5 Things All Incoming Musical Theatre Freshmen Should Know

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

  • Genna-Leigh Williams

It’s the summer before your freshman year. High school is behind you and you’re ready to go headfirst in your first year as a BFA/BA Major. You’ve read all the college packing lists and seen the articles on things to know before your freshman year but you’re looking for something more. How can you know you’ll be prepared? Are you going to be ready for the things being a Musical Theatre Major will throw your way? I can’t claim to have all the answers, but here’s a few ways to prepare that I wish someone had told me before I started college.

1. Never stop singing.

If you’re musical theatre, you’re about to be singing like, all the time. The summer before freshman year is a great way to get your voice in shape. Do some scales, find a voice teacher, there’s even some great resources online for some professional coaching! You want to be prepared and physically able for the challenges this upcoming year will throw at you.

2. Dance, somehow, find a way.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a dancer, I’m a decent mover but that doesn’t mean I was ready for ballet my freshman year. You will be in some sort of dance class and it’s best not to go in blindly. Find some local classes or at the very least stretch and build up your strength and flexibility. You can usually gage off of your audition for the program how intensive the dance program will be at your school. Take that knowledge and find ways to get yourself to at least feel a little more comfortable on the dance floor. This will be helpful whether you’re a dancer, mover, or baby giraffe.

3.Read lots of plays.

If your life is anything like mine summer is one of the few times a year I have time to read. Use this reading time to brush up on some classics! Not only will you be educating yourself and sound more knowledgeable when your professors reference the greats, but it’s a great way to find audition material. It’s never too soon to start to build your audition book!

4. Get healthy.

Ok I’m a hypocrite and don’t follow this nearly as much as I should. You may or may not have heard of the “Freshman 15” and fun fact- it can go either way. Either you’re too busy (because you’re an MT now and pulled 8000 different directions) and you wind up not eating. Or you’re too busy and all you have time for is Cookout at midnight and you gain the weight. Neither is healthy so now is the time to establish healthy habits to keep you on track. It is important to be “actor-athletes” and establishing healthy habits and building physical strength and endurance will build your immunity and make you eligible for a wider variety of roles. No one ones an actor who gets sick all the time or sprains their ankle every dance number.

5. Be a sponge.

Open your mind and be ready to be in the unfamiliar college world. You will be surrounded by people you don’t know and learning things you’ve never heard before.

Absorb everything, keep what works, and respect what doesn’t. But don’t be intimidated, the upperclassmen are so excited to meet you, the professors want you to succeed, and you’re in the training ground for your dream. Always remember why you are where you are and I promise, you’ll be okay.