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Can I major in Music Theatre and something else at the same time, like business?
Yes, however it is generally not advisable. The Music Theatre includes 70 hours of credits (in addition to many extra hours in the theater for performances) and leaves little time for pursuing another major. It is, however, a good idea to pursue a minor (approximately 20-24 credit hours) in a related subject.
What kind of classes would I take as a Music Theatre major?
The classes required for the BFA-Music Theatre degree (the academic term is curriculum) fall into three basic categories: music, theater, and dance. These courses presently total 70 hours of credit. The additional 50 hours (all university degrees have a minimum of 120 hours) fall under the category of General Education.
When you arrive at the university as a Music Theatre major, you will be assigned an Advisor who will alert you to all the requirements necessary to complete the program. All university students have a major advisor, who can answer major specific questions. It is advisable that all students also seek out a general academic advisor, who can answer questions regarding General Education university requirements.
Rather than go into great detail about the exact classes you will take, it is simpler to let you know that you will probably be enrolled in voice (singing) lessons, dance classes, and theater classes almost every semester you are in school. These will be in addition to your general education classes.
What happens at the auditions?
Everyone who is auditioning begins the day with a simple, standardized test of your musical “ear.” The Gordon Audiation Test consists of a series of short, recorded musical examples. Each example is performed, then repeated. You are asked if the repetition is exactly the same, or if it is different, then what is different, the rhythm or the melody. The description of the test sounds more complicated than the test itself. You do not have to know how to read music to take the test.
Following the audiation test, there is a solo singing and acting audition and a group dance audition. These portions of the auditions are observed by faculty from theater, dance, and music.
For the singing/acting portion, you are asked to sing 16-32 bars of 1) a ballad, and 2) an up-tempo selection. Both selections, of your choosing, must be from musicals. In addition, you are asked to perform two prepared monologues from plays that demonstrate your range as an actor. Choose contrasting pieces (i.e. comic and serious) that are appropriate for your age. The total time allowed for this portion of the audition is 4 minutes.
The final portion of the audition is the dance section. This is done as a group. You will be taught a musical theatre dance combination and given the opportunity to perform it in small groups.
What do the faculty look for in the auditions?
The Music Theatre BFA degree requires students have some skills in singing, dancing, and acting. Faculty from the Music, Theatre and Dance areas of the university come together to evaluate prospective students in these three areas. At CMU we strive to train "triple threat" performers who are equally skilled in singing, dancing, and acting, while at the same time recognizing that not all prospective students excel equally in those areas. We expect that students will excel in at least one of the three areas and show promise to excel in the other two.
More specifically, we look at the following:
- Is the prospective student's singing voice clear, in tune. Does it have an acceptable sound? Is s/he making the effort to communicate with us?
- Is there a contrast in character and sound between the songs?
- Are the words of the songs clear and easily understood?
- Is the prospective student singing AND acting the songs?
- Is the acting believable? Has the prospective student created clear characters? Are the monologues well-prepared and appropriate selections for the actor?
- Is there a contrast between the characters delivering the monologues?
- Is the text easily understood? Does the actor understand the story?
- When dancing, is s/he moving with energy appropriate to the music? Is s/he projecting some sense of feeling and character when moving?
- Is the dancer making an effort to master the footwork and technical elements?
- Is the performer strong in one area (singing, dancing, or acting) and shows potential for growth in the other two?