Full disclosure: college audition coaching costs money. With the increasing costs of applications, pre-screen fees, auditions fees and more – I fully understand and sympathize with the outrageous costs of simply getting into college, much less paying for it.
On my end, I want to tell you that all of the coaches at MCA are working, professional actors and college audition coaching provides supplemental income for them so they can go out there and focus on being the brave, talented artists they are in their auditions, shows, etc. You (and your parents) hard earned money helps support people who are doing exactly what you hope to do after college. We appreciate you and appreciate you valuing our time.
With that, I want to make sure you are getting the absolute most out of every second you work with MCA or any other private coach so you take full advantage of the time you have paid for. I always want students to walk away from lessons feeling inspired, excited, prepared and most of all, proud.
Over the course of ten years of being a college audition coach, there is an undeniable recipe for success when getting prepped. Below are some of my top tips for making the most of your lessons:
There are no stupid questions in this wildly confusing, daunting process! Nothing makes me happier (I’m being serious!) than at the start of a lesson when a student or parent pulls out their notepad and asks if it is okay to ask me a few questions before the lesson really begins. This is incredible for two reasons:
1. You recognize that sending lots of questions over email is time consuming and less efficient than speaking face to face.
2. You are putting yourself in the driver’s seat! You are utilizing your time with a professional and getting exactly what you want out of a lesson.
Quick tip: carry a little notepad with you at all times or download a great note app on your phone. If a question pops in your head outside a lesson (even if you may think it is silly!) write it down. Keep a list going so you don't forget to ask anything important during your lesson time.
Wondering what goals you can set for yourself in between lessons? Ask your coach! Take advantage of the end of each lesson so you are able to fully capitlize on the next one. Besides some of the obvious goals (like getting off-book) ask your coach if there is anything they would love to see you accomplish before they see you next.
Also, don’t forget to write down any notes given to you by your coach during your lesson! Or maybe recording lessons is a better solution for you? Either option, you'll be thankful to have them when practicing at home.
Plan ahead, y’all.
While we do our best to accommodate last minute lesson requests, this just isn’t always possible. If you find yourself continuously sending emails or texts that begin with: “Is there any possible way you could…” or “Do you have any other time on…” to your coaches, chances are you are waiting to the last minute to book/accomplish something. Remember that as an actor you are your own business. Operate that business in a professional manner and treat those that support and help keep your business running smoothly with respect.
Quick tip: sit down with a calendar with your parents and set concrete “deadlines” for when certain milestones in the college audition process will be accomplished, i.e. pre-screens filmed, auditions scheduled, hotels booked, etc. Once those deadlines are set, take stock in what prep needs to be done to meet each deadline. Then, lock it in! Book your lessons in advance and set up a coaching schedule that allows you to meet your own expectations. I promise you will breathe easier and enter each lesson calmer.
Please, don’t ever hesitate to speak up during a lesson! I can only help you feel less anxious about something if I know what is troubling you. If a song feels strange in one part, let’s talk about it. Terrified of tackling your Shakespeare so you are avoiding it like the plague? Let’s find some tools to make it less intimidating. I am here to teach you, but I need to know what the subject is.
Also, if you are needing some guidance or are feeling worried about something having to do with your process, we want to hear these verbalized by you, not your parents. Self-Advocacy is an important skill to have as you enter college and especially imperative in this specific career.
There’s nothing like entering a lesson with a student who is joyful, excited and ready to hit the ground running! Before entering a lesson, I encourage you to do the following things:
1. Warm up!
2. Take some deep breaths. Relax your body and your brain.
3. Through this breathing, do your best to leave your day (or upcoming day) outside the lesson and force yourself to be present. Don’t let outside stresses invade your productivity.
4. Say something complimentary to yourself about something you are working on in your lessons. Were you so thrilled with your last voice lesson and how nicely one of your songs is coming along? Remind yourself of that feeling.
5. Enter your lesson exuding positivity. Even if it feels (or is) manufactured, you will set the tone for a productive, inspired, happy lesson.
Thank you for letting us be a part of the journey!
Founder/Lead Consultant of My College Audition
Chelsea is a graduate from Emerson College's Acting program and is the
Founder of My College Audition.
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