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Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

MTTwinsinCA2MTTwinsinCA2 36 replies4 threads Junior Member
Over the years, we've had many discussions about standardizing the process of MT/Acting auditions for college on these boards, and it appears there is some discussion about this by MT educators. (Most recently this was discussed extensively starting with post #4365 on page 291 of the thread called “Class of 2021 (sharing, venting, etc)”.

In any case, while I cannot post a link here, there is a blog on Huff Po right now entitled "Stressed Out! The College Audition Quagmire" by Mary Anna Dennard interviewing Sherri Sanders on just that subject.

Sanders is involved with Music Theatre Educators Association (MTEA) and she is trying to spearhead efforts to do just that.

Sounds like a longer-term effort, but she's very passionate about it. Google the title of the article and you'll find it easily.
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Replies to: Standardizing college theatre / musical theatre auditions

  • KTVoiceKTVoice 194 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I think it's okay to post a link to an article.. just not to promote a particular business.

    (If I'm wrong I guess this will be deleted! :D)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stressed-out-the-college-audition-quagmire_us_58ed2997e4b0145a227cb8ff
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  • artskidsartskids 1528 replies22 threads Senior Member
    It is an interesting article (with a little plug for coaching but that's ok w/me). I would like to see standardized prescreens; schools could maybe shake it up a little for final auditions. It would save time and $$ to pass/re-direct at the prescreen phase.
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  • KaMaMomKaMaMom 896 replies14 threads Member
    I'd also like to see them not require to complete an application to the school itself - or at least waive the application fee - until a decision is made artistically.

    (I have never counted up the $$$$$$$ we spent on applications. Nor do I ever want to. Ugh.)
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  • theatremom10theatremom10 181 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I just read that article this morning. Very interesting....I wonder if MTEA will be able to convince the schools to go along. We shall see.....
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  • artskidsartskids 1528 replies22 threads Senior Member
    It doesn't appear many of the so-called top programs participate in MTEA?
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  • KTVoiceKTVoice 194 replies3 threads Junior Member
    What makes sense to me is for all schools to require the basics and then they can add in something specific.

    So kids don't have to try and memorize 4 versions of a song... etc. If they want to add a third song or monologue... fine.. but keep the basics the same.
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  • MTmom2017MTmom2017 525 replies2 threads Member
    I know NOTHING about volleyball, but a friend with a D who will be auditioning next year also has a volleyball player. You wouldn't believe the cool website for college volleyball that they have with all of the student's information, school information, links to schools; they can upload videos, their stats, and other stuff I have no clue about. =)) She showed it to me recently and said "if only MT had something like this." There are big schools, small schools, urban, rural, etc., and they all use the same website. Students from all over have access to the same information! I do think they pay a fee to use it, and I don't know details about that. The article cited above sounds like it might be a move toward something similar.

    I am not trying to start a long discussion about how volleyball/sports is completely different than the arts - of course it is! It is obviously quantifiable (how high can they jump/how many games have they won/ok that's the extent of my knowledge!) and theatre/MT is not. But the basic premise of 1 place with all information sounds wonderful. And as my friend said, a business opportunity? Someone has to run the website... ;)
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  • techmom99techmom99 3475 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Although not specifically MT, my son was applying this year as a BFA theater tech major. The schools had different requirements for portfolios, a couple wanted essays, one wanted him to read a play and be prepared to discuss it. He tried but he's dyslexic and couldn't get through it, so he never finished the app. If I had known about this type of thing, I, too, could have saved some application money.
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  • Notmath1Notmath1 569 replies36 threads Member
    Really interesting discussion. I wonder two things: Do the colleges have a concern about what families have to go through? and Why would colleges be motivation to change their requirements?
    Seems like it would cause complications for admission?
    And who would decide what the standards would be? Shari Sanders? Would there be a steering committee formed from sort of MTEA conference? And what about the colleges who are not members of MTEA?
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  • theaterworktheaterwork 1313 replies191 threads Senior Member
    @Notmath1 no the colleges are not that concerned I'm sure about what the families have to go through . Not to be mean they just arent going to make it a priority to make it easier. It's just what we all signed up for ...supply and demand...I do wish that there was more info made
    available to the parents/students as to the insane competitiveness and nature of mt admissions.
    We all know if we hadn't read a lot on this forum we'd all been toast. Even WITH the crazy research our family has done the past two years, I still wish we'd done a few things differently.

    So...thinking of the families who did not research and really educate themselves and maybe did not apply to enough schools etc, I wish there were some link or education direction even on the MT dept of the school website directing people to some basic info. Maybe an overall "read this before you decide to apply/audition" thing to just give people a heads up. Like basic info but just to say "ok gear up if you really want to do this"
    Just a thought.
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  • MTTwinsinCA2MTTwinsinCA2 36 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Notmath1 - exactly. I think there is exactly ZERO motivation on the part of colleges to do this. But perhaps a passionate advocate like Shari can get the conversation started.
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  • Notmath1Notmath1 569 replies36 threads Member
    And I just read a tweet that Carnegie Mellon will now have a prescreen in 2017. That will help simplify things. The prescreen is helpful to so many families and as you so rightly say, "the insane competitiveness and nature of mt auditions"
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  • MTTwinsinCA2MTTwinsinCA2 36 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Yep, just tried to post a new thread about that but it said it would appear "after it is approved" -- these boards are changing last few days for sure....
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  • CTDramaMomCTDramaMom 465 replies1 threads Member
    @Notmath1 and I guarantee that next year you will have parents complaining about the fact that CMU has a prescreen and if only they could see their child in person they would have a better chance of admission. Prescreens are a double-edged sword. Yes, the help the school winnow it down to applicants they feel fit their program. But those who don't make the cut often don't see it as a savings, as a way of crossing one school off your list without the hassle and expense of going through the audition process.
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  • Cornycollins18Cornycollins18 32 replies1 threads 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.
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  • artskidsartskids 1528 replies22 threads 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.
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  • CentralOHmomof4CentralOHmomof4 200 replies6 threads 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 :)
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  • soozievtsoozievt 31403 replies372 threads! 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.
    edited April 2017
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