Howdy, Wordsmiths! This week's blog is going to be a little bit different. In an effort to make sure that you're as prepped for the college application process as possible, I'm going to be having some guest bloggers jump in and share their experiences. When I met up with the lovely creators of CTA Studios, I knew we would hit it off. These folks are dedicated to creating a supportive community for performers to learn new skills and explore their craft in an AFFORDABLE way. Yes, you read that correctly. Affordable. They even offer a Groupon!
CTA's president, the lovely Katie Robertson (NYU Grad), was kind enough to sit down and whip up five pieces of advice for those of you starting this sometimes intimidating process. Here's Katie!
By the time I was auditioning for colleges, I was used to getting into shows. I didn’t necessarily always get the role I wanted, but I definitely got cast as something. Therefore, doing college auditions was a little bit of a wake up call for me and here are a few things I learned from it about the education process for a performing artist:
1) The 17-year-old me was not all that and a bag of chips. I was suddenly one of MANY people who could sing/dance/act just as well if not better than me. All of them had worked hard to get where they were and deserved to be there just as much as I did. But coming from a smaller town in New Hampshire, I had never seen such a conglomeration of talented people.
Which brings me to my second point...
2) Even if I had been that great, it STILL doesn’t mean I would get in, because one of the things colleges take into consideration is whether or not they can use you in shows. Do they already have seven potential Laurie’s for their fall production of Oklahoma!? Then maybe they really need some cute little belters for Ado Annie. Or they could looking for a bass to play Judd. Check out a school's season and see if you’re a fit. If you’re not, that DOES NOT mean you shouldn’t apply. It’s just something to keep in consideration if you don’t get in.
3) Did I choose my best foot or my coolest foot to put forward? Yes, you may find “Goodnight My Someone” to be the most boring song in the whole world… BUT DO YOU SING IT WELL??!?! The auditioners have probably seen and heard it all already so they’re not looking for you to WOW them with crazy riffs while barely reaching the notes for “Life of the Party." They want to see that you have a good head on your shoulders, have an idea of what you’re doing, and are comfortable in your own skin. These characteristics show that you can be worked with and can be relied on to do the right thing when the going gets tough.
4) Find the right teacher instead of the right school. The name of a school can definitely open up doors for you in the future, but if you haven’t gotten the training you need, you will quickly be escorted right back out. When it comes to your future as a performer, you need to think teachers, not schools. Personally, I was lucky and I found a teacher I really love at the school I went to, but I’ve heard some horror stories of people coming out with crazy debt and nothing to show for it. Find out EXACTLY what you’ll be getting and more importantly, who you’ll be getting it from.
5) If you’ve found a teacher that interests you, REACH OUT TO THEM! There’s nothing more awesome than having an advocate in an audition. With the internet and e-mail, there’s no reason not to try to get a voice lesson with a teacher you’re really interested in. You’ll get a better understanding of how they teach, what they teach, what the school’s ideas are, and you’ll hopefully end up with an advocate in your audition. Didn’t quite reach the high note in “Vanilla Ice Cream”? Well at least you’ll have someone there who can pipe in during the decision making process and say “Yeah, it didn’t work out then, but I’ve worked with her and the potential is totally there.” It’s better than just a straight “No” right? Hopefully this has helped calm some of your fears, or at least given you a realistic outlook on the college audition process. Remember, you’re good at being YOU. So show them the best YOU you can. Break Legs, Toi Toi Toi, All That Jazz, and feel free to e-mail me with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Katie Robertson is a voice teacher and musical theater/opera singer in NYC. She recently co-founded Collaborative Teaching Artists Studios (www.ctastudios.com), teaches at multiple music schools in and outside of the city, and enjoys her own private studio. Katie attended NYU Steinhardt for undergrad and grad school under the tutelage of Dr. Brian Gill.
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