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What Sets Texas State Apart

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  • Anything Goes
    Anything Goes
    The TXST Musical Theatre degree plan is unique because the curriculum was built under one umbrella. What that means is; no classes are farmed out to a Music school or Dance School, all the MT classes are designed specifically to serve our musical theater majors with everything housed in the Theatre Department. 
     
    This allows our classes to be fully integrated, with our musical theater faculty only serving our musical theater students. The curriculum was designed to be collaborative in all aspects, with each class informing and building on the other classes. Musical theater is its own art form and as such, the curriculum was designed to reflect that, and not have classes taught by faculty who are part of a school of Music or Dance whose methodology is constructed for a different type of artist. The average class size is 12-14. With a total of 10 faculty who only serve a total of 56 MT students and two more additional Acting BFA faculty who also work with the MT students, a student should expect a lot of individual attention. This sets TXST apart.
     
  • During their junior and senior year, musical theater students have a series of Business Labs designed by the head of the program and Broadway veteran Kaitlin Hopkins.

    These classes cover everything from:

    • contracts (theater/film/tv)
    • mock agent interviews
    • how to do your taxes on tour (National/International)
    • financial planning (with Merrill Lynch VP)
    • social media/branding
    • website building
    • interview skills (on camera and print)
    • resumes and cover letters
    • how to read tv/film call sheets
    • budgeting
    • first year after graduation transition skills….. and more!
  • Texas State is committed to training the whole performer. We extensive training in all three disciplines that focus on technique and storytelling but also train you to be self-sufficient artists and individuals. This means giving you skills that will serve you in all areas of their lives and careers. These skills teach you how to take care of yourself physically, vocally, and mentally.

    All incoming freshmen study Intro to Musical Theatre, which will include an hour-long lab once a week in the fall semester that covers six life skills (coping, communication, problem-solving, time management, leadership, and goal setting), mindfulness techniques, stress management skills, brain science of stress, meditation, and more.

    This evidence-based curriculum was designed specifically for performing artists by the head of the musical theater program Kaitlin Hopkins and renowned psychologist Dr. Bill Crawford. The program has been studied as part of a research project at Texas State and has now expanded to include two other researcher/educators at the university: sports psychologist Dr. Hilary Cauthen Ph.D. and communications expert Dr. Marian Hauser. The Living Mental Wellness program is now available for licensing and is being picked up by other schools and organizations across the country. (Research data has shown significant decreases in depressions and anxiety, and significant increases in life skills, especially coping and communication.)

    Student Testimonials:

    “Texas State is one of the only programs I auditioned for that even mentioned mental health. The musical theatre industry is physically strenuous, and it is also very trying for your mental wellbeing. Training at a program that not only talks about mental health, but encourages practicing mindfulness was a huge asset that set Texas State apart from other programs for me.” - Paul Amrani (2022)

    “The mental wellness course gave me tools to work more efficiently and with a greater consideration for my health. I applied these skills to my training, my school work, and my life and noticed huge differences in the quality of my work and my overall happiness. I am so happy to go to a school that values a holistic approach to training and offers skills that teach us to put our wellness above all things.” - Camille Duvall (2021) 

    “It is so important to believe in yourself as a performer, and that comes from believing in yourself as a person. The mental wellness lab can help you to achieve this; to really trust that you are enough.”- Colin Trudell (2021)

    “The mental wellness program provides many helpful tools for managing stress and setting daily personal goals. These tools are as useful in life as they are in school, and I use them often to ensure I’m devoting my energy to the important things and to keep a bad moment from becoming a bad day.” - Riley Edwards (2021)

    “As an individual who already struggles with mental health issues, I learned new techniques to help organize my thoughts and emotions, analyze them, and then actively work to transform them from thoughts of negativity to thoughts of positivity and productivity.”- Austin Kelly (2021)

    “The mental wellness program really showed me how to take a break in my day and think about the way that I’m feeling. In this career path especially, it can get to be habit to just go go go, but now I have the tools to slow down, take stock, and mindfully continue with my day in a healthy and productive way. I live in the world completely differently now and am so grateful for those tools!” - Emily Edwards (2021)

    “The mental wellness program allowed me to fully understand how to face the challenges musical theatre takes on me emotionally and mentally. This program was so important to me because it taught me that taking care of yourself and your mind is vital to the success of your art and creative mind." – Michaela Lamas (2021)

  • During freshman year you'll receive instruction in vocal health and vocal anatomy, nutrition, yoga, workouts, and stretching.

    In addition, thanks to medical professional volunteers you'll receive a comprehensive physical and vocal evaluation l. 

    This includes:

    • postural exam
    • TMJ exam
    • hearing exam
    • comprehensive allergy testing
    • stroboscopy of vocal cords evaluated by a speech pathologist and ENT (ear, nose, throat specialist).

    Why is this important and valuable?

    1. A stroboscopy establishes a baseline, so should there be any vocal problems down the line during your training or in their career, the doctor can refer to this "before" video.

    2. Vocal cords are like fingerprints, unique to each individual. A doctor with has no previous reference point might misread a patient's strobe as a vocal "issue", when in fact that it is perfectly normal for that individual. Diagnosis of vocal issues can be a dangerous thing without a baseline reference. 

    3. It also gives us a way to make sure you are in good vocal health before we begin training. Any underlying issues like allergies, post-nasal drip, pre-nodules, or acid reflux, can be dealt with before imposing the demands of a professional musical theater performer.

  • For students interested in Choreography, Musical Direction, Composition and Writing. Texas State offers individualized tracks for musical theater majors, who in addition to their performance degree want to focus on other professional skills.

    These opportunities are in “addition to” your performance curriculum, not “instead” of.

    The Choreography Track allows students to be mentored by faculty choreographers and build skills necessary to work as an assistant or choreographer in the profession. The track is tailored to each individual, but can include:

    • Dance Captain for a production.
    • Assistant Choreographer for a production including choreographing at least one entire number.
    • Associate Choreographer for a production participating in every aspect of the choreography process including casting, pre-production work, design meetings, choreographing 1-2 numbers, and assisting in tech rehearsals.
    • Choreographer for an entire production

    Musical Theatre students can also participate in the Choreography Group and Showcase. In the Choreography Group, students have a chance to explore their creative voice by choreographing dance pieces using other students while receiving faculty mentorship. These entirely student-choreographed, student-danced numbers are then presented in an annual showcase.

     

    Student Testimonials: 

    “I have had an incredible experience being on the choreographer’s track. Through this track, I have been able to choreograph pieces for a choreographer’s club and I was lucky enough to have my piece go viral on Facebook last year. Next semester, I get to dance captain Ragtime and choreograph a number for the production. Texas State’s choreographer’s track has given me the best of both worlds because I am able to pursue both of my passions simultaneously." - Beau Harmon (sophomore)

    “I have always been interested in all aspects of musical theatre, rather than exclusively performing. As a lifelong dancer, choreography is a passion of mine, and I knew that Texas State would be the perfect place for me to hone that skill. Our vastly knowledgeable and experienced dance faculty have created numerous opportunities for me and my peers to flex our choreographic muscles. Between in-class exercises and our annual choreographer’s club, I have been challenged to create dances ranging in styles from boy band hip-hop to contemporary partnering. In my three years thus far, I have worked behind the scenes assisting with our musicals, dance captained both educationally and professionally, and have been asked to set musical staging for mainstage and studio plays here at Texas State. Kaitlin, Kiira, and Cassie have gone out of their way to create these opportunities for me, integrating them seamlessly into the rest of my curriculum. All these different perspectives of dance and choreography have allowed me to develop my skill set in a way unlike I could have anywhere else, and I’m so grateful to have all this experience in my back pocket for when I head into the industry.” -Jacob Burns (junior)

    “Something I always hear from industry professionals is to take the opportunities to get behind the table and experience the musical theater process from a different perspective. Texas State’s Musical Theater program allows for me to experience the process of a musical from the audition to opening night all behind the table and with experienced choreographers and directors. I’ve learned so much about choreographing and what goes into a musical besides what the performers put into it because of the opportunity to Assistant Choreograph a musical at Texas State University” -Logan-Rae (junior)

    “Texas State is unique in that it allows artists to explore their creative potential beyond the confines of performance. In my time at school, I was able to explore my passion for choreography. The “Choreography Track” is a special addition to the program and was designed to allow students the opportunity to develop their skills in both casual and professional settings. The choreography club gives students the chance to try out new work on dancers and explore their own movement styles in a safe and collaborative space. Additionally, the faculty provides students with the opportunity to assist choreographers on the main stage shows and even professional productions. This track was instrumental to my growth as an artist and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue creative leadership roles in the professional community.” –Ty Hunter Taylor (’17)

  • For students interested in Choreography, Musical Direction, Composition and Writing. Texas State offers individualized tracks for musical theater majors, who in addition to their performance degree want to focus on other professional skills.
    These opportunities are in “addition to” your performance curriculum, not “instead” of.

    Composer Track

    The Texas State University Musical Theater Program Composer track provides numerous opportunities for talented musicians and composer/songwriters. Composers enjoy the opportunity to work one-on-one with major industry composers visiting under the auspices of the Harrison/Bowman New Works Commission program. In addition, these young composers have the invaluable chance to hear their works performed by their peers in workshop settings and even full productions.

    Musical Direction Track

    Musicians in the program interested in music direction have the opportunity to work closely with the program’s Musical Direction Department, including mentorships with award-winning faculty music directors, the opportunity to act as Assistant Music Director on main stage productions, and even act as lead music directors for student-composed or directed productions.

    Student Testimonials: 

    "One of the reasons that I chose Texas State over other schools with similar Musical Theatre programs was because I knew that I would be able to pursue other artistic disciplines during my time here--for me, that meant pursuing Musical Theatre composition. In my time here, I've been met time and again with encouragement and guidance as I've presented my teachers with things that I've written, and I have been given opportunities to sing my work in class, see it performed by my colleagues, and even have it critiqued by industry professionals such as Andrew Lippa, Mark Hollman, and Kim Sherman.

    The most exciting opportunity that has come from my teachers' support happened recently: I was commissioned by the department to extend a young, one-act musical I'd been working on into a full-fledged production. I've been writing and working on developing the piece with my advisor Jim Price and my director, graduate student Tom DelBello, all while completing the full requirements of a Musical Theatre major. I can't think of anywhere else that I would be able to say yes to such unique opportunities!" -Daniel Z. Miller (junior)

     

    “As I auditioned for college theatre programs, I had a very specific requirement that I needed from my future college choice. I wanted a program that would be willing to give me opportunities to train as a Music Director without compromising my training as a performer. When I spoke about this idea with the faculty at Texas State, not only were they willing to individualize my training, but they were truly excited about it. They greatly valued that creative part of me. Over my four years in the Texas State Musical Theatre program, I was given a myriad of opportunities to grow as a Music Director IN ADDITION to all the training I received as an actor/singer/dancer/creator: I was part of the music direction team on 3 mainstage musicals; I was a composer/arranger for 5 mainstage plays that commissioned original music; I was a professional accompanist for auditions, masterclasses, vocal coachings, undergraduate courses, and rehearsals; I played in the pit for our mainstage production of Legally Blonde; AND, I was personally mentored by the MT faculty head of Music Theory and Music Direction, Greg Bolin. Through these incredible opportunities, I received, firsthand, years of experience working in a professional environment. By the time I graduated, I had a fully stocked resume with the experience to back it up. I improved immensely as a pianist, I learned techniques for leading rehearsals and techniques for following singers, I learned how to analyze a song within an inch of its life, and all these additional skills only amplified my prowess as a performer. Texas State truly excels at fostering what makes you unique as an artist. Every single member of the faculty went out of their way to provide additional training for me (everyone from the Dance faculty to the Vocal Coaches) simply because they recognized the value in this part of my creativity that I wanted to explore. It sounds like a fun time in college, but let me assure you, I gained benefits from this training that extended beyond artistic fulfillment. My professional life has flourished because of the opportunities I was given in school. Since beginning my education at Texas State, I have been hired professionally as a Music Director at two equity regional theaters, every summer, since my sophomore year of college. I have worked as a professional accompanist in New York City. I was also hired as the Music Director for the first National Tour of A Charlie Brown Christmas within two weeks of moving to New York. I had barely stepped off the plane, and I was already seeing the real-world benefits of the training Texas State provided me. This program revolutionized my life, my career, my confidence, and it gave me the skills I need to achieve all of my dreams. I couldn't recommend this school, this program, and/or this Music Director track more enthusiastically if I tried.” – Spencer Hansen (class of 2014)

  • Sophomore year the students create an original devised piece of theater. The purpose of the project is two-fold, to experience the creative process from the other side, as creators (as well as performers). They develop a theme that resonates with all of them; something they feel strongly about and want to explore through a creative process. They write, compose, choreograph, produce, collectively direct and present every aspect of their work. It also is about experiencing collaboration from a creative team perspective, which translates into their work in so many ways and most importantly, it is about a way of life we instill in our artists at Texas State, that they are the voices of theater of the future, and have the power and ability to be “creative artists” as well as interpreters.

    University should be a time to stretch and challenge and open new doors of possibility. The project is designed for students to stretch the creative muscle in a different way. The hope being they will live as artists in the world, regardless of if they are employed or not, they have the power to create the work and at the very least walk away with a strong point of view as an artist from having the courage to put their work out there in front of an audience with something so personal.

    Student Testimonials:

    “As a result of Sophomore Project, I wholeheartedly believe that my passion for songwriting, and writing in general, can come to fruition. Not only that, but I truly believe any passion I have (or may find) can come to fruition with the right balance of passion, patience, and drive. I honestly wish every artist could have a similar experience to Sophomore Project. It teaches you so much more than simple collaboration. It teaches you how to nurture a passion for something, how to plant the seed of art, and how to allow it to grow."

    “This was an incredibly vulnerable experience. It forced me to sit down and actually articulate my feelings and opinions and to confront myself and others and engage in meaningful conversation. I’m so grateful that we are given the platform to express ourselves and to create art in this program.”

    “Working together in the room, we found a rhythm where we were able to freely share ideas trusting that they would not only be received well but also built upon.”

    “It’s a totally different game to play as a performer when you have to wear the extra hat of a content creator.”

    “Project was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had as an artist. Not only did it force me to examine how I can be creative and what inspires me to create in the first place, but also it allowed me to make these discoveries surrounded by the 12 most supportive and imaginative humans that I have the privilege of calling my classmates. This is something I will hold dear to me for a very long time.”

    “I am so grateful for this process, for these people, and for this program. I don’t think any other group of people outside of this school get to experience something so unique. I vow to explore creativity in more areas of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more proud of anything or anyone that I did on the project and what we did in that room.”

    “I’ve never collaborated with people on new work before, not in a setting where we were all equals and could all contribute to the piece. Everything that we made was our own. We did not take anything from any pre-existing material. We all put our brains together to collaborate and make a moving and beautiful piece of art. I think that is why I hold it so close to my heart. When you create something from scratch it feels like your baby. I am so proud of what we all created together.”

    “I will cherish sophomore project knowing how much it taught me about myself and how much it helped me to grow. “

    “For me, Sophomore Project was an incredibly important, transformative experience. In reflection, I am so very thankful that Texas State MT’s are required to do this. The most important thing I heard from the audience after the presentation was from one of the seniors. She told us that, as they are about to transition into the real world, it is easy to get caught up in all the technicalities: auditions, rep building, networking, showcase, etc. But through broken tears, she reminded both herself and everyone else that this represents “why” we do what we do. We create freely because we can."

  • For students interested in Choreography, Musical Direction, Composition and Writing. Texas State offers individualized tracks for musical theater majors, who in addition to their performance degree want to focus on other professional skills.

    These opportunities are in “addition to” your performance curriculum, not “instead” of.

    Texas State playwrights won more awards than any other college or university in the country in 2017 at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Although there is not a “writing track “within the Musical Theatre degree plan, there are a number of writing classes that are available for MT students to take, and many do. Playwriting is the most popular class outside of the required curriculum, and there are multiple sections offered at multiple times each semester. There are also classes offered in screenwriting, television writing, drama adaptation, and web series creation. Past musical theatre writers have been published internationally, produced in New York, as well as being recognized by KCACTF as playwriting national and regional finalists.

    Student Testimonials:

    “Jim Price teaches acting class, but he is also the head of playwriting. His advice for my senior thesis performance was invaluable and taught me how to write for theatre. My piece was very personal to me, but his playwriting mentorship took my piece to the next level! My play went from an idea I had to a piece of art. It ended up becoming a more dramatic, powerful, stand-alone piece of theatre. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I had at Texas State to explore my craft as a writer as well as a performer.” -Thomas Miller (2016)

    “When I graduated from Texas State’s musical theater program I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’d taken two playwriting classes with Jim Price and even though I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a playwright necessarily, there was no doubt that I had the best teacher I could’ve had. I was writing often, without direction, with a heap of ill-defined hopes and dreams. My classes with Jim alongside various writing opportunities I was given at Texas State gave this passion a direction and those dreams a form. Instilling good habits, cultivating a refined but distinct taste, introducing you to the right people—Texas State, and the professors therein, did it all. Since graduating, I’ve been lucky enough to publish over fifty pieces. But it wasn’t just luck, and the credit isn’t all mine. The tools I’ve used most often to get where I am now I got from my time in the musical theater program at Texas State University.”- Dakota Smith (2014)

    “Being a musical theatre major at Texas State has allowed me to explore many aspects of theatre that I am interested in. I registered for a playwriting class during my sophomore year out of curiosity. I had no idea that just a year later I would not only be a skilled writer, but also be able to call myself an award-winning playwright. A play I wrote in class was selected to compete in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s 10 Minute play competition, going on to become a national semifinalist. Since then, thanks to Jim and Texas State, playwriting has become not only a passion of mine but a valuable skill that I intend on continuing to hone in my professional career. “ - Jacob Burns (2019)

    “I was extremely fortunate to receive support and guidance from the writing program at Texas State. It is a safe and productive environment for aspiring writers to develop and experiment with their own unique voice, as well as have the opportunity to have their work constructively criticized and workshopped. If you are willing to put the work in, the program will meet and support you.” - Cambria Denim (2018)

  • Texas State’s philosophy is to create a culture of family that will translate into a lifelong support system in the real world. We ask our students to compete to be their best selves, not to compete with each other, and to participate in and take responsibility for nurturing and fostering a healthy, safe, and challenging working/learning environment. We are an ensemble of artists, faculty, and students together, challenging ourselves, and each other with every class, rehearsal and the creative process we undertake to take risks, push past what is comfortable, and to aspire to greatness, living deliberately in everything we do.

    We think our students express that culture best.

    Student Testimonials:

    “Like many young artists, I came into college filled with multi-layered walls that past insecurities built. With every day spent at Texas State, a piece of that wall would slowly come down. In a world where perfection is “expected,” Texas State provides an environment that encourages failing forward and grow. It is a place that fosters an artist’s idiosyncratic fire and celebrates them, transforming the artist into a fully realized performer and human. Kaitlin Hopkins serves as a fountain of knowledge that not only pushes the limits of a student’s creativity and artistry, but inspires them to dig deep within themselves to establish a point of view and live deliberately in this world. The familial and assiduous environment set by the faculty and students is a testament to the core values that promulgates every facet of this program. There is a lot of love that courses through the veins of these Bobcats, and it beats to the rhythm of its own drum.” -Jorrel Javier (2018)

    “How lucky am I to be in such an amazing and supportive environment? Sure, there are other amazing programs out there but I truly believe that the sense of community we have here is something special that other places do not have. Everyone is full of love and support and wants everyone here to succeed. What we have here at Texas State is so beautiful.” -Rachel Webb (2020)

    “As a student who went through the college audition process, I have to say that my interaction and audition experience with Texas State University’s musical theatre program was the BEST experience I had. As an incoming freshman, I already felt welcomed (long before my first day of class) by current students, faculty, and alumni. The guidance that was given to me before I started my freshman year was second to none compared to what my other friends experienced with other programs!” –Madeliene Bourgeois (2022)

    “Bobcats are family. Texas State’s commitment to inclusivity and hospitality are second-to-none. Every Bobcat carries a sense of pride in their school and a deep-seated desire to bring out the best in others. This manifests in a warm, welcoming environment that allows people to be propelled far out of their comfort zone, with the assurance of loving friends and faculty right beside them.” -Thomas McFerrin (2022)