Open Forum

Performing with Music Tracks

  • 1.  Performing with Music Tracks

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hello hive mind...

    So, I've never produced a musical without live musicians. and a pit conductor.  My Music Director wonders if she should be conducting the singers using the tracks during the performance and where we should place her.

    Have any of you come across this and what do you do?

    Thanks!
    Kristina Cummins
    Capital High School

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    Kristina Cummins
    Theatre Teacher,
    Capital High School
    Co-Chapter Director
    Washington State Thespians
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  • 2.  RE: Performing with Music Tracks

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hello!

    I guess my experiences have been complete opposite thus far! I have never had the opportunity to use live musicians or a pit conductor, we have always used performance tracks.  Also, we usually use our musicals as competition pieces so my directing during the show is strictly prohibited.  So I guess my singers have always "flown solo." But, I would say, I have not once said to myself, "I should have been directing them and that would have never happened!" You'd be surprised at what they can do, especially if you have a few with a really good ear.  For example, in Chitty this year, my Truly was the only one who could hear a certain part when the group came back in after some dialogue, and they would just follow her lead, she also added a subtle hand movement they looked for. And all my singers, if they lose their lyrics, they have never had trouble coming back in when they can, even my "character" singers who aren't as musically trained. When you rehearse heavily with the tracks, they will just learn (if they are studious as they should be), and the nice thing is the music is the same no matter what! Trust them...mine sure impress me every year!

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    Analiese Hamm
    ECHS Drama Director
    Echols County High School
    Statenville
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  • 3.  RE: Performing with Music Tracks

    Posted 21 days ago

    If you have a traditional orchestra pit, you could still place them in the pit as you traditionally find them. You could also place them in a convenient area with a video camera, and run that feed to the stage and set up a video monitor or two for the cast to follow. It would be great if the music director had the ability to trigger the start of each music track (leaving your sound operator to mix the levels). 

    ~Dave



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    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager
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  • 4.  RE: Performing with Music Tracks

    Posted 20 days ago
    Hello,

    My school usually uses tracks.  I can only recall a couple of times in the last several years that we have used a live orchestra.  For tracks, our music director has always run them.  For many years, we placed him down in front of the stage; however, we finally realized that having the sound board close to the stage did not work well.  So the last few productions, we have placed him in the back of the auditorium. This has worked much better for us, but that may be unique to our auditorium setup as it is a small auditorium.   I don't know that our music director does a lot of actual directing during the show.  If the cast learns the songs well during rehearsals, the music director concentrates on music cues and starting the tracks on time during actual performances and things like that.  Don't know if I have been of help, but I thought I'd offer my perspective.

    Ken Robinson

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    Kenneth Robinson
    Drama Club Sponsor
    Wapahani High School
    Selma IN
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  • 5.  RE: Performing with Music Tracks

    Posted 20 days ago
    • Just finished writing my first musical and it should be performed in about six weeks.    When writing I made sure all the songs had a four bar lead in so the singers know the key in which they are singing. If the vocalists know their parts, don't know why you would need a musical director any sound cues or managing volume.. Would think it would be difficult to keep an eye on the director while trying to perform...


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    Leon Kaye
    Playwright for the Ages
    Lhk@koa1.com
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  • 6.  RE: Performing with Music Tracks

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi!  I would agree with Analiese 100%. We have never been able to use an orchestra and have never needed to use a conductor with the tracks.  The cast rehearses with the tracks and so it makes it easy to transition to the show.  My kids have worked so hard in rehearsal they can hear their cues and truly we've never had problems.  Hope it works for you!!

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    Karin Neal
    Theatre Director/Drama Instructor
    Trinity Catholic High School
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