Musical Direction and Coaching

This intensive one-year programme leads to either an MA or a Professional Diploma (Musical Direction and Coaching).  It is highly competitive with only two/three entrants selected each year.  It is taught by industry professional Musical Directors, each of whom has a different style and specialisation. This year (2017/18), they are:

  • Daniel Bowling
  • Mark Warman MA, ARCM, Hon ARAM
  • David White BA (Hons) Oxon, FRAM
  • Nick Skilbeck

The programme covers pianistic styles for Musical Theatre repertoire (i.e. swing/"standards", pop, rock, gospel, Sondheim, show-tunes etc.), conducting, accompaniment, rehearsal preparation and practice, transposition at sight, accompanying from chord symbols and working out "instant" arrangements, improvisation, programming synths, and arranging and orchestration.  Existing familiarity with sequencing and notation software is developed further with advanced seminars to show how Sibelius, MainStage, Logic and ProTools can assist the work of the modern MD.  Students work alongside our students on the MA in Musical Theatre Performance programme and attend their practical classes, where their timetable permits.

The programme has been in existence since 2002 and past students have gone on to work on the London productions of: Follies, Mamma Mia, Cabaret, Take Flight, Avenue Q, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Jersey Boys, Shrek - The Musical, Book of Mormon, The Pajama Game, Bend it like Beckham, as well as on the national tours such as Tommy, Calamity Jane, Oliver, Jersey Boys, Avenue Q, Les Miserables (UK and US tours), Here Lies Love (National Theatre), The Light Princess (National Theatre), The Empress (RSC), The History Boys (all Sheffield Crucible)… and many, many more.

Fees Information

The fees for 2018 entry are detailed on

Application Information

Applications are made through UCAS Conservatories, you can find a direct link on our Apply page, and the Application Dates section of that page has details about the closing date for receipt of applications.

Specific information about the Musical Theatre department auditions is published here.

Entrance Requirements

The minimum entrance requirements are availble on our Entrance Requirements page.

Audition Information

The audition will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Any Musical Direction candidates who cannot attend either of the live auditions may be eligible to submit an initial video recording, please get in touch for further information.

You will be asked to play two piano pieces of your choice.  At least one of these should be from the Musical Theatre repertoire. You will also be asked to demonstrate your ability to sight-read, accompany a singer (the singer will be provided), transpose at sight and improvise in different styles.  A short interview with the audition panel will complete your audition.