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Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

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Replies to: Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

  • artskidsartskids 1525 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,547 Senior Member
    My perspective on coaching is somewhat simpler. My kids - 2 in BFA programs, one finishing her Jr her in HS and starting the process (we tell our middle schooler she needs to be an accountant or engineer :-)) - all attend or attended a PA HS 1/2 days. I feel we had good advice on monologue material and a heads up on timing. Our experience with the PA HS is different from @EmsDad. Although the kids are learning from highly-skilled actors and teachers, they are not dialed in to the competitiveness or intensity of the MT audition. The logistics of planning the year are on the students and the parents. I didn't raise unicorns. The last person they want to take advice and guidance from, in our case, are their MBA/JD-type parents. However, they will heed the EXACT SAME ADVICE when it comes from someone they view as an expert. Hence my decision this year to bolt on some ala carte coaching.

    If I have one regret from my S's year (now rising college senior), it is that we did not reach out for additional guidance and some coaching. We didn't know what we didn't know and was unaware of CC until after audition season. I am not sure results would have been any different. However, the benefit of having his materials and list reviewed by a neutral third party would have been quite valuable.
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    @Onourown your daughter's story is inspiring and gives me hope we can tackle this process on our own if necessary. We do not have the financial resources to do all of the travel and coaching that others can afford, and having a sick child only adds another monkey wrench to the situation. However, I am leaning toward hiring someone just to speak to us (via Skype I'm sure) and help my daughter sort through the process and which schools fit her needs. I don't want her coached at all...just advice. There must be a way to reach a happy medium.
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  • OnourownOnourown 141 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    @collegemom2000 that is why I shared it. Just to give another perspective. From what I have read on here and from friends who have used the coaches, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. It seems like most of them have a pick and choose type of service so you can pay for what you need. I feel that they are very in touch with the college audition process and are extremely supportive.

    My daughter who just finished the process is my youngest and only one at home. I was able to focus my own time and energy outside of work on this process as well. I feel I may have considered the audition coaching as a resource if that was not the case, if nothing else, to help me wrap my head around it all. It's alot.
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  • OnourownOnourown 141 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    @artskids LOL about your middle schooler! My oldest is a successful and thriving musician who left HS and got his GED. I always told my youngest she HAD to go to college. The joke was on me.....I forgot to tell her WHAT to go for!
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  • OnourownOnourown 141 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    @vvnstar Very well put ! Lots of great information for those preparing for the next year.
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  • Notmath1Notmath1 550 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 585 Member
    This sure has got off the topic of the OP! LOL, that happens.... but Hello @toowonderful I think I may know part of the answer to your #48 post. I have a friend who worked with them when they were all together (before MTCA was formed) and that was about 2005. Mary Anna Dennard already had college audition coach her sight says since 2000 and Ellen Lettrich and Mark Christine were her song coaches at the time and my friends kids worked with them in the beginning before they started MTCA. Mary Anna did the monologues and ran the college audition coach business. Then they branched off some time after 2005. Ellen's MTCA business has really grown and she coaches the most amount of students. Maybe that means she has made the biggest impact on the scene and cottage industry. But Mark Christine now is a coaching associate for Dennard. I am almost positive those 3 were the very first college audition coaches. There seem to be so many now all over the country. And they use Skype regularly. I reached out a while back about scholarships and some do offer help for those in need. But it seems like the need for help with the complicated process has grown, a result of the colleges requirements, thus more perceived need for coaches. I do think he whole thing has fed the competitiveness. SO many more applicants!
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  • EmsDadEmsDad 1496 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    FYI - Mary Anna Dennard used to post here on CC, you can find her posts by searching for "Mary Anna" as the author (you have to put in the space to find the right "Mary Anna"). They date back to 2005.
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  • toowonderfultoowonderful 4077 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,145 Senior Member
    @Notmath1 - thanks for the info! The dates do kind of support my musing about whether coaching upped the game. Of course, there will never be a concrete answer.
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  • EmsDadEmsDad 1496 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @collegemom2000: regarding stats on academic vs. artistic denials - no one that I know if has tabulated this info. You could develop a rough idea by going back through the "Final Decisions Background" threads for several years and see who noted academic rejections, but I would say that something on the order of 90 percent of rejections are artistic. Some schools that are "most selective" academically, such as CMU, UCLA, and Michigan, apparently apply at least somewhat less selectivity (and in the case of CMU, apparently much less selectivity) to artistically-qualified MT applicants.

    The following schools come to mind as listed as "academically rejected" in the Final Decisions threads (or elsewhere):

    Northwestern University
    UCLA
    University of Miami - Florida
    University of Michigan (you won't get through the prescreen without meeting their minimum academic standards)
    University of Southern California
    American University
    Emerson College
    Florida State University
    Illinois Wesleyan
    Muhlenberg College
    NYU/Steinhardt
    NYU/Tisch
    Texas Christian University
    University of California - Irvine
    James Madison University
    Pennsylvania State University
    Elon
    edited April 2017
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  • mylovesmyloves 827 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 852 Member
    edited April 2017
    @collegemom2000, at the time my D was auditioning a few years ago, I didn't think we wanted to pay for a college coach, and I wasn't sure it was necessary or desirable, either. Neither of D's voice teachers (both attached to quality programs) recommended it; in fact, one was scornful of it (honestly, one place in particular--but the whole industry overall). Things seemed to be going smoothly until late August of D's senior year, when both D and I panicked because neither of us were satisfied with her monologue choices. I reached out to Chelsea Diehl; she seemed down-to-earth and personable in her blog, and she is.

    I like to say that we used her "lightly." She helped D find better monologues, just heard D's songs once, and gave inside views on D's potential school list, considering my D's personality and desires above all, and helped us to hone down the list. D Skyped the sessions, which worked fine.

    Chelsea was also always available, responsive, and so helpful throughout the whole process via email, including offering support, opinions, insights, and assurances. She was a great sounding board at every step of the process, and we were relieved and grateful to have her!

    So, collegemom2000, my experience is that you can have some coaches (at least Chelsea; idk about the others) for whichever step you'd like help. Chelsea knew that we only wanted to have a very small number of sessions, and that we only wanted consultations for monologues and finalizing the college list, and she was completely fine with that. I ended up wishing we had gone to Chelsea sooner or had been able to go to a master class or two just because she was great and it was nice to have her support/insights, but it turned out fine the way it was.
    edited April 2017
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  • owensfolksowensfolks 655 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 664 Member
    We are using a coach for Gap Year/Year 2 of auditioning. It may be somewhat difficult to differentiate how much of that MAY contribute to D's second year yield vs.first year yield-after all, she will be a year wiser/more experienced. For us, it is money well spent, because SHE WON'T LISTEN TO ME!!! If a coach directs her towards a different monologue, song, wardrobe choice; to re-do headshots....D will comply. If I do the same, I get an eye roll and the silent treatment. Bottom line-kids without coaches get into top programs, and kids with coaches get into top programs. All one can do is apply a cost/benefit anallysis, and decide what's best for their situation.
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  • collegemom2000collegemom2000 286 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    @myloves thank you! I will contact Chelsea. So far the coaches I have seen want large sums of money and long term, weekly commitments (except I guess for the online ones.) We could use some help here and there, but definitely do not want anyone on a weekly basis nor do we want to go broke with this. And her vocal coach is the same..insisting we do not get a coach, that they are all just a way to scam people out of their money. I'm sure there is truth on both sides of the argument, its just finding the balance of what is needed and what is for profit I suppose.
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  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT 174 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    Interesting - CMU is regarded as a top school in other fields, like engineering, but it's interesting that it's not required for MT.
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  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT 174 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    Just curious here - my daughter is finishing up her freshman year of high school. What is the cost for these auditions coaches?
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  • NewJeffCTNewJeffCT 174 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    @sopranomtmom Congrats on her getting into the Hartt School. I live about 10-12 minutes from there, depending on traffic. The faculty I've met there have been very caring and passionate about their students. Best of luck to her. If MT means Montana, she will at least be able to handle the New England winters without a problem.

    My daughter takes vocal lessons through the Hartt Community Division, but is determined to not be close to home when she goes off to college. ;)
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  • theatremom10theatremom10 181 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 184 Junior Member
    @NewJeffCT Hi! I'll send you a message with some information about coaches. We used MTCA for my son this year. Very pleased with them as they were extremely helpful in the audition process
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  • theatremom10theatremom10 181 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 184 Junior Member
    @NewJeffCT I can't send you a message. You can google MTCA (Ellen Lettrich) They have a website and you can contact them through there.
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