Choices, Choices (Summer Program Edition)
Choosing which college you’re going to is definitely on the list of “terribly stressful decisions,” and choosing a summer program is only a bit farther down on that list. Summer is a great time to make a lot of good progress in your singing without having to worry about classes or assignments. The only problem is figuring out where to start (and funding!). Here are a few things I consider when choosing a summer program:
I really appreciate summer programs that take place somewhere relevant to the music I’m studying. If I’m going to study bel canto opera, it would be great if the program was in Italy. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’d turn down a great program just because of its location. I actually haven’t been to Europe yet; my summer program this year will be my first time out of the country!
2. Word of mouth
For me, this is the best way to tell whether a program is quality. A program can say lots of good things on their website, but I get a lot of extra info from students who have attended or faculty who have taught at certain programs. Sometimes a program sounds good, but they may be extremely disorganized or not as intense as I would want a program to be.
Some programs are strictly training programs and don’t put on scenes or full productions, whereas others have a summer season which usually consists of a few shows. When looking at those kinds of programs, I try to choose ones that would have a role for me. I also like programs that incorporate a musical theatre production into their season because I love MT and I don’t have many chances to do it.
Unfortunately, the decision often comes down to cost. I prioritize programs that offer scholarship or programs that have lower tuition costs. Since college is already expensive, I don’t like adding the extra cost of a summer program on top of that. If there’s a program I really want to attend, I’ll see if the program offers scholarship or if I can receive a scholarship/grant from another source. Juilliard offers a grant for Vocal Arts/Collaborative Piano students to travel abroad for foreign language study, which includes summer programs!
Those are the top 4 things I generally consider when choosing a summer program. There are a lot more aspects that go into the decision process, but I hope these tips will help you in deciding your summer plans!