“City of Stars, are you shining just for me?” - La La Land
From Broadway to the West End, musicals are hugely popular. The combination of singing, dancing, and acting on stage offers something you can’t get from those art forms in isolation. Grease, West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain, etc. Of course, not everywhere in the world is lucky enough to have a Broadway or a West End.
So where can you learn about musicals? How can you get classes?
Organisations and Associations Offering Lessons about Musicals
It’s becoming increasingly common for dance, singing, and acting to be offered together for those interested in musicals. In the past, artists would have to learn the skills in isolation and bring them together on stage. Nowadays, it’s likely that there’s a school or theatre that offers lessons covering the skills to perform in musical theatre.
Do you dream of performing in musicals like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Wizard of Oz, or Grease?
Don’t hesitate to search for musical theatre companies in your local area on the internet as there’s not a huge difference between certain schools and companies and there’s often a lot of overlap as some schools will put on shows and some companies will offer training and lessons.
In some cases, you’ll find clubs and associations that cost less than schools so it really depends on your objectives. If you need formal training or a given qualification, then schools are probably the better option. Pick what works best for you.
If you're interested in singing, dance, or performing for fun, you may want to consider groups with no entry requirements. There's no reason that you can't learn from one another and it can ensure that you're always performing because you enjoy it.
Drama Schools Specialising in Musicals
There are plenty of drama schools that specialise in musical theatre nowadays. There are also plenty of dance schools offering classes for musicals allowing dancers to improve their vocal skills while also learning routines and techniques.
In some cases, the courses will last several years. You can learn ballet, jazz, tap and also theatre, circus skills, acting, and singing.
In many cases, very specialised courses will be quite costly. You can end up paying from hundreds to thousands a year. There are also evening and weekend courses and classes and these are usually cheaper. It’s quite a significant investment. In the case of a university course, you could be paying for several years.
In some cases, schools will require students to auditions as competition for places is fierce. Students applying to a particular course may need professional experience or proof of their skills in singing, dance, or performing. If they meet the requirements, the school may then offer them the opportunity to audition. From there, they may be welcomed along with other paying students.
Studying Musical Theatre in Conservatoires and Universities
You can always head to university or a conservatoire to study musical theatre as a degree. Usually, students who've shown an interest in musicals and musical theatre throughout school may be encouraged to get a BA in the subject at university, especially if they're very gifted.
There's a good number of universities in the UK offering musical theatre degree courses and most will be either offered by the performing arts school or the school of arts and social sciences, depending on the university.
The university courses tend to be more academic and look at the theory behind the performing arts and musical theatre whereas conservatoires will focus on the practical side of theatre. Of course, this is just a generalisation and it's important that you do your research into each degree course before you apply.
Private Tutorials for Musicals
Another way to learn about musical theatre is through a private tutor. Students can learn a lot from private tutors as the course and every class will be tailored to them and what they want to learn.
Private performing arts tutors can be very useful for driven actors, singers, or dancers looking to land a given role. In some cases, there may be certain skills that you need to work on for an audition or performance and in an industry with strict requirements for certain roles, you mightn't always get a second chance.
In private performing art tutorials, you can be sure that your time is being used effectively to work on a given skill and improve your level as every minute of the session is spent focusing on you.
You can also attend group workshops but if there’s something specific you want to work on, it’s better to have a private lesson. We’re not going to lie, it’s tricky to be an exceptional dancer, singer, and actor all at the same time. You’ll definitely have to work at it.
In some cases, you might find the songs easier to sing than the dance routines. If you’re more of a dancer, you may need to work on your voice or acting, for example.
It’s important that you learn how to work with others as you’ll rarely be alone on stage. However, when improving your skills, it can be useful to work alone with the tutor.
On Superprof, you can search for private tutors to help you:
- Pass an audition.
- Improve your stage presence.
- Improve your diction.
- Work on your speech.
- Learn dance routines.
- Improve your range.
- Improve your rhythm.
Just search for “Musical theatre” and you’ll quickly find tonnes of tutors who are ready to help you. In London, the average tutor charges £30 an hour but this will vary depending on what you’re after and the tutor you choose.
You can get face-to-face lessons or online lessons if there aren’t any local tutors available. Whether you choose group or individual classes, you’ll be able to improve as an artist. You just have to master the full complement of skills of the modern musical theatre artist!
On Superprof, you can find tutors offering face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with advantages and disadvantages in terms of learning approach and cost so you'll need to think carefully and choose the right tutor and tutorial for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive per hour but they come with the benefit of being between a single student and their tutor. This also means that the tutor can tailor the lessons to the student and adapt their teaching approach to suit them. This extra work comes at a cost but it's worth it as these are usually the most effective types of tutorials available.
While online tutorials are usually better suited to academic subjects, you can still find a range of gifted and talented musical theatre tutors from over the world. The fact that they don't have to travel to you gives them more time to schedule tutorials and fewer travel expenses allowing them to charge less per hour than they would for face-to-face tutorials.
For those on a tight budget, group tutorials are an interesting option. As several students share the cost, these are usually the cheapest type of private tutorial you can get. For subjects like musical theatre, there are advantages to working in groups as you'll often have to perform with others and when it comes to singing in an ensemble, it helps to have people to harmonise with!
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first session for free. Before you start booking tonnes of sessions with a tutor, see if they offer a free session and if they're available when you are. It's also important that you ask them about their professional experience, teaching styles, and the level they prefer to teach.
Students tend to learn better when the class is adapted to them so the more information you give your tutor about what you want to learn and what you want to work on, the more you can get out of your private tutorials.