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About Graduate Studies in Music Theatre

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Noreen Gunnell•updated: 12/31/2010

Here is a look at several schools and departments offering graduate studies in musical theater.

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    Hitting the Stage

    Music theater is one of the most niche of all the creative and performing arts in that it is based around one type of play: the musical. This format has a rich tradition on the American stage and is a place that requires more skill and knowledge than almost any other, which is why it may be appropriate for graduate study for only a select few. Graduate studies in music theater are not something that a huge number of students should jump to, but instead just those who are committed to this craft and intend on making it the foundation of their career. There are a couple of ways that people could pursue their graduate studies in musical theater: as an actor or as a person behind the production of these plays. There are actually graduate programs that will handle both types of focuses.

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    New York University

    New York University has one of the best reputations out of schools dealing with theater courses, and within its array of graduate programs there are several that may work perfectly for a person who does want to pursue graduate studies in music theater. In NYU's Steinhardt school there is a Master's of Music Vocal Performance program that allows a person to specialize in performance for musical theater. This degree program divides your classes between vocal training and courses about the musical theater, even bringing in performances as part of your coursework.

    The Tisch School of the Arts is one of NYU's most prestigious departments, and is the one offering degrees for things such as theater and their world famous film school. Within this school there is a unique Master's degree program in Musical Theater Writing. This is designed to work out the specific craft and creativity skills that are needed to develop projects in musical theater and opera, which are formats that stand out greatly from other forms of performance art. This is also in line with NYU's three year graduate conservatory program in acting where students can also focus on musical theater performance, just like the undergraduate students can.

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    San Diego State University

    The San Diego State University Master's of Fine Arts in Musical Theater takes a more broad approach to the musical theater realm, and is the only program of its type on the west coast. This two year conservatory program brings students into the whole range of musical theater from performance to the actual writing, directing, and producing of stage projects. They can the work towards a thesis in the music theater range or an academic project that is more in line with a more traditional Master's thesis. This program will actually give them the tools to enter into the field of musical theater in any direction they want, even in the world of music education, play management, or musical choreography for theater.

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    Boston Conservatory

    The Boston Conservatory Master's of Music program in Musical Theater is one of the best known graduate studies in music theater in the country, and gives a varied look at the musical theater form. You are going to end up getting quite a bit of experience in performance as well as music and script analysis, repertoire, and voice lessons. Since electives are offered as part of this M.M. degree, you can easily begin defining part of your education, but it is important to note that this has music at its fundamental core and is an intensive two year course of study.

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    University of Central Florida

    The University of Central Florida may not be the first place that people think of when considering graduate studies in music theater, but its graduate theater conservatory program is one of the better offerings. What the University allows you to do in its Master's of Fine Arts program in Theater is focus in on one of several points of interest, one of the main ones being Musical Theater. The program is very selective and requires several courses of study ahead of time, and it is expected that the students will begin filling professional roles so that they can transition well into the industry.