BWW Blog: The Life of an MT Freshman: BoCo Edition
Hi Broadway World! Following up last week's post about college auditions, this week I wanted to share about college itself. Musical theater programs abound in the U.S. and I obviously cannot speak for any program but the one I am currently in, but most schools have at least the same basic structure in terms of what is taught. Today, I'll be sharing the details of life at a musical theater freshman at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, MA!
As a freshman at BoCo if you do not come in with an transfer credits from high school and do not test out of any classes, you will take 13 classes your first semester, plus voice lessons: Movement, Voice and Speech, Acting, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater (as an ensemble), Music Lab, Piano, Theater Process and Production, Musical Theater History or Theater Literature, and two liberal arts classes. While this may seem daunting, the schedule is well spread out and definitely manageable. I am busy, of course, but I auditioned for the program knowing that I would be challenged. Something I believe to be a huge asset of the program, however, is that you are not simply thrown into the challenge with no support; we have incredible faculty who help build students up and nurture the talents they have while still pushing us to be the best unique artists that we can be. Also, even though the schedule is busy, there is so much to get involved in on campus; we have many student clubs and organization including a rich variety of student-led theater, plus all of the amazing things Boston has to offer as a city.
While BoCo has a reputation for having a dance-heavy MT program, there are so many more facets of the program that are also fantastic. If you are thinking about auditioning for the Boston Conservatory and are nervous because you are not a "dancer first," do not fear; one of the things I love the most about our MT programs is the diversity of talents and types. I have classmates who have been dancing for 16 years as well as classmates who had never taken a ballet class before they started here at school. We have six levels of ballet, six levels of jazz, and four levels of tap, and there are placements at the beginning of freshman year to determine where you begin. This way, people can be in the classes where they'll truly be learning and not stuck in a class that is too hard or too easy.
Another facet of my program that I love is our core system. While many musical theater programs have no more than 20-25 people per class, BoCo takes in larger classes; I am currently in a class of 59. Each year, however, we are split up into cores of 14 or 15 and we have the majority of our classes with those peers. The cores also switch from year to year so you get to eventually have class with everyone. We have combined classes like Musical Theater, which is two cores at a time, and dance classes are unrelated to our cores. While I was nervous about the large class size before I committed to BoCo, I truly do love our core system because it allows for small class sizes while still getting to work with different classmates every year. You also get to work with different classmates and different years of MTs when in productions.
I truly love all of the time I have spent here so far at the Conservatory; I am only halfway through the first semester and feel as though I have grown in leaps and bounds, not just as an artist but as a person as well. Here at BoCo we are taught to be artists that are not just performing robots, but well-rounded and kind humans who have the power to change the world for the better through our passion. Here at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, empowered artistry abounds, and I am so grateful to be learning in this incredible environment.
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any specific questions you'd like to ask me about school here in Boston or MT in general, or things you'd like to see me write about next, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@thrinekat)!