The Role of the Music Department

July 20, 2017 2:00 pm ET

Kent Nicholson (Playwrights Horizons), Georgia Stitt (Composer/Lyricist and Music Producer, Festival Alumni Writer) and Bruce Coughlin (Orchestrator/Arranger), lead a discussion on how theatres can best engage their music departments when beginning a new musical. When do you bring on an orchestrator — and how much do they cost? When should the music director be hired, and what is their relationship to the composer? Who is responsible for creating new music charts as a new show develops? How do you find the right musicians to fit your show? At what point does the music department get involved with the design process? Our panel of experts explore these questions and more, to help ensure your next collaboration goes as smoothly as possible.

  • 2:11 – Kent Nicholson, Georgia Stitt, and Bruce Coughlin’s introduction
  • 3:30 – The best time to bring a Music Director in
  • 5:36 – How does the role of the Music Director shift between different Composers and boundaries between a Music Director and Arranger
  • 10:58 – The differences between the Arranger, Orchestrator and Composer
  • 13:20 – Dance Arranger’s job
  • 15:29 – How is a Vocal Arranger in the mix of the music department
  • 18:43 – How do you accommodate all of the different jobs
  • 22:52 – Breaking down the musical department similarly to how Directors would be broken down
  • 26:15 – The ideal process of hiring the music department/band
  • 30:20 – Using the Music Supervisor as a staff member that reports to others and oversee the music department completely
  • 31:25 – The style of Pianist/Music Directors and how it has to relate to everyone else
  • 33:00 – The process finding a music department without a Music Contractor
  • 35:47 – How to deal with Keyboard Programming
  • 38:50 – How to find ways to advocate to Producers to get you what you need
  • 43:04 – Compensating the correct people in long running shows that have gone through multiple Producers and theatre
  • 49:26 – The impact of technology on the Music Department
  • 51:34 – The design portion for the pit
  • 54:20 – Conclusions

Archive Available to Members