach. :-( His mom said she just did not guide him well and she didn't seem very good at recognizing his strengths. This year he used someone more local and got into 7 schools.

    Any advice from either side (coach, no coach) is greatly appreciated as we embark on this new adventure!
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  • bisouubisouu 2408 replies145 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,553 Senior Member
    Sometimes a year of maturity is all it takes and knowing what the process is all about. Many kids take a gap year and do this process again and have HUGE success.
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  • theatremom10theatremom10 181 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 184 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 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40 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 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 299 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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