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TC198: Broadway Composer Andrew Gerle on the Art of Songwriting

By Tim Topham | Podcast

Jul 10 2020

EPISODE 198 - Broadway Composer Andrew Gerle on the Art of SongwritingIn this episode, we’ll meet Broadway composer Andrew Gerle and learn about the art of songwriting, sight reading and auditioning successfully.

Andrew is an award-winning composer and lyricist, music director, and author who came from a classical background. His love for theatre has brought him to work on dozens of Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional and touring productions in New York City.

He teaches musical theatre performance, theory, and composition at the Manhattan School of Music.

We touched on important topics including the changes and challenges in the lives of musicians and performers brought about by the pandemic. This conversation brings useful tips and information for teachers and performers alike.

Transcript of the Show

If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

In this episode, you’ll get insightful information and tips on auditioning, sight reading and the art of songwriting:

  • [01:59] Getting to know Andrew’s background in music and theatre.
  • [05:54] A glimpse at a week in the life of a working composer
  • [07:02] Andrew shares his ultimate dream.
  • [08:49] The impact of COVID-19 on performers and musicians and how it has brought out innovation and creativity in them. 
  • [10:38] How Andrew’s network of connections helps in the work that he does.
  • [11:35] His process of writing musicals.
  • [13:31] Great tips for becoming a confident sight reader.
  • [18:50] How Andrew developed top skills for sight reading.
  • [21:47] Advice for teachers who are training students to sight read.
  • [25:06] Andrew shares information about his book, The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition. 
  • [27:06] Insightful tips for performers on having successful auditions.
  • [32:22] The reason why his love for classical music remains in addition to his focus on musical theatre.
  • [35:18] The most important music theory elements that every student of music should know.
  • [38:26] Theatre songwriting approaches for students.
  • [43:08] Do students really need notation?
  • [43:58] The notation software that Andrew uses.
  • [45:00] The surprises and challenges brought about by the current COVID-19 situation.

Links Mentioned

About our Guest

EPISODE 198 - Broadway Composer Andrew Gerle on the Art of Songwriting

Andrew Gerle is a composer/lyricist, librettist, pianist and author. His works for the theatre include the musicals Meet John Doe (Jonathan Larson Award, cast album on Broadway Records), Gloryana (Kleban Award, Richard Rodgers Award), The Tutor (three Rodgers Awards) and La Tempesta (with Fantasticks lyricist Tom Jones, Tokyo premiere 2019). He has performed as piano soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra (as winner of their Young Artists Competition), the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and on programs for National Public Radio and Television.

He has served as musical director for many Off-Broadway, touring and regional theater productions, and been a pit and rehearsal pianist for Broadway productions including An American in Paris, Matilda and Ragtime. Andrew is also the author of The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition and Music Essentials for Singers and Actors (Hal Leonard/Applause Books), and is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

This spring, he produced and engineered the benefit album Artists in Residence, featuring all new songs and performances from Tony and Grammy Award-winning writers and actors about our temporarily constrained lives. www.AndrewGerle.com 

Show Sponsors for Andrew Gerle on the Art of Songwriting

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Thank you for tuning in!

In conclusion, there are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine. Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run.

Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons!

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Tim Topham

About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.