Earning a degree in performing arts is not an easy task, nor is finding a job after graduating in certain fields. Those who choose to study performing arts have often been participating in their interest since they were very young, and have grown up practicing their art daily. Performing arts degrees allow students to major in performing arts such as dance, music, music education, acting, and design/technology.
Those who choose to work in this industry usually possess the following qualities: outgoing, hard working, detail oriented, ambitious, and passionate. Performers understand the need to have a great stage presence, work very hard to be perfect in their routine, and try to earn the lead role. Even performing art majors who do not choose to dance or perform for a living understand how cutthroat the entertainment business can be. Most individuals are looking to rise to the top of their field/performance status, not stay in a lower position. Employers find these characteristics very appealing because it means these employees will typically work hard, complete detailed tasks quickly, and strive to receive promotions and take on more responsibility.
By majoring in dance, participants are preparing themselves to learn various types of dance, and how to carry out dances while developing performance skills. Students will study dance techniques such as modern, classical, and ballet, among others. In order to be accepted into one of these programs, students will need to audition for faculty. Audition pieces usually require applicants to perform a ballet or contemporary routine.
Students who are interested in becoming an actor will study courses that will prepare them for careers in the theatre and other related areas. Individuals in this major need to be extremely outgoing, dramatic, well-spoken, and creative to become successful in this position. Students will learn about fundamental vocal and physical skills, perform in chamber theatre, cabaret, and community performances, and hone their skills in both solo and group work.
Individuals may also simply earn a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts. This will give them a general understanding of the many skills involved in music, drama, and dance. Sample courses may include musical theatre, dance technique, dramatic literature, music performance, theatre history, and dance and culture. Those who earn this degree can work in positions such as dance performance and choreography, film and theatre direction, talent management, and the entertainment industry business, to name a few.
Some students choose to minor in performing arts and major in business or English. This will give them a fundamental background in a subject area of interest, while establishing skills more suited to a non-performance career. For example, individuals who wish to write screenplays would more likely major in English, and take courses that would show how to create screenplays and how the writing would translate to the stage.
Some of the top performing arts schools include American Conservatory Theater, The Actors Studio at Pace University, Carnegie Mellon, Calarts, and DePaul. These schools have supplied the entertainment industry with some of the best performers of the past and present. Students have to work very hard to be accepted to a top school, and continue laboring to perfect their art, and earn their performing arts degree if they are accepted. Students should research schools very carefully when applying, as location, course offerings, and internships or partnerships decide how much weight earning a degree will carry.