Writing a musical may not be a straightforward task if you’ve just stepped into the world of music.
It requires creativity, inspiration, and confidence if you want to reach for the skies.
Whether you’ve been assigned a task in writing a musical or you wish to challenge yourself. This is the ultimate guide to unleash the musician in you!
How to Write a Musical 101
Let the ideas flow
Find a plot/story for the musical. Take a pencil and notebook and find a place be it park/beach to brainstorm your ideas.
Observe the behavior of people around you as this would help you in finding the right story for your musical. Either that or you could come up with your own story – A childhood memory that you cherish or an event that changed your life. This will be the building block of the musical.
By choosing a story, it will drive motivation and confidence that you need to write a perfect musical.
Once you know what to write, write a brief 1-2 line summary that portrays the theme of the story and answers questions like what the story is about and what do you wish to show to the world.
Do your homework
It’s best to study musicals to gain inspiration and come up with a perfect storyline for your next musical.
Try reading about famous musicals such as the Hamilton, The Lion King, La La Land, and many more.
Find a musical drama that you like and see how the music, dialogues, and lyrics are executed.
Share your story
Your musical should contain the story you want to tell to the world.
Through dialogues or music, you can beautifully explain the storyline by having a well-structured play where characters know what they are singing and the music is in sync with their dialogues.
There should be a smooth transition of music when each character gets a turn.
Know your voice
When you’re writing your musical, you need to keep a few things in mind: the tune, and the sequence. The tune should match the character’s identity.
For instance, a prince in the play may sing confidently, a witch may have a loud and sharp melody, an older woman would have a different melody, and so on.
Speaking of sequence, the music should change with the character’s turn. The character should know what they are singing and the purpose behind it.
To make it simpler, you can create storyboards to visualize the character’s role and actions, making it easier for you to write music and song.
Draw each scene on the storyboard to visualize the story and analyze the key elements that you want to add to your music.
Start writing your music and lyrics
You can’t be an expert in both things. Therefore, you may need a partner who would assist you. If you’re a music writer, choose music that best suits the script keeping in mind the storyline and the characters.
You can repeat the music that you’ve created in the past and make some changes to it to produce new music. If you’re a lyricist, make it sound like everyday conversations.
It doesn’t have to contain strong vocabulary and highly extensive language. The language and the tone should be the same as that you use when you’re talking to people.
Combine music and story both
There should be a proper flow of music with the background story. The sequence of the music should be in such a way that the music and the scenes are well put together.
The music doesn’t have to be in the same tempo since it can change from a duet to solo if you’ve got more than one musical number.
Create a document
Once you’ve written the musical, you can create a final draft in a word file and check for revisions if any. Add the music, lyrics, and proper timeline of the characters who will be a part of the play. If you’ve more than one musical number, add a pointer into the script that shows when the next musical number will play.
Moreover, add details of the characters such as when they will appear in a particular scene and the lines they have to sing. When the musical is ready, check the script and start rehearsing.