University of Michigan CRLT Theater Program – Institutional Change, The Musical

Credits: Recording (live) and mixing engineer, arranger, producer, co-music director, pianist.

With the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, I had the pleasure of working with talented artistic director Jeffrey Steiger on constructing, arranging, and performing the music for “Institutional Change, The Musical”. The purpose of the musical was to raise questions among provost, faculty, and staff members, as well as students, about how their education system is currently functioning and how it could be improved. The process went something like this:

-Jeffrey would write lyrics and music on his guitar, and sing rough ideas to me.

-Using his songs, we would then negotiate progressions and melodies that conveyed his message and were musically effective.

-Together we would teach the music to the singers and other musicians. (That said, brilliant cellist Courtney Kaita wrote most of her own parts).

-We would take the show on the road, traveling to Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan to perform for the faculty and staff of various universities.

At every performance, I was amazed at the level of engagement of the audience and the conversations that followed. It really felt like issues were surfacing that had not been previously discussed, and hearing the chair, faculty, and staff all speaking to each other without the hierarchy getting in the way and working things out was always my favorite part.

Quite an incredible experience!!

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