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Need best recommendations for Musical Theatre Major & Minors/Classes in Piano & Voice Performance

21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
edited December 2018 in Musical Theater Major
I am overwhelmed and I would rather not go into all the circumstances/details as to why we are late applying for musical theatre programs for colleges for my son for Fall 2019. If knowledgable people could just rally around this incredibly stressed parent with their best recommendations for Musical Theatre Major and Minors (or the freedom to take high level lessons/classes) in Piano & Voice Performance) that have deadlines that have not passed. That would be incredibly helpful and thank you in advance to anyone who takes time out of their day to help us. <3

I will try to include details about my son that will give you insight as to his preferences & background:

He has a extensive background/proficiency in piano, plays several instruments and has a pretty strong, in pitch, well controlled, good range, tenor voice, even though it is still developing. ( I will put my opinion here and say his voice has become really beautiful after starting out really rough, so don't let anyone discourage you if you have a love for singing and the dedication to work at it.)

He sight reads piano but it is not at the level to, seamlessly, play anything in front of him, however that is his goal. He can sight read and sing on the spot, though.

He had been junior musical director for his high school contemporary band and he would listen to a song and pick out and write out the different parts for his band mates to play.

He understands music theory and explains to me why I love how certain parts of songs sound! :)

He has a 4.0 unweighted and 4.08 weighted gpa, and his class rank is 6 of 106, as of end of junior year.
He has a 1300 SAT score, 650 in math and 650 in English.
He has not taken AP courses.
He has taken Honors Precalculus, and Honors Calculus.
He has taken A-G 11th grade English, A-G Biology and A-G United States Government.
He has been fortunate that he has been able to take Musical Theatre, Drama, Music Composition, Voice and Piano class/lessons at his school and some outside his school.
He likes to sing and play, broadway, jazz r&b, soul and classical, prefers real instruments and dislikes synthetic/dj/repetetive music.
He has not taken any dance classes, yet, but was able to be instructed and perform adequately in a local musical, even if he felt he was slower than most in picking up choreography.

He truly wants to be a musical theatre major but can't imagine not training in piano, as well or even having access to pianos to play daily. He has had lead, featured and ensemble roles in musical theatre in both his school and community theatre and loves the atmosphere and the experience and the friends he makes. He has also restored, arranged the music, added harmonies and was hired as the musical director and accompanist for a musical revival put on by community theatre. As musical director he had to work with all ages and garnered their respect. He has this understanding of music and a drive to pursue it that seems to be beyond his 16 years. Certain teachers/friends have complimented him and say he is already a professional musician and they want to see him at Juilliard but even if somehow he were amongst the select few that were accepted, Juilliard does not have a musical theatre major/program and he has discovered a love for Musical Theatre that won't be denied.

I am sorry if this is coming off as bragging, as that is truly not my intention, but he really seems gifted musically and I just want him to get into the right school for him, where he can continue to thrive, make friends, make the most of his gifts, follow his interests and just be happy while he works towards a successful future in what he loves. I just feel ill equipped to figure all this out especially now being all too aware that some musical theatre application dates have passed and some are fast approaching. I have researched, read tons and taken notes and tried to figure out what schools are best but it is just such an unfamiliar, intimidating and worrisome process for me. I just learned about college coaches but we won't be able to do that.

Somehow his brain is wired for music now and that comes naturally to him but he's had some concentration and other issues come up this last year that make him feel he is not able to deal with many general education courses. ( I know that is controversial but he has decided he truly does not want to apply to a school with too much core curriculum. ) So any input in that area would be extremely helpful, as well.

Just read about cuts and while I know my son works hard and I can't imagine him cut for slacking, it scares me to think of a school cutting him because they overaccepted for their freshman class. The very idea of that makes my heart hurt and I certainly don't want to go thru this process again so please don't recommend (or warn me about) schools that have that reputation.

Just recently learned about prescreen dates, as well, not even sure I fully understand what they are.

Again, thanks anyone who has the knowledge and is willing to share with some ideas/lists/spreadsheet for us. Hopefully in future I can return the favor and contribute to this forum what we learn from this experience.



edited December 2018
95 replies
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Replies to: Need best recommendations for Musical Theatre Major &amp; Minors/Classes in Piano &amp; Voice Performance

  • CaMom13CaMom13 1968 replies13 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Hi @21stParent - one thing that always goes into any college recommendations is budget and location. What state are you located in, do you have time in your busy schedule for auditions in January/February and what's your college budget look like? I am sure people here can provide ideas for you. It sounds to me like he's a good candidate for a BM (Bachelor of Music) program in Musical Theatre as that would focus on Music with acting and dancing courses added in to balance out the MT training.
    edited December 2018
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  • 21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Hello, @CAMom13

    Thanks for responding. :)

    We are in California, as well but are open as far as location goes. We will, definitely, make time for auditions. He will qualify for need based aid according to the online financial aid calculators. Our budget can't accomodate full price tuition but we are determined to get him to the college that will be the best for him. We are hoping for merit based aid, too and will be applying for smaller talent or other appropriate scholarships once we get applications in. We will save as much as we can and would be open to partial student loans.
    All that said, I don't want price to be the limiting factor. Once aplications are sent and he gets some acceptances, we will consider cost, of course, but if there is one clear best school for him, we are willing to tap the equity in our home to bridge the gap between financial aid and tuition and room and board.

    Also, I should have mentioned he really would like schools that have several musical theater shows per year and that allow freshman to audition for 2nd semester or at least sophmore year.
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  • EmsDadEmsDad 1515 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    I would recommend taking a look at Western Michigan. You still have plenty of time to apply and audition. Out of state tuition is only 25% more than in-state tuition.

    My d has two MT classmates who are very proficient in piano and music theory and at Western Michigan they have been able to do the following:

    1. Take a minor in Music that provided a continuation of serious piano and theory study (along with any other Music courses of interest). MT majors have to take Music Theory and Piano but my d's friends wanted the added depth of taking the Music Major theory and piano sequence.

    2. Be a Music Director and/or accompanist for student-directed musicals and cabarets. Student-directed shows are well supported at WMU.

    3. Earn extra money as an accompanist for voice lessons for MT majors ($200-300 per semester per student).

    4. Compose musicals as class assignments.

    5. Work as Teaching Assistants for MT Music Theory classes.

    I think there are additional opportunities within the Music Department at WMU such as ensemble participation which may include accompaniment and music direction.

    Dance is not heavily weighted in the audition process (I think the dance call is mainly used to evaluate the placement level for Freshman dance classes).

    These types of opportunities are very likely to exist at many other MT programs, I would contact the departments at other programs to investigate what is possible.
    edited December 2018
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  • speezagmomspeezagmom 388 replies1 threads Member
    I'm sorry - I'm sure this is incredibly stressful! My son is at Molloy/CAP21. Their program is a BFA MT, but they take piano, theory, etc. and have practice rooms with pianos all over (I think most programs will). They can also minor in music or music therapy. Last year, they did walk-ins at chicago unifieds so I suspect their deadline is later. University of Minnesota Duluth also has auditions into late March so I suspect they may also have later deadlines. Any of the schools that do walk-ins at unifieds will take your application at unifieds or after the fact so if you can make it to one of those, that might be an option too. (Chicago seems to have the most schools at it) Or even take a look at the schools that have done walk-ins in the past on the unifieds threads as they may all have later deadlines. Here's a thread that has discussion on schools that have had walk-ins in past years.

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/musical-theater-major/1857986-chicago-unified-walk-in-regulars-p1.html

    And last thought - Is a gap year an option? It might be a less stressful journey.
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  • 21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I tried to respond but for some odd reason it said it had to go thru moderation first. So this is a test response...if it goes thru, I will try to remember/rewrite my response to @CaMom13 and also specifically respond to EmsDad and Speezagmom. Thanks to all three of you, though...I feel like the calvary has arrived! :)
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  • loribelleloribelle 388 replies9 threads Member
    Please look into OCU (Oklahoma City University) and Belmont University. They both have BM’s in MT. I think it is too late to get an audition for BW, but there may be other majors at that school that interest him, non-audition (Baldwin Wallace). If we knew if there were any cost or geographical restrictions, it would be helpful so we can direct you more. His grades will definitely get some merit aid at most schools.
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  • loribelleloribelle 388 replies9 threads Member
    edited December 2018
    Also, if you have the funds, I would consider contacting a coach ASAP that would be able to help you quickly with a consultation. MTCA may be a good option to help him make some quick decisions about schools and provide an immediate list of who lets you apply later. Many schools allow for late applicants, but your son sounds like he has some specific gifts that need to be nourished and not all schools will be a fit for that.
    edited December 2018
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  • loribelleloribelle 388 replies9 threads Member
    edited December 2018
    Three more schools that may still allow late applicants that may be a good fit for him: James Madison, Berkelee School of Music and Manahattan School of Music. All have BM or strong music component in their MT programs.
    edited December 2018
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  • 21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @CaMom13

    Thanks for information, BM in Music sounds promising!
    Still learning about BFA and BFA, etc.

    We are in California, too.
    We will make time for auditions.
    Budget is sparse but we have fee waivers for some apps and financial calculators say we qualify for need-based aid.
    We are hoping for merit based aid, as well.
    We will apply to many talent-based and other possible scholarships.
    We will save as much as we can.
    We are open to student loans.
    If we feel an expensive school is truly the best for him, we are determined to figure out how to meet the difference between the tuition and Financial Aid packages...house has equity!

    @EmsDad

    Thanks so much taking the time to write all the details that would make WMU work specifically for my son! I am feeling better, honestly just realizing there are some good fits still available. I have been feeling awful not realizing that many MT programs have earlier deadlines than regular majors, especially since I promised my son to handle all this for him since he has been so crazy busy.

    @speezagmom
    Thanks I will add your great suggestions to our list and I am just reading about Unifieds but what you wrote makes me think he has a chance at schools whose deadlines have passed...if they show up at Unifieds they might take a late app from him?!
    He really does not want a gap year and i don't want to make him do that because I was ignorant about this process.

    @loribelle
    thanks for all your great suggestions, i will add to list and do some research!
    I think I answered some of your questions above in my response to CAmom13.
    ! am not sure we can put money toward a coach but your are right a list of who has later deadlines would help.
    Also, would you know of which schools allow for late applicants...the only one I noticed that let's you apply and pay a late fee past their deadline was Manhattan School of Music.
    Is MTCA a coaching service.

    I have to go right now but I will check back here when I return...thanks again for all the help. You guys are truly saving my sanity!

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  • speezagmomspeezagmom 388 replies1 threads Member
    @21stParent On the unifieds question - not all schools will take walk-ins, but those that do will take your ap after the deadline if you do a walk-in for them. If you're really interested in a school and you can get your audition scheduled, you're better off doing it that way to ensure that you'll be seen. That said - there are probably schools whose deadlines have past that are doing walkins and taking those late applications as a result.
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  • loribelleloribelle 388 replies9 threads Member
    Since you are in California, also look at ASU. It was too big of school for my daughter, but they have a BM in MT. We are from CA too, so I know the expense of traveling for all of this. If you google “school name” and then “Musical Theater program” right afterwards, you should be able to go to their websites and see application deadlines.
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 1968 replies13 threads Senior Member
    I would definitely second @loribelle's suggestion of AZ State, as that is run by their music school and the deadline for apps is Jan 4. Also look a U AZ - I know a very fine singer who went there for MT. In-state look at UC Irvine - you don't audition in as a freshman. Not sure if their admissions is stats-only but it's worth looking at. Since you don't want a cut program, we won't push Fullerton ;).

    L.A. Unifieds are in February so if you can get auditions scheduled there's still time to prepare. Keep in mind these applications are a lot of work and if your S is too busy to devote hours to essays and uploaded materials it might imperil his chances more than the lateness of his apps.

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  • lithpoollithpool 420 replies14 threads Member
    @21stParent Welcome to the board! As you can see from the comments above, there are some really great people here who are willing to help as much as possible...and we ALL understand the high level stress you are feeling. IMHO, we found prescreens to be the most difficult, time consuming, and stressful part of this process. (At least I did, for sure!) And for schools that have prescreens, many of the deadlines may have already passed. With all that, but mostly bc I found the prescreen process the most overwhelming (and most time consuming) part of all of this, my recommendation would be to focus on schools that do not require a prescreen. Best of luck to you and your talented son!
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  • BoilermomBoilermom 199 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I second trying Manhattan School of Music. Yes MTCA is a coaching service, they offer voice, dance & monologue coaching. They also offer services such as application assistance & college counseling to help you narrow down the list. It sounds like budget is an issue though so this may be too expensive of an option. For auditions since you live in California you should look into doing LA unifieds. It will give you the ability to get multiple schools into a narrow time frame but to save on traveling to each school individually. Chicago unifieds will have more schools available to audition for but could be cost prohibitive coming from California.
    Another option is to see which schools will allow you to submit video auditions (not prescreen but actual auditions) several will if you live more than 200 miles from campus. American University comes to mind as one that does but not sure they fit your other criteria.
    I would suggest Baldwin Wallace musical theatre auditions are full for them but they are a great conservatory school. I would contact them and see if he could major in piano/vocal performance and minor in theatre
    Belmont is another great option to look in to.
    Another great option would be NYU Steinhardt, different from NYU Tisch. The problem with them may be cost of attendance, although if he qualifies for need based aid that might help.
    Good luck
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  • janactjanact 14 replies0 threads New Member
    I have a pianist musical theatre daughter (3rd year) that is having a good experience with regard to piano opportunities and would be happy to correspond with you offlist. I don't seem to be able to private message you so please either private message me or provide your e-mail address so that we can correspond.
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 1968 replies13 threads Senior Member
    @janact - The OP probably has too few posts to PM through CC. You need to have at least 10 posts or something like that.

    I was thinking Steinhart as well except for the budget. It's an expensive school plus far from CA which means travel expenses.
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  • MTMommmaMTMommma 50 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    @21stparent, we are in CA too and my D goes to ASU. Their new director has made the MT program fantastic. ASU has an enormous school of music so there is so much opportunity there. MTs require two years of music theory- the same theory classes that the instrumental and composition majors take & 1.5 years piano, but you can always take more. They take one hour voice lessons (free) once a week and have lots of crossover opportunities with the opera/vocal performance program. The only thing is that there is a core general ed at ASU. If your son truly doesn't want that, maybe look into curricula at each school that has been suggested. A school with a conservatory might be best because they usually have fewer gen ed classes. Look at the schools that will be at LA Unifieds and see if you can still apply to any of those- that will save some travel $. Best of luck to you guys!
    edited December 2018
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  • 21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @speezagmom
    Thanks so much for that clarification. It was nice to tell my son some good news that perhaps he can still audition/apply at some colleges that have passed. :):)
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  • 21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @loribelle
    Thanks for more suggestions & tips, fellow California dweller! :)
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  • 21stParent21stParent 95 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @CaMom13 Thank you for the school ideas and for the subtle warning re: Fullerton!
    The 2 community theatre production that were taking up the majority of my son's free time ended so hopefully he will be able to crank out what's needed for the applications!
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