Performing Arts at Community Colleges: Best Music and Theater Programs
The Benefits of Music in Higher Education
Music is a beneficial component to add to the higher education experience, whether it is a major course of study or something to enjoy on the side. According to Tarpley Music, some of the benefits of music in education at any level include:
- Social Benefits – Studies show that students who participate in some sort of music program while in school have a lower incidence of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.
- Scholastic Benefits – Music students also tend to score higher on standardized examinations, whether in primary, secondary or post-secondary schools. They also earn more “A’s” and “B’s” in their coursework than students who are not in music.
- Behavioral Benefits – Research from the National Data Resource Center shows that students in music programs are less likely to be classified as “disruptive” in school
- Intellectual Benefits – One study suggested that music training is superior to computer training in enhancing abstract reasoning skills used in math and science courses.
- Quality of Life Benefits – Music introduces students to the world around them in unique and creative ways.
- Academic Performance – Students who participate in theatre have been shown to earn higher marks in school than those who do not.
- Public Speaking Skills – Public speaking is an important component to many successful careers today, and theatre classes and performances effectively enhance public speaking skills
- Self-Confidence – Students who spend time on stage develop self confidence that will take them far in any career field they choose.
- Teamwork – as a member of an ensemble, those who participate in theatre show they can work well with others on a team.
- Ability to Take Constructive Criticism – Through work in a production, students learn to take direction and accept feedback on their performance.
- Alternative views of society and cultures
- Greater communication skills with groups and individuals
- Exploration of creativity
- Increased awareness of self-image and communication styles
- Increased appreciation of the performing arts overall
What are the credentials of the faculty?
Whether you are interested in studying film, theatre or music, it is important to learn from instructors who have worked in the field and hold significant credentials. Some may continue to work in their area of specialty part-time while they are teaching. Some may have connections in the professional world and can help students gain practical experience in the industry.
Where do students go after they graduate from your program?
Did they find work in their chosen field, or were they able to transfer easily into a four-year program? Ask about graduates that are working in music or theatre now to determine whether the program is able to churn out performance-ready graduates.
What is the ratio of students to instructors?
Time for individual instruction is essential for those who want to be successful in the performing arts. The advantage to a community college is that classes are often smaller, allowing for more interaction between the instructors and students.
Can I participate even if I my major is not in performing arts?
For those who simply want to enjoy participation in the occasional concert or production, this question is essential to the quality of their college experience.
By researching programs carefully before choosing a school, you can rest assured the community college you select will provide you with the performing arts background you seek.
Top Theatre Programs at Community Colleges
Glendale Community College
Those who want to learn about the theatre industry in close proximity to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, Glendale Community College is the place to be. This school offers connections to both the local theatre and film communities, and many of the Glendale students work within their chosen industry even while they are still in school. The theatre department also boasts close relationships with both the music and dance departments, and the three come together at least once a year to create a full-scale musical production, according to the college website.
Kansas City Kansas Community College
The theatre department at Kansas City Kansas Community College has recently been revamped to provide students with a more professional environment that prepares them for life beyond school. Class sizes are small, so students enjoy personal attention from a faculty that includes some of the best professional actors, designers and technicians in the Kansas City area. According to the school’s website, the theatre department “encourages students to seek out and develop interdisciplinary pursuits among the visual and performing arts areas.”
State Fair Community College
A brand new venue and rave reviews from area educators highlight the website for Missouri’s State Fair Community College. Michael Beam, a theatre director for a nearby high school, states, “With one of the finest theatres in the state, an incredible acting director/teacher, and a technical designer/designer that can’t be beat, SFCC has put together an unbeatable theatre program. If a student of mine wants a smaller theatre program where they are sure to be cast often and well, I always recommend SFCC. I’ve been teaching theatre for nearly 30 years, and for the cost, this is, hands down, the best theatre program in Missouri.”
Top Music Programs at Community Colleges
Music program also abound at community colleges nationwide. Many have state-of-the-art recording facilities, as well as opportunities for live performances with a variety of ensembles. Students can find degree programs that prepare them for a professional career or transfer to a four-year program. Others simply find a place where they can nurture their musical abilities while studying other subjects. Check out some of the most popular music programs at community colleges today.
Arizona residents interested in pursuing music for fun or profit will find a high quality program at Mesa Community College. According to the school’s website, the MCC music department “provides an environment that is innovative, responsive, adaptable and inclusive.” The school offer preparation for a wide range of music careers, including:
- Private instruction
The music department provides opportunities in vocal and instrumental music, as well as musical theatre. Students may participate in ensembles and productions whether they are a music major or choosing an entirely different course of study.
Mt. Hood Community College
In addition to Lane Community College, Oregon residents can also choose Mt. Hood Community College for their musical training. According to Mt. Hood’s website, the school has been “developing world class musicians for over four decades.” Some of the graduates of Mt. Hood’s music program have gone on to play with world-class musicians like Woody Herman, Mel Torme, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., Liza Minelli and Wynton Marsalis. Others have played in Las Vegas showrooms, symphonies and orchestras nationwide and cruise ships. The school offers a degree program and ensembles in both instrumental and vocal music.
McLennan Community College
Students living in the Southwest can also find a quality music program at McLennan Community College in Texas. This school states on its website that it has been training first-class musicians for more than 40 years, and it offers a wide range of training options, including commercial music for those interested in getting in on the business end of the industry. Students at the school have the opportunity to perform in large ensembles for the McLennan community and study privately with music professionals associated with the school. Former students of McLennan teach and perform throughout the country.
The performing arts are a wonderful way to enhance the college experience, whether they are embraced as a major field of study or enjoyed on the side as an extracurricular activity during the college years. Fortunately, high quality music and theatre programs are not restricted to four-year institutions today. Community colleges across the country are offering high quality degree programs in theatre and music that prepare students for professional careers or transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. If you dream of life in front of an audience, or working behind the scenes, check out what your local community college has to offer.