To pursue a career as a singer, songwriter, actor or dancer you don't need to have been born a prodigy with unparalleled natural talent. Many colleges and universities across the United States offer classes and degrees in vocal performance, musical composition, acting and dance for hardworking students dedicated to mastering their crafts. You can find these courses at every collegiate level, from community colleges to specialized performance arts schools.
Arts schools offer the most in-depth experiences when studying acting, singing, songwriting and dance, with the most celebrated histories in these fields. The University of the Arts boasts a 130-year history, combining the Philadelphia College of Art and the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. The Juilliard School was founded in 1905 as a music school, but has since grown to include schools of drama and dance, and offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Arts schools are extremely selective, requiring applicants to undergo an audition and pre-screening process.
Many large state universities offer both undergraduate and graduate acting, singing, dancing and songwritng programs within their music or theatre departments. Ohio State University, for example, offers separate undergraduate majors in Music Composition, Voice and Dance, and their acting program is offered as a Theatre major. At Penn State University, composition, voice and dance programs are offered in the Music and Musical Theatre majors, while acting courses are offered in the Theatre and Musical Theatre majors.
Private colleges, especially liberal arts schools, are often smaller than state universities, but still offer rich programs in voice, composition, dance and acting. Grinnell College in Iowa offers acting and dance courses through their Theatre and Dance major, while their composition and vocal performance courses are offered through their Music major. Students can participate in 15 separate performance ensembles to broaden their musical experiences. Theatre students at Williams College in Massachusetts can study both Western and global theatre traditions.
Community colleges offer associate degrees or letters of recognition, or can provide a place to start out before transferring to a four-year program. Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland offers Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees in Dance Performance and Theatre, while offering Letters of Recognition for its programs in Music Technology or composition and Musical Performance. Mesa Community College maintains partnerships with nearby Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, so students can transfer seamlessly after completing a program in Music Performance, Music Humanities and Theory, Dance or Theatre Arts.
- University of the Arts: Philadelphia
- Juilliard School: Dance Drama Music
- Ohio State University: Undergraduate Majors
- Pennsylvania State University: Musical Theatre
- Williams College: Areas of Study
- Grinnell College: Academics
- Howard Community College: Arts and Humanities -- Areas of Study
- Mesa Community College: University Partnerships
- Mesa Community College: Programs by Name
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