Toward inclusivity: New music, theatre audition option coming

Heidelberg’s School of Music & Theatre is launching a new pathway that will give prospective students more options for entry into studying the arts at the collegiate level. 
The new pathway is a concerted effort to be more inclusive for students who may not have had access to the arts in their high schools and also to nurture a passion for the arts, ’Berg administrators said.
Starting this spring semester, the School of Music & Theatre will offer a second option for students who want to enroll at Heidelberg but may feel less prepared for the required audition. While the traditional direct audition model (prior to enrollment) remains in place, the new pathway will allow students to defer their audition until the end of the freshman year.
“We want to embrace inclusivity while still cultivating excellence in the arts,” said Dr. Carol Dusdieker, Director of the School of Music & Theatre. “This new pathway will allow a broader background of potential undergrads access to music and theatre here at Heidelberg.”
“We know that auditions can sometimes be a barrier and intimidate students who have the potential to succeed in the arts,” said Director of Admission Sara Rowlinson. Heidelberg is one of the first colleges in the area to create an alternative pathway, which will allow students to enroll and begin working with faculty prior to auditioning for the major.
The new pathway will give them a year of experience in the School of Music & Theatre under their belt, said Dr. Elizabeth Tracy, Director of the Community Music School and a music instructor. “In the first year, they’ll complete their coursework and participate in ensembles and music activities so they get the benefit of being on campus and learning what we do without the pressure of an audition.”
Then, when audition time arrives at the end of the freshman year, they will be better prepared to crush their audition. Throughout the first year, these students – who will be Music Candidates or Theatre Candidates – will have opportunities to engage with faculty members to identify their strengths and areas that need support and develop their skills, Carol said. “We’ll work with them to customize their first year based on that information.”
Essentially, the new pathway is a way to ensure that doors are open to all students who have a passion to pursue the arts. “We want them to know that at Heidelberg, they can do more,” Carol said.
“If you have a passion and a curiosity for music and theatre, we want to invite you in. We will help you explore those passions without the pressure and obstacle of an audition.”
Students who opt for the direct audition prior to their freshman year are eligible for music and theatre scholarships. All music and theatre majors, regardless of the pathway, fall under Heidelberg’s Four-Year Graduation Guarantee. All Heidelberg students, regardless of major, can qualify for the PlusOneAdvantage® Tuition-Free Scholarship Program by meeting university criteria. Students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA can return for a fifth year and earn an MBA tuition-free.
“With our commitment to opportunity, we look forward to meeting students where they are and helping them achieve their goals,” Sara said.

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