Monday, January 28, 2008

Follow-up Regarding Musical Theater CP Programs and Training

I've been receiving a few requests for information about musical theater programs for collaborative pianists. In the comments of my Degree Programs posting, I received the following from an anonymous reader:

someone asked about a musical theater accompanying degree program... i am very interested in musical theater accompanying as well and wanted to share how i've gotten my fill of it in school. i got my mm at university of michigan and am now getting my dma... they have a big MT department and i was able to work with some of the pianists in it. i took a year long seminar on problems one might encounter in the MT world (arranging, transposing, realizing better accompaniments than the printed ones, and a repertoire study) with a pianist on the faculty, then later played for one of their shows with another pianist/conductor. they also offered to let me accompany dance classes and rehearsals for that experience. if someone is interested in that line of work, i suggest that you look for a school with a good MT department like michigan, cincinnati, etc, and just make yourself available to the department. often, MT departments are hurting for good pianists... although, i've found keeping up my classical studies as well keeps me enriched. later in my life, i would be interested in teaching the MT side of collaborative piano.

Thanks for your story, anonymous commenter. The opera and musical theater sides of the coaching/repetiteur career track can often seem to be mutually exclusive, and I don't presume to know the ins and outs of building a career in musical theater. I'm glad there are programs and apprenticeships at places like Michigan and Cinncinnati that can help develop the next wave of musical theater pianists.

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