How to Find a Performing Arts School
A performing arts school is one of the many choices for incoming high school and university students. Obviously, a performing arts school is an educational institution that focuses on the performing arts—dancing, singing, acting, among others. You may think that these things come naturally (and maybe they do), but these skills also require a lot of work. If you look at the list of some of today’s most renowned actors and performers, you’d know that a lot of them went to a performing arts school. For instance, Jenna Uschowitz the hit television show Glee spent her university years in a performing arts school, and it obviously paid off. After roles in Broadway musicals Spring Awakening and The King and I, she is now a certified hit television star.
The point is, the performing arts really demand attention and devotion; anyone who cannot commit will not succeed. It goes without saying: if you have a passion for the arts, perhaps you should consider entering a performing arts school.
Assessing a performing arts school
Before you pick and choose the right performing arts school for you, you need to know what factors you should consider. There are two sides of a coin in this task: you need to pick a performing arts school that will fit your standards and you need to pick a performing arts school that will admit you. Needless to say, admission procedures for performing arts schools are more stringent (especially if you try your luck with renowned art schools such as Juilliard or UCLA).
First, when assessing a performing arts school, you need to assess the following: Strengths, equipment, and faculty. Strengths, of course, pertain to what performing arts the school excels in. After all, performing arts, although encapsulated in the same identification, are not made equally; some are better in specific areas than the others. Equipment, of course, is important since these will be the tools you will be using once you enter the program. And how can you expect to learn dance, for instance, if your performing arts school doesn’t even have a good dance studio?
The faculty of the arts school reflects the power and the ability of the school. Esteemed schools try to entice name individuals in the academe to their institution to entice students. For instance, Juilliard wouldn’t be the top arts school that it is without its renowned staff such as pianist Abbey Simon, dancer Martha Hill, opera singer Maria Callas, and Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Sessions. But more than the prestige, a renowned faculty means a qualified faculty. Would you feel comfortable studying in an arts school where the faculty is composed of teachers and professors with no credentials at all?
Another consideration to factor in is the arts school’s program and curriculum. Performing arts school focuses on the performing arts, naturally, but that doesn’t mean they do not have the usual general subjects as well. After all, these subjects are required. More than that, however, you should look at the subjects and courses offered beyond the required—and beyond your performing arts of choice. The performing arts is a multifaceted discipline, and your knowledge of various areas of interests can inform your art immensely.
Finding an arts school
Now that you know what to consider, you can now deal with how to find a performing arts school.
It is best to cover all the options: from the local to the national. Try out for prestige schools with great arts programs such as Juilliard, UCLA, Carnegie-Mellon, Yale, and the New York University, and many others. But this doesn’t mean you should disregard community colleges as well. Many community colleges have certificate arts programs. And while these schools may not boast of Pulitzer or Tony Prize winners, most of them offer solid programs for beginners.
But why should anyone even consider that option, when there’s NYU or Yale? Simple: performing arts schools are difficult to get into. There are commercial performing schools that accept majority of its applicants—but they cut a significant chunk of their students after their first years (they only retain those who pass their high standards and difficult requirements). However, most of the performing arts schools require applicants to submit portfolios or to audition for a spot in the school, besides the standard application exams. This means only the really qualified can get performing arts school slots, making it extremely difficult for anyone with the passion and drive but cannot pass muster against the more skilled competition. Hence, having backup plans would work when trying to pursue art education.
The key here, of course, is to start early. Performing arts schools reward applicants who demonstrate understanding of the craft and the skills to back up the passion for performing arts. Start by joining community theater groups, chorale groups, glee clubs, dance groups—anything that can help you master the performing arts. Besides the practice, these groups can give the necessary connections on how to find a performing arts schools. Such groups often have former members who went on to pursue the art professionally—or at least a college degree. They can either help you find the arts school perfect for your plans and your qualifications, or they can even help you through the application process (if they are still in the academe or the arts scene).
If you’re really having a hard time finding a school, you can check out what schools your favorite performers attended. Use online sources such as IMDB or other similar services to see what schools did the likes of Kate Blanchett or Lea Michele attended, if any. This may seem low brow to some, but you would be surprised who among the popular celebrities today took performing arts seriously during their college years.
You may think that performing is an easy feat, but professionals took and take it very seriously. Therefore, if you want a career in the performing arts in the future, you need to take arts educations seriously. Find a performing arts school and jump start your career in the arts!