school is cool

I've been studying at AMDA for three weeks now, and to sum in up in three words: it is tough. I am taking Musical Theatre, Acting, Vocal Production and Speech, Sight-Singing/Music Theory, Film Lab, Dance (Tap, Musical Theatre, Jazz, and Ballet), and private vocal lessons. My days are spent in 2+ hour workshop sessions, building skill and technique. And that's just the tip of the ice berg. Outside of class, I spend hours listening to music, analyzing scripts, building characters, observing people and performances, viewing live theatre, rehearsing, rehearsing, and rehearsing. When I'm not doing any of that, I'm working my butt off at my job, trying to scrape enough money together to pay for that coming week's food and, further along, next month's rent. And when I manage to find a free second, I try to cultivate friendships among my classmates and co-workers so that I can feel like I have some semblance to a social life.

At the beginning of semester, the incoming class was divided into groups based on criteria such as age, experience, and training. My group consists of the older students. There are 17 of us. We are all aged between 21 and 35, and almost all of us have undergraduate degrees. I attend all of my core classes with my group. Our classes are conducted in workshop format, where there is more exploration of the artistic material than there is lecturing. This helps to cultivate creativity within a safe space. The remaining classes - dance and sight-singing - are divided based on skill, which was evaluated through placement tests during orientation, so students from different groups are combined for these classes. I have been placed in the second level, of five, for all my dance classes, and in the fifth level, of five, for sight-singing. I really enjoy the people in my group, and I especially like that the school considered separating us by age. There is a high level of commitment and dedication among the students in my group, and we have a lot of discipline when it comes to rehearsing and completing our assignments. I think I would have been frustrated if I was taking classes with students fresh out of high school and living on their own for the first time, in New York City nonetheless. Also, being surrounded by people who have been through the same thing I have - giving up established lives to pursue a performing career - gives me the confidence and support I need to continue with this program.

Despite the incredible amount of time and work that is required of this program, I feel so fulfilled, even though I haven't been here very long. It is the kind of work that I am happy doing, even the most mundane parts of it. It does get grueling at times; the program is physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding. I have really been challenged to work beyond my limits to develop my potential, and for that, I am grateful. It is something I felt that has been missing in the last few years, and I'm happy for the opportunity to see how much I can grow.

While at Berkeley, I often questioned whether or not I was supposed to be at such a place. I went through the motions and got through the days, but I never truly felt like I belonged there (with the exception of AiR, which was my performing outlet). This time around, I am studying something I love in a place that moves me. I don't regret my college experience. I'm happy I went through that, got my bachelors degree, and acquired the skills to help me live productively on my own. It's just that now I'm finally doing something for myself, rather than because it's the "right" thing to do. And that keeps me motivated.

But... as any New York conservatory student would do, I put aside my homework for one night to attend a not-to-be-missed performance here in the city: Boyz II Men! Having been a long-time fan, I couldn't pass the chance to see them in concert for the first time. It. Was. AMAZING! Check out the photos below of one of the best live performances I have ever seen. Woo!

Motownphilly IS back again!

Shawn, Nathan, and Wanya (Michael no longer tours with the group because of his scoliosis)

Me, my roommate, and some friends

1 comment:

HobbitComedian said...

Crack is whack!