Student Blog: The Hard Way, The Right Way

Theatre school is waaay more than just singing and dancing! How to manage your classes and care successfully

By: Mar. 19, 2023
Student Blog: The Hard Way, The Right Way
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We've all heard it: the claims from friends and relatives of how easy we must have it "just singing and dancing" for schoolwork. But, as any performance, tech, or dance major will tell you- it's not as simple as it sounds. There's a lot that goes into being a theatre arts student that people often miss while not walking in our shoes- tap, jazz, or character.

While not often catering to typical "academic" curricula, theatre classes teach and develop a wide range of skills that range from emotional, to mental, to physical. I'm a firm believer that the best thing you can do to manage this type of work is by managing your mental and physical wellbeing in and out of the classroom - because even though everyone says it, your body really is your instrument.

A super beneficial and important thing to do is check in with yourself often: how are you doing? How does your throat feel while and after singing? How does your body feel while and after dancing? How do you feel mentally during and after scene work? Noticing changes in your vocal, physical, and mental health can provide lots of insight on the best ways to maintain and improve your overall stamina for this type of work- because it's a lot! Performing of any kind regularly can be draining, and it's super to rest when you need it. Theatre as an industry has a big "the show must go on" mentality, but truly, the show can wait! You will perform your best when you are in a healthy rested state- so take that nap! THAT NAP IS IMPROVING YOUR WORK!

On a similar note, asking for help is another huge skill- for any type of class! I've found myself in many moments this semester where work was piling up and time was slipping by, and I felt a bit stuck on what to do. If you can relate to this, remember to ASK FOR HELP AND LET YOURSELF RECEIVE IT! I'm someone who struggles with this myself, but once I reached out to my friends and professors, they were happy to help me work through and understand the classwork, as well as helping with any extensions I needed. People want to help! If you need help, just ask! No one wants anything for you but success.

And of course, even with a fun major and classes I love, comes the busywork. Doing less interesting or exciting work for classes outside of your major (or assignments such as presentations and papers) isn't always going to be as fun. When it comes to managing these types of assignments, you have to make sure you put in the time just as much as your other work - they are also important! I find it helpful to motivate myself through the mindset that while it may not feel like it's serving my interests currently, finishing the class or assignment brings me one step closer to getting my degree. So even if that communications speech or English paper is making you groan, finishing it and moving onto your dance class won't!

No matter what people may tell you about being a theatre major- it's a lot. But even though it's a lot, it can be workable with the proper self-upkeep and motivation. If you're a current theatre major or planning to be, be proud of yourself! It's not easy work and takes a lot of strategy when it comes to approaching it. If things feel tough, just focus on how great you'll feel at the end of the semester, not only being able to belt out the end of your favorite showtune, but also knowing how to calculate the right tip at a restaurant. Thanks math for the arts!


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