Many actors leave their professional training lacking confidence to tackle the musical challenges their career will throw at them, and feel unsure how to get the support they need to ‘keep up’ musically. Music has always been an essential part of theatre and film, and innovations in staging and casting have made musical literacy and confidence more important than ever for actors, stage managers, and creatives.
I’m Roman Benedict and I have been working with music and musicians for more than a decade. I believe that everyone working in theatre should have the confidence and the skills to engage fully with the musical elements of any production.
I have recently returned from the UK where I spent four years as a music department manager at the National Theatre. I worked as a stage manager for the Royal Opera House, Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall, and major orchestras in the UK and Australia, and I currently stage manage at City Recital Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
I trained as a composer, arranger, and music editor, and have worked across classical music, opera, musical theatre, film and bands. Specialising in unorthodox concerts and new musical theatre, I have collaborated with composers, arrangers, music directors, directors and choreographers across a wide range of genres and projects.
I offer two group workshops for artists in professional training (or recently graduated).. One equips actors and creatives with the confidence to tackle musical problems and have exciting conversations about music. The other is a more technical training in score reading giving stage managers (or anyone who needs to closely follow a musical score) the skills they need to call to a score, operate lighting and sound to music, and to plan a production around the musical score.
Musical Confidence – 1 Day or 3 Days
Improve your confidence when engaging with and talking about music.
Score Reading – 1-3 Days
For those who need to be able to call a score or plan a musical production or broadcast.
All workshops include listening exercises, open discussion, hands-on games and practical experience.
Days can be spread out to fit with existing class timetables (eg. 2 hours a week) and give time for practise.
I will need classroom space, a screen and power. I will supply music playback, scores, and props!
Contact me to learn more
for actors, directors and designers
Improve your confidence when engaging with and talking about music. Most people don’t need to analyse complex harmony, or even to read music, but they do want to be able to find their way through a song, know what questions to ask and who to ask them from, and to have a solid guess at what the big shiny brass instrument at the back is. This course will also help in preparing for auditions. No prior musical experience necessary, other than as an enthusiastic listener!
Available in a 1 and 3 day version. A week in advance I circulate a questionnaire which allows me to tailor the programme to include the music students are already familiar with. This allows a solid starting point from which to expand existing knowledge and experiences to meet their professional needs.
1 Day Musical Confidence
Session 1 – Roles (the music team), Genres
- We’ll walk through how to identify who does what in professional music, how musicians usually work, and how you can fit into that team.
- Learning to identify and describe genres of music and the links between them.
Session 2 – Vocabulary & Identifying Instruments
- Musical terms and techniques, and how they apply to what you’re doing in theatre.
- Identifying the instruments and equipment you might see, what you might use, and what you can ask for.
Session 3 – Listening exercises, describing sounds
- Learning through practice – how to listen actively to a wide range of music, talk about it and describe it confidently.
Session 4 – Questions, discussion
- Free flowing discussion and open for any questions that might arise.
3 Day Musical Confidence
Day 1 – Roles (the music team), Genres, Vocabulary and Instruments
- Similar content to 1 Day version, but with more depth, detail and hands-on practice.
Day 2 – Context and getting comfortable with a score
- Doing your research: music history and context and the tools to find direction yourself.
- Reading Music Just Enough.
- Musical shorthand and buzzwords
- Getting lost and finding your place again.
Day 3 – Musical confidence in production
- Knowing your strengths and being confident in your weaknesses,
- Working with professional musicians.
- Preparing for auditions
- How to ask the right question – when to be specific, when to be vague
- Questions and discussion
Introductory rate prices (2022 bookings) from $1250 for 1 day, $3375 for 3 day (10% discount) depending on class size (suggested 10-15) and location.
for stage managers and directors
Helping those who need to be able to call a score or plan a production or broadcast. For a range of abilities at reading music, this course can be tailored to your music-reading needs.
Confidence around music and some knowledge of performance is very helpful, and these workshops will build on that.
Day 1 – No music reading experience
- How a score is laid out
- The various symbols for pitch and rhythm
- Vocabulary, terms and techniques
Day 2 – Already some ability to read music, confidence in a score
- Repeats, codas, tacets, cuts
- Upbeat and downbeat
- Advanced dynamics and Techniques
- Harmony and Melody
- Score order, bar numbers, rehearsal marks.
- What to listen for to keep track
Day 3 – Advanced score reading techniques, practical applications, hands on practice
- Getting lost, finding your place, watching the stage/MD camera
- Cuts, rewrites, reprises: keeping track of changes
- Complex notation systems
- Marking up a score (BBC style, conductor style, SM style), finding your own style
- Single days (day 1 or 2 only to suit experience)
- 2 Day Course (for those with little/no music-reading experience) – Day 1&2
- 2 Day Course (for those who can already read music) – Day 2&3
- 3 Day Full Course
Student cohorts can mix and match versions of the Score Reading Workshops to meet varying levels of experience across a group.
Introductory rate prices (2022 bookings) from $1450 for 1 day,
$2825 for 2 days (5% discount), $4130 for 3 days (10% discount), depending on class size (suggested 6-12) and location.
Instrument Maintenance and Repair
including how to safely ‘silence’ instruments without damaging them, how to restring common instrument, simple repairs you can do yourself, and cleaning (or even distressing and ageing instruments)
Music History, Cultural Context and Musicology
- What was going on in theatre and art when particular music was written.
- The historical circumstances surrounding musical movements.
- Cultural movements around the world – putting music, theatre and film in context.
- Harmony, Melody, Rhythm Structure and Timbre – It’s Musicology!
Ask for more details about structures and fees – these subjects will be tailored to your needs