High School Student,
Let me start by saying that this is not an article of discouragement, but instead pure honesty. If you are contemplating majoring in musical theatre, there are a few things you should know (that I am in the process of learning). Your freshman year as a musical theatre student will not be a giant party of glitter and happiness. They want to weed out those that are not truly passionate for the craft. You will have teachers tell you, "If there is anything else you can see yourself doing in life, go pursue that." This is hard to hear. You may begin to question yourself, "What else could I possibly do?" "Should I chose a more stable career path?" These questions are okay and expected!
You should also go ahead and prepare yourself that the leads you had in high school do not matter in college. You may have been the best Fiona to ever perform in Shrek, but so were twelve other girls in your college dressing room. (Literally every freshman musical theatre student at my school has played Fiona... This example is real.) No one likes the person who is too stuck in the past to grow as a performer, "Guys in high school I played So and So!! Isn't that cool??? Did I tell you I played So and So?" You and your castmates were all leads in high school. Your classmate might have a more beautiful pirouette or a killer monologue or a high C. Don't let this discourage you, but instead feel excited about the caliber of performance that this guarantees!
Lastly, know that your classes are not easy. (And you don't want them to be!!) You might shed tears in your ballet and jazz classes when everyone else is picking up the combinations more quickly than you. You may have a battle with jealousy when the students in your vocal performance class audition their songs. You may not love your private voice teacher, and she may tell you (force you) to sing differently than you're used to. You may have to open your heart to complete strangers in your acting class. Music theory class may be the hardest class of all time. Take a deep breath. You do not want classes that only teach you things that you know. You are growing as an artist; stretching as a performer. Your teachers are prepping you to take on this challenging career with knowledge and experience and grit.
Here is the happy news of this article... Yes choosing this major is overwhelming, but the rewards you reap are incredible. I've only been on this road since August, but already, I feel like the strongest version of myself as an artist that I have ever been. Late night jam sessions with your castmates create life long memories. I have been cast in a show, I have three auditions coming up, and my challenging voice coach who played Christine on Broadway actually complimented my voice last week. If musical theatre is what you love, grab the bull by the horns and choose a college with a strong program. (Come check out Anderson University- South Carolina School of the Arts and meet me!!) Most importantly, do not be afraid of all the challenges, but instead look on them with excitement. Go ahead and lower your expectations that the entire ride will be smooth and fun, but instead, prepare yourself for bumps in the road that will mold you as an artist. You can do it. I can do it. I believe in us.