On June 10th from 7 to 10 PM EST, the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance (MTEA), an international organization of teachers and professionals, will hold a free Zoom webinar on how to safely and effectively educate aspiring musical theatre professionals during these unprecedented and uncertain times. “We wanted to have a conversation about how we can best support the social, educational, and emotional well-being of our students, whether through distance-learning, a hybrid model, or in-person. As an authority on best practices in musical theatre, it is up to us to provide possible solutions to effective and safe classroom instruction and opportunities for our students to express themselves creatively,” said Stacy Alley, President of MTEA and Head of Musical Theatre at The University of Alabama.
Unique Students, Unique Problems
The requirements of rigorous, high-quality musical theatre education create unique challenges for students and educators alike, never more so than in this period of heightened health and safety awareness. How do instructors adapt existing teaching practices to the new challenges of online, hybrid and socially-distant learning environments? How can we work in ways that insure the safety and health of students and colleagues? And finally, how do colleges create performance opportunities that engage students from across disciplines in meaningful ways, while keeping them and our audiences safe?
The three-hour free webinar is open to the public and will be divided into three sixty-minute sections. The first will specifically address health concerns; the second, performance opportunities; and the third hour will discuss various technologies and platforms outside of Zoom that are specifically designed for performing artists in training and performance environments.
MTEA is assembling panelists from across the United States, including, but not limited to, Dr. Michael Saag, Associate Dean for Global Health at the University of Alabama Birmingham, who will speak to COVID-19 research and how it affects the type of work we do in musical theatre; Dr. Wendy LeBorgne, leading voice pathologist and vocal athlete expert, and representatives from Theatrical Rights Worldwide, iTheatrics, Concord Theatricals, and Musical Theatre International to address innovations and options for performing arts organizations during the COVID crisis.
From a technology standpoint, Jeff Lazarus, president of Real Time Music Solutions, will discuss their Rehearsal Live Share feature; and music director Daniel Abrahamson will be on hand to discuss Jamkazam, Jamulus, and other live virtual music collaboration options. After each presentation, attendees will be able to post questions to the panelists.
“MTEA is the perfect organization to lead this critical conversation about how to move forward with the restrictions that safe practices require. We’ve always been at the forefront of the international conversation on innovative ways to teach and create,” said Joe Deer, Chair of Wright State University’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures. “I look forward to learning more about how we’ll move forward together.”
While this webinar does not claim to provide all the answers, it will provide the foundation for an ongoing conversation that examines how musical theatre educators can go forward with training and performance.
Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance was founded in 1999 as a means for teachers of young professional artists to come together and exchange ideas, methodologies, and solutions to common challenges in the academic settings of universities and conservatories. The organization has grown to include member institutions spanning the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Membership provides not only an online forum for discussions pertaining to musical theatre training and the exchange of ideas and resources, but also access to our annual conference, which alternates between US and international locations.
The Zoom Webinar link is: https://zoom.us/j/98554452513. This event is free and open to the public. Users may log in at 7 PM EST on Wednesday, June 10th using the meeting ID 985 5445 2513. No password is required