Music Theatre Major

BW's music theatre direction major is a highly selective program within the Conservatory of Music that integrates keyboard and music instruction with extensive conducting opportunities to prepare you for a career in the performing arts.

Music Theatre Direction

Conservatory of Music

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OVERVIEW

Gain the skills to transform music into an artistic vision that captivates an audience. Baldwin Wallace’s Bachelor of Music in music theatre direction is a highly selective program within the Conservatory of Music that integrates keyboard and music instruction with extensive music theatre opportunities to prepare you for a career in the performing arts.

Hands-on music director experiences

You’ll learn by doing. BW’s music theatre direction major admits only a few students each year to give you opportunities to arrange music, work with pit orchestras, and collaborate with stage directors and choreographers.

Top-ranked music theatre program

You'll work alongside award-winning faculty and students in BW's nationally acclaimed music theatre program. Baldwin Wallace's close proximity to Cleveland and its nationally ranked music and arts organizations offers outstanding opportunities. BW partners include:

Career Opportunities in Music Theatre Direction

  • Music director
  • Musician
  • Music arranger
  • Rehearsal, dance or audition accompanist
  • Orchestrator
  • Keyboard programmer
  • Music copyist

What is a music theatre music director?

Also known as the director of music, this person is responsible for the musical aspects of a performance, production or organization. Working alongside a director and choreographer, the music director plays a big role in casting actors and selecting musicians. The person rehearses music with the actors and the orchestra and often conducts the orchestra during performances.

National Acclaim

BW’s music theatre program tops the list of Onstage's Top College Musical Theatre Programs for 2019-20. Onstage also listed BW as the top-ranked program in the nation in its 2018-19 rankings for Best Bachelor of Music (B.M.) Music Theatre Programs.

All-Steinway School

BW's Conservatory of Music is one of just 16 conservatories worldwide classified as an All-Steinway School. The 88 Steinway pianos in the Conservatory elevate student learning by having lessons and performance opportunities on the same quality instruments that are the standard in elite concert halls.

CURRICULUM

BW’s music theatre direction major is highly selective and intentionally small to give you personalized attention and opportunities tailored to your skills, experiences and career aspirations.

You’ll study with BW’s distinguished keyboard faculty. They have decades of real-world experience, impressive credentials and networking connections. They’re committed to your success, both in the classroom and as a performer.

BW music theatre professors are leaders, innovators and artists. Their extensive national and international experience in directing, acting, singing and dance have earned critical acclaim.

What you'll learn

The music theatre direction major will prepare you to conduct and play in pit orchestras, rehearse actors and orchestras, sight read in many styles, arrange music and program keyboards. Your classroom, studio and performance experiences will include:

  • Taking courses in piano sight-reading, collaborative piano and jazz piano to build a large range of skills.
  • Participating in the music theatre workshop sequence with music theatre performance students. 
  • Assisting with music theatre productions on campus and with BW partnership productions at Playhouse Square and Beck Center for the Arts.
  • Taking Conservatory musicianship classes in harmony, solfege and music history.
  • Participating in the Music Theatre Masterclass Series – each year a minimum of 10 New York agents and casting directors visit campus.

View a full list of courses and course descriptions for the music theatre direction major.

Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

A more extensive listing of course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.

STUDENT EXPERIENCES

Extensive music theatre performance opportunities begin freshman year at BW and continue through senior year.

Music Theatre Collaborations

Starting your first year, you’ll be involved in BW productions both on and off campus. BW presents three full musicals every year in three very different venues – a large fall musical on campus, a winter show produced by Beck Center for the Arts and a spring musical (usually a regional premiere) produced in downtown Cleveland in partnership with Playhouse Square, the second largest theatre district outside of New York City. BW music theatre also partners with Cleveland’s Great Lakes Theater and Nighttown jazz and cabaret club, as well as regional and national performance centers like the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

Co-curricular Activities

Opportunities for music theatre direction majors include:

Ars Nova

Ars Nova is a welcoming music theatre community that fosters the relationship between the professional theatrical community and BW pre-professional students through education provided by guest artists from the professional field.

Theatre Arts and Performance

The purpose of this organization is to support student theatre artists and those interested in theatre on campus, to inform students of events and opportunities in theatre, to maintain an open forum for student ideas and projects, and to raise awareness of theatrical events on and off campus.

ALUMNI SUCCESS

While the specific major in music theatre direction is new, BW has been helping to prepare students for success as music directors for a number of years including:

 "I think of my time at BW as the guidebook for my professional career. The tools that I use each day are a direct result from the lessons learned on campus in Berea. I'm incredibly grateful to the supportive faculty and fellow students for creating a safe and meaningful environment for young artists to mature and grow."
— Ryan Garrett '12, KINKY BOOTS, Broadway & National Tour

 "BW was the perfect place to pursue my music direction interests. I was able to get a solid foundation of classical music training while also getting practical theatre experience in the incredible music theatre department."
— Alyssa Kay Thompson '17, SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL, Broadway; WAITRESS, National Tour

FACULTY

 

Music Theatre

Victoria Bussert
Director, Music Theatre Program
Professor of Theatre
M.F.A., M.A., Northwestern University
www.victoriabussert.com

Matthew Webb
Music Theatre Music Director
Assistant Professor of Music Theatre
B.A., Baldwin-Wallace College

Keyboard

Mary Dobrea-Grindahl
Chair, Keyboard Department
Professor of Keyboard and Music Theory
M.M., Ithaca College

Sungeun Kim
Associate Professor of Keyboard
D.M.A., Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University

Robert Mayerovitch
Professor of Keyboard
D.M., Indiana University