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BWW Blog: What No One Tells You You Need as a Musical Theatre Major

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BWW Blog: What No One Tells You You Need as a Musical Theatre Major
The many binders of
music I had at school
with me this past year.

As I prepared for my Freshman year as a Musical Theatre major a couple years ago, I scoured the internet for essentials for my major. Most websites and posts listed items such as character shoes, leotards, tights, bobby pins, and tap shoes, items that are fairly common sense for the courses MT students take. Throughout my first year I found a few other items, some pretty unexpected, that make a significant difference in the life of an MT student. These are items and products that grace no "What MT Majors Need for College" lists.

1. Humidifier

The first item that is life-saving, well, more so grade-saving, is a humidifier. I was shocked at the dryness of my dorm room when I first moved in, waking up with a dry, sore throat every morning. As soon as I introduced a humidifier to my room, my vocal chords thanked me. I'm sure some dorms don't have a dryness issue, but nonetheless it can make a huge difference in how a singer feels and sounds.

2. Vocal Steamer

Along the same lines, I get great use out of my steamer. They are fairly small and come in many different shapes and forms, and like a humidifier, can save your voice. Whether I'm feeling sick or just need to loosen up my dry vocal cords from singing five hours straight, steaming helps, so I'm ready to sing painlessly.

3. Tea

I've never really been a tea-drinker, but once I felt the fatigue that comes with singing and talking for most of my classes, I started drinking peppermint tea with loads of honey. Not only does it overall relax me, but it soothes and heals my throat after or even before a long day of singing and speaking. Tea is incredibly important to have on hand as an MT college student.

4. Extra Binders

I also found it helpful to have multiple binders on hand. For my voice lessons, I learned that I had to have sheet music for myself, my accompanist, and my voice professor. I was happy to have extra binders to put each copy of music in to appear more organized. I used a binder for my audition book, another binder for all the extra sheet music I wasn't using at the time but still had printed out, and three more binders for different projects that involved sheet music for different classes. If you can find some inexpensive ones, it might serve you well to have extra.

5. Page Protectors

Some accompanists or professors don't like them, but most of my professors insist we have them to look more professional and for easier-page turning. I've been told to use heavy-weight non-glare page protectors. To go along with the numerous binders I ended up using, it might be a good idea to have a good supply of page protectors, if your professors prefer you to use them. I got mine in bulk from either Costco or Sam's Club.

6. Hole Puncher

This is sort of an odd addition to this list, but I always find situations that I need and use my hole puncher, mostly with sheet music that I'm not putting in page protectors. It's handy to keep a small flat one in your bookbag because you might have to hole punch something last minute and not be near a room that has one. The same goes for a small stapler.

7. Keyboard

I'm definitely not saying to go out and buy an expensive keyboard, but if you have one and have room in your dorm or apartment, it might serve you well to have it at school. Many nights I had to practice something for Music Theory or Aural Comprehension and did not want to go out in the dark at 11 pm to walk to a practice room or get up extra early to practice. It was incredibly useful just to have a small keyboard in my room that allowed me to practice for assignments or plunk out songs. Plug headphones in so you don't bother your roommate!

8. Strike/Build Clothes

Going into college, I didn't even think about the need for strike/build clothes. Luckily I had some that worked for it, but some people probably didn't. If your school is like mine and MT students have to learn about striking and building and do so for each set, make sure to have at least one shirt, pair of jeans/sweats/leggings, and pair of shoes you won't mind getting ruined with paint or holes.

9. Protein Snacks

Every year of college, I've found myself running from one class to another and not getting a chance to eat a meal for a while. That's just how college is. But, if you're an MT student, those classes will include dance classes and acting classes, all of which tend to take quite a bit of energy. It's difficult to exert a ton of energy without getting to eat much all day, so I suggest you carry protein bars or some kind of protein-rich snack that will give you the protein you need until you can finally eat a real meal.

10. Water and Water Bottles

Okay, this one might seem a little obvious, but having water on you at all times is crucial to the MT major. What they don't tell you is that you are actually training to be a quadruple threat: singer, actor, dancer, and water-drinker. Have a couple good water bottles you can swap out every once in a while because you will want to carry one EVERYWHERE.

Incoming Freshmen, or anyone looking to get some ideas on important items to have as a Musical Theatre major, I hope this list was useful. Best of luck on the upcoming school year!

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From This Author Student Blogger: Gillian Lintz