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 as a Professional Diploma is £11,200 for UK/EU students and £21,500 for International Students; The fee for 2018 entry as a PGCert or MA is £13,750 for UK/EU Students and £25,100 for International Students.

Application Information:

Applications for entry in September 2018 should be submitted no later than 1 November 2017 and 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.  When you apply, select the UCAS Conservatoires course code 704F (Master of Arts) for MA Musical Theatre or MA Musical Direction & Coaching, or 914F for the Professional Diploma in Musical Direction & Coaching. If you are applying for a New York audition, please begin your Personal Statement with the words ‘New York Audition’. 

If after 1st November 2017 deadline, please contact our Company Manager directly on +44 (0)207 873 7483 or to enquire if there is any further availability to audition in London. 

Entrance Requirements

The minimum entrance requirements are:

  • A high level of performance attainment as determined at audition
  • MA entry: Normally a Bachelor degree with honours
  • Prof Dip entry: Normally a Masters degree.
  • We can also accept an equivalent standard of performing ability and professional experience. Please see our entrance requirements page.
  • The English Language requirements detailed on our English Language web page
  • Professional Diploma: there are additional written requirements for Professional Diploma candidates, detailed on our Postgraduate Written Requirements page.


Audition Information:

London auditions will be held on 19th November 2017. Overseas applicants can choose to audition in NYC during the first week of February (exact date to be confirmed). The application deadline for NYC auditions will be 19th January 2018. 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.