How To Write A Musical From Scratch In 11 Steps Sunday May 28 2023, 6:00 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How To Write A Musical From Scratch In 11 Steps

How To Write A Musical

Writing a musical is a huge yet rewarding process. Do you think that writing this style may be a bit too big of a project for a songwriter? Don't sell yourself too short before neglecting to consider it!

Whether you're an aspiring playwright or a musician looking to explore the world of musical theater, creating your own musical can be an incredibly fun challenge and a bit easier than you may think. 

Here are some steps and tips I want to share with you if you're considering this project. I'm working on a musical of my own, although I normally work on regular singles, albums, jingles, and short stories. 

The steps to writing this type of musical composition aren't that different from others when you really start to dive into the process. 

Develop Your Composition Skills 

Studying the best writers online is a good idea, but they won't be able to tell you the technical must-haves regarding music theory and education. Learning the building blocks of your career is always a great idea.

Ear training and notation can get very complex, so I'm sure there are new things for you to uncover in the theory side of it all. 

Learning music theory concepts can help take your writing style to the next level and help you gain a unique edge in the industry.

While many people learn and utilize music theory concepts like 1 4 5 1 in a chord progression, you could be having complex progressions in your head that can be catchy and never-before-heard in your genre. 

Related Post: Operas Vs. Musical - 5 Key Differences To Pay Attention To


Find Your Inspiration

Every great musical starts with a compelling idea or concept.

Look for inspiration from various sources such as books, movies, historical events, personal experiences, or even current social issues. Consider what story you want to tell and how music can enhance and elevate that story.

Develop Your Characters

Once you have a concept in mind, focus on developing well-rounded and relatable characters. Give each character a unique personality, desires, and conflicts.

Think about how their individual journeys and relationships will unfold throughout the musical. Strong characters are the heart of any successful musical.

Craft The Story And Structure

Now it's time to shape your concept into a cohesive story, which is where things may get a little foreign if you're just a songwriter, but try it out!

Determine the major plot points, conflicts, and resolutions. Decide on the structure of your musical, including acts, scenes, and the overall pacing.

A typical musical structure consists of an opening number, exposition, rising action, a climax, falling action, and a closing number. Experiment with different narrative techniques to make your story engaging and emotionally resonant.


Write Your Lyrics

Lyrics are an essential component of any musical. They convey the characters' thoughts, emotions, and advance the plot. Start by brainstorming ideas and themes for your songs.

Consider the tone, style, and musical genre that best suits each character or situation. Experiment with rhyme schemes, metaphors, and wordplay to make your lyrics memorable and impactful.

Compose The Music

The music in a musical (obviously) plays a vital role in setting the mood, conveying emotions, and enhancing the storytelling.

Decide on the musical style that best fits your story, whether it's a traditional Broadway sound, a contemporary pop-rock vibe, or a fusion of different genres.

Work on composing melodies, harmonies, and musical motifs that complement the lyrics and support the narrative.

Remember, music theory mastery will play a crucial role in this, especially if you are writing out the instrumentation for your musical as well. 

Related Post: 33 Great Quotes About Musical Theatre That Stick With You


Create Song Placement

Carefully consider where each song will fit within the structure of the musical. Songs can serve as character solos, duets, group numbers, or even show-stopping ensemble pieces.

They can also be used to introduce or resolve conflicts, express emotions, or provide comic relief. Ensure that the songs' placement enhances the story's overall flow and pacing.

Refine And Revise

Writing a musical is an iterative process. Once you have a draft of your script and songs, seek feedback from trusted friends, fellow writers, or industry professionals.

Be open to constructive criticism and use it to refine and improve your work. Revise and polish your script, lyrics, and music until you are satisfied with the final result.

Collaborate With Others

To bring your musical to life, you will need a team of collaborators. This is where the project can get expansive, but your overall idea is down, which is a great start.

Consider working with a director, a choreographer, and a musical director. Collaborate with performers and musicians who can help bring your music and characters to life.

Surround yourself with talented individuals who share your passion and vision and believe in the vision you've created. 


Workshop And Production

Before staging a full production, consider workshopping your musical. This involves presenting the material in front of a smaller audience, receiving feedback, and making further revisions.

Workshops can help you fine-tune your show and identify areas that need improvement. Once you feel confident in your work, you can pursue full-scale productions independently or by pitching your musical to theater companies and producers.

Have Fun With The Journey

Remember, writing a musical is a creative and collaborative journey. Embrace the process, learn from your experiences, and don't be afraid to take risks.

Writing a musical requires dedication, perseverance, and a love for storytelling. Stay true to your artistic voice and trust in the power of music and theater to create a transformative experience for audiences.

In conclusion, writing a musical is a unique opportunity to merge storytelling and music into a captivating theatrical experience.

By finding inspiration, developing compelling characters, crafting a strong story, and collaborating with talented people, you can create a musical that resonates with audiences and leaves a lasting impact.

So, embrace your creativity, follow your passion, and let the magic of musical theater unfold!

Related Post: Songwriting 101 - 8 Pointers For Beginners Who Are Just Starting Out

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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