Classes I wish I took in College as a Performing Arts major
It’s hard to imagine how you could possibly manage to squeeze any more classes into your otherwise already crammed BFA/BA schedule. However, if you are able to find the time or are considering a minor, there are a multitude of classes being offered at your college that could directly benefit your career (maybe without you even knowing it!) These courses will most likely not be written into your schedule, so I encourage you to investigate your options and set your own unique course!
For starters, if I could go back in time I would most definitely take a Web Design/Graphic Design class. If you haven’t already figured it out – our world is totally digital! Knowing how to write your own HTML, design a business card or create beautiful graphics for a website are extremely valuable skills. Working for a theatre company that needs a website re-haul? Being able to offer a hand could mean more cash in your pocket to see that Off-Broadway show you’ve been dying to buy tickets for. If you are heading to the University of Cincinnati try to get a seat in one of their Design, Art, Architecture and Planning classes.
Oh how I wish I took an Accounting class! Let’s face it: life as a performer is a series of random W2s and 1099s. Also, there are specific performing-related expenses you are allowed to write off each year that you may not be aware of. Did you pay a Union fee or initiation fee this year? You can write that off. How about the rehearsal space you rented to warm up before an audition? Sure, that can be written off too. You are, after all, your own business so learning how to keep track and manage your expenses is an extremely valuable skill that will ultimately save you a lot of money in the long run.
My biggest regret? Not pushing myself outside my comfort zone. For me, it was not taking classes that focused on Dialects. If you are an actor, chances are you are going to be asked to use a dialect for a good majority of your auditions/callbacks. If you don’t know how to do a proper British accent, you’ll be cutting your potential roles in half. Not efficient in a Southern accent? There is somebody else who probably is that’s up for the part. Don’t narrow your roles by being ill equipped! Take a dialect course at Elon and make yourself available for any role that comes your way. As a Dancer, Musician, Visual Artist – the idea of “acting” or speaking in front of large crowd might be terrifying. Students may feel totally comfortable showcasing their newest painting or strumming a new song – but actually talking about their art is a different story! If the idea of having all eyes on you is not a thrilling one, I suggest jumping into a basic Acting Class in college. Many basic acting classes for non-majors incorporate improvisation, memorization and valuable techniques for getting comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.
Make the most of your time in school and schedule each semester appropriately. Think towards the future and don’t miss out on the classes I did!