So your kid wants to be a singer/actor/entertainer- now what?
My Son Hayden is Seventeen, And He's Headed to Broadway In His Senior Year
Practice, Lessons, More Practice- It Is Possible!
For the past two years my son Hayden, who was always into hockey and baseball, decided that he wanted to pursue a spot in the Madrigal group in his high school choir. In order to do that, he wanted to try out for his school choir first and learn a little more about harmony. With the explosion of 'Pitch Perfect' and all of the a Capella groups, the idea of harmonizing with your teen friends has become very competitive. Hayden decided to chance his luck and try out for the choir.
Hayden made the choir and then he decided to try and make the Madrigals. The Madrigals are the top 12 boys and top 12 girls in the choir. They have a very strict schedule and they enter many competitions. When he made the Madrigals he was so excited, and of course so were we.
Hayden's school, Shawnee Mission West, has been under the leadership of an amazing Director for the Musical Program for years. Every year West scores all 1s in the State Choir Competition. Their music/choir program brings in tens of thousands of dollars per year to the school which houses about 3000 kids.
Hayden decided to try out for the high school musical, thinking that he would simply be cast as an ensemble member. Little did he know he would receive on of the main roles in the show, and go on to be nominated for the coveted Blue Star award for the heart of America! His cast got to perform onstage in front of thousands,
Hayden and Cast- Hayden Walks Out on the Left- Tall in Leather Jacket
Hayden and Co-Star in 'All Shook Up' - His First Performance
What Does It Take For Your Child To Have A Competitive Edge?
If your child is really wanting to pursue a career in the cut throat world of acting and performing, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your child is a step ahead of other aspiring performers. During the past few years, we've done quite a bit to get Hayden training for voice, dance and acting. It's not cheap, but he's never complained about going and his voice and confidence keeps getting better.
Hayden's voice instructor is someone recommended to him and may of the other featured musical cast members. He was a Broadway singer and actor, and now he dedicates his life to teaching children piano and voice. Hayden sees his voice teacher once a week.
Hayden also takes an two hours of dance class each week. He does one hour of jazz and one of ballet, and this is just to help him with his stage presence. A lot of times musicals require the star roles to dance of course, and we wanted Hayden to feel natural. He has a lot of natural talent and he rarely gets nervous, but the dancing is definitely helping his stage presence.
Hayden tried out for his first Shakespearean play this year as well. He landed the lead role as Duke Orsino and he really did a fabulous job. There was no singing of course, but the acting helps abundantly. He is also involved in the local community theatre.
The local community theatre allows Hayden to work with older actors and professionals. He learns so much and he gets a lot of experience. It's always a good idea to check out your local community theatre if your child is interested in acting, singing, or both.
Hayden as Duke Orsino 'Twelfth Night' -Set in the 70s
Things to Keep In Mind
There are many scholarships awarded to college students who are planning to enroll in performing arts in college. If your child has a real knack for singing and performing, check out the scholarships which may be available for him and her.
Primarily- ensure your child has a 3.4 GPA or above, and at least a 26 on his/her ACT. This will give your child academic scholarships at most schools.
Ask your child's music teacher or director to explain the possibilities for performing arts scholarships. Most will require an application and the more your child does in and out of school that deals with performing arts, the better chances he/she will have. There are also endless possibilities with one Google search on 'How to win a Scholarship for Performing Arts.' There are thousands of scholarships to apply for, and remember you are much more likely to receive these scholarships if your child has a higher GPA and ACT score- or in some places SAT scores.
Have your child take the ACT or SATs as many times as it takes to get a good score.
Give My Regards To Broadway
Programs That Give Experience
There are several programs offered through schools which will give your child a chance to actually go to New York and participate in Broadway life and what the city has to offer. Hayden is going to go to the City for his spring break this year. He will be going through a very well known and respected company called EF Explore America. There are several different tours to choose from, but Hayden will be going with his fellow cast members to the Broadway concentrated trip.
Here is a link to see the types of trips available:
To get an idea of his itinerary during the time he's there, please see below:
Day 1: New York City
Arrive in New York City
Take a walking tour of Midtown
- Fifth Avenue
- Rockefeller Center
- Bryant Park
Visit the Empire State Building by night
Day 2: New York City
Up-close with a Broadway Professional
Take part in a drama workshop
Take a tour of Radio City Music Hall
Visit Times Square
Attend a Broadway show
Day 3: New York City
Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Marvel at the 151-foot model engineered by Alexandre Gustav Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame
- Explore the Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Day 4: New York City
Optional: Best of Broadway Schoolroom™
Take a tour of Lincoln Center
- Avery Fisher Hall
- New York State Theater
- Metropolitan Opera House
Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Make a photo stop in Central Park
Attend a Broadway show
Day 5: New York City
Take a guided tour of New York
- Greenwich Village
- Little Italy
Depart for home
How to Budget For All Of This Stuff
Budgeting for the Performing Arts Student
Dance lessons, voice lessons, things needed for choir like tuxes, and trips to New York cost a fortune. It's a very good idea to make plans at least a year before your child is going to the City. EF Tours will allow you to make payments. The trip costs about $3000.00 and I started paying on it last March. I have a year.
Dance lessons are normally paid once a month. If your child isn't going to the lessons or has no interest, then don't pay for them anymore or make him/her pay.
Voice lessons run $60/hour and I pay this monthly. Hayden takes one lesson per week, but when school starts he'll probably drop to one every two weeks. This is only because he has so much incredible support and structure at school.
I am personally making Hayden pay for all of his spending money in New York. He has a summer job and he's saving his money. So, giving your teen child a portion of the financial responsibility will likely make his experience even more fun as he/she can take pride in the fact that the trip was partially paid by him/her.
Looking for a College for Performing Arts? Here are Some To Consider
Here is a list of fantastic colleges for performing arts:
1) Julliard of course
3) New York University
4) Loyola Marymount University (CA)
5) University of Illinois
6) University of Wisconsin
7) Wichita State University
8) Ohio State University
9) Chapman University
10) Ithaca College
Actors Giving Advice to Prospective Actors
The Actor in Your Child
Has your child expressed interest in acting or singing, or both?
Break A Leg
I am not really sure where the concept of telling someone who is about to go on stage to 'Break A Leg' comes from. I do however, wish anyone reading my hub the best of luck if you decide to get into acting or singing, or if your child is already on that path. It's a cut throat industry and your child will need to have tough skin to survive the word 'no' many times before he or she hears a 'yes.' But, like my son said; "Mom, being on stage is the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life and I want to do it forever."
Good luck, and Break A Leg to all!!