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Courses

Prerequisite 1, for all applicants

THEATRE 255-0 Creating the Musical: An Introduction to Music Theatre Writing | David H. Bell
Develop a firm understanding of Music Theatre book writing dealing with the foundation of storytelling, Aristotelian Poetics, basic plot, character and theme as well as offering a basic understanding of lyric writing and the movement from prose to lyric. The focus of the class is the creation of Music Theatre text (book and lyrics) and how those skills interface with those of a composer and music director.

Prerequisite 2, for non-Music Theatre Certificate students

THEATRE 256-0 Musicianship for the Actor | Ryan T. Nelson
Designed to develop a high level of musical literacy and aims to bridge the gap between the classroom and real world application of music reading and analysis through practical application of the pitch and temporal elements of music. Activities include sight-singing, ear training, keyboard application, improvisation and critical listening.

Required Courses

THEATRE 355-0 Creating the Musical: Collaborative Music Theatre Writing
In this workshop course, students will study the craft of working collaboratively to construct musicalized dramatic scenes and theatrical songs in several genres such as the “I Want” song, comedy song, charm song, persuasion song, torch song, love (or fight) duet, and ensemble number. We will complete exercises in lyric writing and musical theatre song structure, analyzing existing works from the musical stage for the nuances of songcraft, song placement, rhyme scheme, subtext, and musical accompaniment. Students will rotate through collaborative teams for each assignment and writing prompt, building to the workshopping of a well-structured 10-minute musical. Readings will include Lehman Engel’s Words with Music, Scott McMillin’s The Musical as Drama, and Stephen Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat. Formal music training is welcome but not required.

THEATRE 355-0 Creating the Musical: Elements of Song
In this workshop course, student composers will train as musical dramatists, studying the craft of composition to accomplish dramatic goals. A range of musical styles will be studied in the context of their application to the musical theatre idiom, including pop, rock, and folk music, as well as hip hop, art song, and contemporary classical music. We will analyze the compositional structure of Music Theatre masterworks and complete assignments setting poetic and prose texts to create fully realized Music Theatre numbers and sequences. Students will also study effective modes of sharing feedback in service of the composer’s vision. Critical readings by composers and dramatists in a range of genres will supplement the creative work and enhance students’ analytical skills.

Electives (any two of the following)

Electives are to be taken to pursue the area of interest – lyric writing, book writing, composition, or music direction – of the student from a list of these classes:

THEATRE 330-0 Music Direction Seminar
Music Direction Seminar is an exploration of the various roles and responsibilities of the theatre music director. The course is designed to give students the materials and methods required for successful and artistic musical direction of both established music theatre works and the development of new/original work. This course also prepares students for the practical application of the broad set of musical skills in Wirtz, STUCO, and AMTP productions.

THEATRE 355-0 Creating the Musical: Lyric Writing
Develop a firm understanding of the craft of lyric writing for Music Theatre. Become fluent in its history and function by investigating both the artists and the art. Create lyrics that reflect the student’s personal views and the context in which they are writing. Specific objectives: Learn the basic fundamentals of lyric writing, know the major lyricists in each epoch of the American musical, gain a formal understanding of song structure, develop an ability to craft a lyric that reflects the legacy of form but lives in a contemporary context, immerse oneself in a writing and feedback process that results in peer-tested lyrics— and achieve an ability to rewrite in service of the song.

THEATRE 356-0 Advanced Musicianship for Actors: Styles and Genres
Advanced Musicianship for Actors: Styles and Genres is a continuation of Musicianship for Actors (Theatre 262 – 0 – 20) with an emphasis on musical analysis of the music theatre repertoire. Through this analysis of the pitch elements of music (harmony and melody) and temporal elements of music (rhythm, meter, etc.), students develop strategies for learning, practicing, and internalizing music for performance. There is a strong focus on the use of music notation / practice technology to support the development of these musical skills, with a specific emphasis given to rhythmic structures. The class repertoire is organized historically by genre and style.

THEATRE 357-0 Theatre Orchestration
Theatre Orchestration is an accelerated class in instrumentation, arranging, orchestration, and creative musical design. The class explores the history of orchestration, using the analysis of past exemplary theater orchestration to inform each student’s study and practical application of orchestration technique. Each student will complete one large-scale orchestration of an original theatrical song.

THEATRE 399-0 Independent Study
The module presents an additional opportunity to study with a Music Theatre professional for an intensive practicum in either book writing, lyric writing or composition.