Choosing College

If you are majoring in music or musical theater, there are several things you need to consider:

  1. Who are the teachers with whom I’ll be working?
  2. What are the on-campus performance opportunities available to undergrads?
  3. What off-campus performance opportunities are available and allowed for undergrad participation? (This might not be a factor for you.)
  4. Will I be in major debt when I get out of school that I won’t be able to pay off within 10 years of graduation?

A consideration should not be “is this school famous?” It should be, “is this school good?”

Going to a school for its name alone is not a good idea.

Yes, I went to Peabody, which is famous. But it was also good for me. I went to Peabody because the teacher I was already working with had joined the faculty, and I wanted to continue working with her, and her time for private students was limited. Plus I needed to make a move for personal reasons. I was able to perform both on- and off-campus.

  • Was I in major debt? YES, but not as much as if I’d gone there 10 years later.
  • Was I able to pay it off within 10 years of graduation? Not quite. It took a little longer because of health/employment issues, resulting in my getting a forbearance. I was fortunate that the forbearance wasn’t too lengthy – I know people who have put their loans from the early 90s into forbearance and are still paying them off, with their balances considerably higher than what they took out in the first place.

Pick a school that will nurture your talent and fulfill your soul. And if you need a gap year to prepare yourself for it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Check out Seth Godin’s post about good colleges vs. famous ones – especially if you have a little time before you have to apply.

And by the way, this advice isn’t limited to just the arts.

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Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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