You Want to Major in What?

“I want to go to college for football and get a full-ride sports scholarship, but I’ve never played a game or even been inside a gym.”

What would you think of a student who said something like that the summer before their senior year of high school? Would you laugh? Express consternation? Rage? Frustration?

But this is the exact situation for HUNDREDS of high schoolers that want to go to college for Musical Theater, and have never had a voice or dance lesson. Sure, maybe they’ve been in choir, maybe they’ve done some shows. But are we under the collective delusion that these limited experiences have served to TRAIN their voice?

This isn’t even considering that musical theater is not only a SINGING forum, but a DANCING one as well!!!

How in the WORLD are you expecting to have any kind of competitive edge against those that have been studying voice and dance for YEARS??

To look at the other side of the coin, the TRAINER matters too. Seth Riggs, when once asked how long one should wait before taking voice lessons, said, “If you are studying with a bad teacher, you should wait as long as possible.”


Sure, one can assume that a student will ‘get what they need’ in college.

But will they? Really? 

The roadside is littered with roadkill that don’t make it out technically unscathed. And let’s also remember that there are ALREADY talented youngsters on Broadway NOW!! College wasn’t their route to the Great White Way. 

And statistically, it is EASIER to get into Harvard Law school than some top-tier Musical Theater programs.

To those of you not taking lessons, I can only express consternation and confusion. How in the WORLD would you get to the Olympics of your field without a coach? How would you know to train yourself on all aspects of your sport without a guide or guides? Musical Theater singing IS NOT A WALK IN THE PARK. It requires a HIGH level of skill, strength, stamina, flexibility, and musical intelligence. All those things require TRAINING.

If you are a high schooler with dreams of getting into a top-tier musical theater program, you had either be 1) a freak of technical and musical nature, or 2) actively TRAINING. Your competition is DOING THE DIRTY WORK of taking lessons, practicing, attending important summer camps. When the two of you meet, who’s going to have the advantage? Hint: not you. 

If you think that you can coast on just your “talent,” while being unable to sing in a fairly balanced manner without switching back and forth between chest and head, or singing with a good mix – let’s get real here: you need to ask yourself SERIOUSLY if Musical Theater is the right major for you.

Now, not to be a dream killer here…

If you still burn with the desire to do MT in college, then you must understand your winning hand is going to be COLLEGE SELECTION. You had better come up with a pretty DOABLE list of colleges (including some non-audition programs). While you may not get in to UMich or Carnegie Mellon, perhaps schools farther afield will offer you the opportunity to pursue your goal? You need to investigate those schools STAT.

And then be prepared to work your butt off.


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