A Day in the Life of a Musical Theater BFA Student

Think the glee life might be for you? 

Micah Patt is a quadruple-threat (for her incredible talents in the spheres of singing, dancing, acting, and eating  peanut butter).  She is currently a  freshman Musical Theater BFA student at Western Carolina University located in Cullowhee, North Carolina where she especially enjoys spending time with friends, watching Rupaul’s drag race from the comfort of her dorm, and being surrounded by mountains- here is a Day in her Life!

7:30 am- I wake up and get some Starbucks. I was told that I would start drinking coffee in college but I never really believed them until I got here. Whoops… Then I head to my Sociology class (it’s my only general education course this semester, except for my Honors Forum, which is like a first year seminar)

9:00 am- Sociology starts! It’s actually pretty interesting, and I can see how it relates to a lot of things going on in my major which is useful. It’s kind of a culture shock for me, because almost every person in that class is from the south. I’m learning a lot about the cultural differences between the north and south, it’s weird to be surrounded by people who are so different from me, but I’m adjusting.

10:00 am- Time to head to CAPS, which is the on-campus counseling service. From day one, all of the Musical Theater majors were encouraged to set up appointments, because our schedules can be very strenuous and it’s good to have someone outside the program to rant to. I go in once a week and just vent for 30 minutes, which helps me manage stress and figure out my life haha.

11:00 am- I walk across campus to my Acting class with the other freshman MT majors. It’s early, so the mountains surrounding campus are still covered by clouds. Before class starts, we all sing show tunes and hang out (it’s exactly like you’d imagine theater kids to be) Right now we’re working on our mid term scenes. We play some warm up games and then do semi-cold reads for the class. My acting professor is married to my tap professor, and they’re both super awesome.

12:00 pm– I eat a quick lunch in the dining hall with the other frosh MTs, and then head to Breese Gym to meet my dance tutor, a senior named Marthaluz. She is such a gem, and I love getting to work with her. She teaches me some more advanced tap combos, which is great because it’s extra practice and it’s a built in workout, I love being efficient haha. Dance tutoring is free, but the tutors get paid by the university, so I pretty much get private dance lessons with no charge. I also meet with a super talented sophomore named Alexa on Thursdays.

2:30 pm– I run from dance tutoring to chorus, where we’re singing this song “Don’t Call me Refugee”. A lot of the people in University chorus aren’t music/musical theater majors, so I feel pretty comfortable singing loudly/confidently. My friends and I exchange glances and laughter across the soprano/alto divide, because “Don’t Call me Refugee” is a very strange song (or at least it sounds like it when we rehearse).

4:00 pm- Time for Music Theory!! Every day when I go into that class I am so thankful for the music theory I took in high school. It’s probably my easiest class, just because I’ve taken a lot of it before, but it’s still fun because our professor is hilarious, and the piano aspect is still a challenge for me.

5:00 pm- After Music Theory I go straight to a practice room, and start my log. I have to practice for at least 30 minutes every day (usually it’s more like an hour), and record everything to show to my voice teacher, Miss D, during our weekly lessons. I do the warmups she assigned, and then move on to work on my repertoire. Currently I’m working on an Italian art song and a contemporary musical theater one. I go through the art song on a lip trill, and learn a new page of notes and rhythms by plunking them out on the piano. Then I run through my lines for acting a few times, and practice my piano for music theory.

6:00 pm- Now I go to Improv troupe rehearsal, and play some theater games for an hour. Even though it’s still within the realm of my major, it’s my escape from the pressure of my classes because improv is straight up fun, and lets me not worry about learning lines or music.

7:00 pm- I meet my friend Rachel at the dining hall and we catch up. She’s starring in a student directed play and has to get to rehearsal, so we keep it brief. We’re all insanely busy, but it’s busy with the thing we love, so it’s all worth it.

8:00 pm- Finally, back in my room. I run through my lines again, take a shower, and watch some Rupaul’s Drag Race to unwind.

10:30 pm- I KNOW I’m super lame but I legit go to bed really early because I’m so exhausted after a long day of rehearsal and class and practicing! Tomorrow is a new day, the grind never stops haha!

Not enough Musical Theater?  Keep reading…

Extracurriculars: In a lot of ways, my major is my extracurricular, because I do it all day every day. I’m required to be involved in a production every semester, either onstage, or, if I’m not cast, working somewhere on the crew. This semester I was cast in this sci-fi radio play that shows on Halloween. I feel very lucky to have been cast as a freshman, and I can’t wait to get started with rehearsals this week! I’m also in the improv troupe, which meets every Thursday. Most of my extracurriculars have to do with my major, which is perfectly fine by me.

Favorite thing about being in a MT BFA? I get to do what I love and focus all of my time on it. In high school, I had to worry about my academic classes and couldn’t always prioritize theatre/music, but now all of my work has something to do with my major, which I know isn’t for everyone, but I love knowing that everything I do is tangibly improving my ability, it’s very satisfying.
Favorite thing about WCU? It’s so pretty, everyday when I walk outside it just makes my day. The mountains are great. It’s a change of scenery, but that’s why I came here. I also love my professors, they genuinely seem to enjoy what they’re doing, which makes classes super fun.

Least favorite thing? There’s a lot of southern pride, especially in the mountains, and I don’t feel like I really fit into that community because I’m a Jew from the suburbs of New Jersey. That is definitely my biggest adjustment, because I don’t yet understand the cultural norms down here.
If your program was a television show it would be: Parks and Rec .

Any parting advice? I was really not excited to leave home and go to college. My high school is my home, I’d lived there my whole life, so I did not want to start over in a new place. Orientation was also rough, because I hadn’t met anyone in my program and was very nervous. I would just say that it’ll be okay and you’ll find your people!!

 

That’s all for this time folks, thanks for reading!

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