Many types of performing arts colleges can help you reach your star potential. Musical theater programs are especially popular with “triple threats” who excel in singing, acting and dancing. A music composition minor nicely complements a drama major. If your passion is writing songs, you might really enjoy majoring in songwriting and getting a minor in performing arts. With an amazing college admissions audition, you might even get your foot in the door of an elite conservatory of the arts.
Singing, Dancing and Acting Schools
Singing, dancing and acting schools offer majors and minors in musical theater, songwriting and performing arts. If nothing thrills you like being in a musical production, then a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater may be in your future.
The BFA curricula is multidisciplinary but integrated. For instance, students pursuing a BFA at Cal State Fullerton take all their music, drama and dance classes in the Department of Theater and Dance. Music electives are available in music theory, song lyrics and composing techniques.
Performing Arts Academies
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, with campuses in New York and Los Angeles, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees along with much shorter certificate programs for aspiring actors, dancers, singers or songwriters. The AMDA certificate program is similar to parts of the BFA. A certificate can be completed in four terms, each 15 weeks long.
Hands-on training is an important part of the curriculum. For example, the music intensive course requires students to write lyrics, compose music and publicly perform an original song at the end of the term.
Open Arts Programs
If you are looking for a customized major rather than a narrow specialization, you may want to check out the Open Arts program at the Tisch School, University of New York. Majors at Tisch take foundation classes like acting, dance and dramatic writing. Then they pick two or more artistic concentrations of personal interest. Students collaborate in teams to create, perform and exhibit interdisciplinary works of art, including songs and original music scores.
Major in Songwriting
If you are a composer/singer with a country twang, you might want to major in songwriting at a school in Nashville. For example, Belmont, an ecumenical Christian university, offers a major in songwriting. Students can study pop, hip hop, country and jazz and complete internships at song-publishing businesses. Students may choose dual minors like theater and dance.
You can find other songwriting and singing colleges, such as the University of Colorado Denver, that offer a B.S. in music with a singer/songwriter emphasis. A performing arts minor may be added if you also want to take classes in vocal performance, drama and dance. Commercial songwriting classes are often part of a music business major, also found at many schools around the country.
Famous Private Conservatories
Founded in 1867, Boston Conservatory is one of the most diverse and highly esteemed performing arts schools in the U.S. The multidisciplinary curriculum offers incredible learning experiences in the fields of dance, drama and music. Students have an opportunity to perform classical pieces and share their own original work in areas like choreography and songwriting. The school is also known for a close-knit, supportive community and excellent facilities. Admission is very selective.
Since its inception in 1905, the Julliard School in New York City has been helping performing arts students develop their special gifts. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees are offered. Popular classes include acting, playwriting, musical composition, vocal arts and dance. Hundreds of cross-divisional performances are given each year, providing students with an opportunity to be recognized for their talent. Students from around the world dream of being admitted to Julliard.
- The Juilliard School: Home
- Fullerton College Music Department: Areas of Study
- California State University Fullerton: Introduction to the Musical Theater Department
- American Musical and Dramatic Academy: Catalog
- New York University: Tisch
- Belmont University: Songwriting
- University of Colorado Denver: Singer/Songwriter
- Boston Conservatory: Institutional Fact Sheet
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