Music Direction - Curriculum

The MFA in Music Direction is centered around five areas of study:

  • Vocal Pedagogy and Coaching
  • Conducting
  • Composition, Orchestration, Arranging
  • Keyboard Proficiency
  • Music Production

Our students work with faculty members as well as industry professionals, receiving instruction and mentoring within these five areas.


Collaborative Experiences

Your three-year residency provides numerous opportunities for collaboration with other MFA Drama students whose foci may include acting, stage direction, design, stage management, and dramaturgy. MFA music directors bridge their core coursework with these collaborative works for the stage to strengthen their artistry and build a network of professional colleagues under the UCI Drama family.

Additionally, these project-based experiences give you access to a wider network of resources, including the Meyer Sound Design Studios as well as the ICIT program in the School of Music.

 Production Opportunities

Our music directors engage in both small and large-scale musical productions, including new work development, during their time at UCI. These productions collaborate with other MFA Drama students as well as our undergraduate BA and BFA music theatre student cohorts. Music directors play in the orchestra pit, program keyboard rigs, compose original music, and assist in the rehearsal process.

In their third year, students music direct and conduct one of the mainstage musicals from start to finish. Previous shows include Into the WoodsBunkerville (world premiere), CompanyLegally Blonde, and others.

In addition to on-campus study, music directors partner with the month-long New York Satellite Program in Music Theatre. Our students gain direct access and feedback from New York casting directors, choreographers, and directors during their residence with this one of a kind program.

 Professional Placement/Alumni

Our graduates can be found in higher education as well as the professional Broadway and touring markets across the country.

Some choose to pursue an academic track while others are music directing for national tours, cruise ships, and regional theatres.


 Leslie Wickham - Associate Music Director, Anastasia Nat’l Tour

"The resources at UCI offer ample opportunity to experiment and experience everything a theater music director exemplifies at the highest level. In my time I was able to direct, compose, arrange, work in a sound studio, and much more. A small studio allows for individual attention, while still allowing ample exploration".


Luke Shepherd - Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

"I was grateful to work with industry professionals who challenged me and stretched me. I gained new skills in music and sound production technology that have been invaluable to me in my work as a professional music director. I built lasting relationships with teachers and colleagues who have made me a more skilled music director, a more generous collaborator, and a better person”.


Financial Information

Students who are accepted into the program attend tuition-free thanks to a generous partnership with the University of California. Students are also awarded teaching assistantships during their three years, which provides a monthly stipend to help offset living expenses. Because space is extremely limited, we select a very small number of highly qualified applicants each year.

For more information regarding tuition and other financial responsibilities, please contact us. (need to add a mailto: link for this).