Introduction
 
Hello! My name is David Anthony  Hall and I’m a musical theatre composer and voice teacher. I began my study of piano at the Orange County School for the arts in California where I was in the piano department. At OCSA we took college-level music theory, piano and music history every semester for all four years. I can say it was college-level, because upon entering Chapman University for choral conducting (on a full ride for my piano playing)  I took a placement exam and tested out of all music theory. In my 20’s I made a living playing in piano bars all over southern California where I had to play almost every genre that can be played on piano and even some that shouldn’t! This was all by using proper sheet music or lead sheets, sometimes just the lyrics with chord symbols. I also serve as a music director for musical theatre at several colleges and high schools where I am either playing the piano or conducting the pit orchestra. One of the joys of my career has been playing for big fundraisers because those concerts are getting to play for 10 different broadway stars in one evening. I’ve been fortunate to be the accompanist/music director for Carol Channing, Matthew Morrison (Glee), Lindsay Mendez (Tony Winner) and Krysta Rodrigues (Liza Minella in the Halsted Series).
 
Most of my employment has been as a music and theatre educator. I am currently adjunct faculty at Saddleback College, Cypress College and the Young Americans College. I taught at OCSA as well as San Clemente high school. Here’s a list of the courses I’ve taught.
 
College Level High School
Beginning Piano Beginning Acting
Solo Voice Musical Theatre Workshop
Musical Theatre Workshop Audition Tehnique
Audition Techniques Commercial Music Voice
Vocal MasterClass A Cappella Choir
Choir Contemporary Choir
Master Chorale  
   
 
I after teaching for over 10 years I decided that I wanted to have a larger impact on more students. Then I got a job as the executive director of arts and teachers for a chain of performing arts high schools. I was responsible for overseeing all live performance, hiring and training all arts teachers, and developing all curriculum for 3 separate high school campuses. The best part of this job was that I was able to open and brand new performing arts high school with 600 students on opening day! I say all of this because I have worked some prestigious jobs in arts education all without a degree, and I am so grateful that the Berklee program is enabling me to rectify this because I have lost a lot of income along the way without the paper to back me up!  Hopefully a Berklee masters will also be in the cards.
 
Learning Outcomes
 
  • Understand how to read treble clef, bass clef and play simple melodies on the grand staff
  • Understand accidentals and play the black keys on the keyboard
  • Increase your ability to read and play different notes simultaneously
  • Understand and play melodies with major and minor triads in right hand
  • Understand voice leading triads
  • Understand a lead sheet and play chords and bass with left hand
  • Add three-part chords to your playing
  • Understand altered 9ths, 13ths and Blues progressions

Supplemental Material

Pathetique Mov 2

This is a tune I learned in my classical training 20 years. It’s exactly as sloppy as it was back then. But, I wanted to share that I did study piano previously!

Desperado

This tune is to demonstrate playing by using slash chords.. or just the chord symbols really.

Week 01

  • Treble clef notes related to keyboard
  • Right hand keyboard fingering numbers
  • Moving 5-note one hand position to various locations within treble clef
  • Playing a simple treble clef notated melody with right hand

Week 02

  • Bass clef notes related to keyboard
  • Left hand keyboard fingering numbers
  • Moving 5-note one hand position to various locations within bass clef
  • Playing a simple bass clef melody with the left hand
Week 03 – Grand Staff
  • Grand staff notes related to keyboard
  • Moving both hands to various 5-note positions on the grand staff
  • Playing simple one-line melodies with both hands in octaves
  • Playing simple one-line melodies switching hands and clefs

I think week 03/04 can be summed up by the video of Beethoven’s Pathetique Movement #2 video. 

Week 04 – The Black Keys (Accidentals)
  • The black keys of the keyboard – their significance and location
  • Moving hand positions around which include accidentals creating major/minor tonalities
  • Playing simple one-line melodies in octaves which include accidentals
  • Playing simple one-line melodies switching clefs which include accidentals

Shades of Grey

To the right is a video of a musical theatre piece I wrote Called Shades Of Grey. It’s one of the best piano accompaniment parts I have written. The tension everywhere is for her lack of clarity. I am playing in this video even though you can’t see me. I am attaching the sheet music so you can see the voice leading in the accompaniment.

Shades of Grey Sheet Music

Safer
From “First Date” the Musical

This is just a video that I made during the covid shutdown. I was still finding ways to coach my voice students and make videos. This is just me playing mostly the accompaniment on the page with some improv based on the chords. Performer is Braxton McGrath.

The Way It Is
Kamilah Marshall

This is a video with just a lead sheet. Kamilah Marshall is the backup singer for Taylor Swift and Bette Midler. She has also done several broadway shows. She is now a Berklee student as well. I have very little video of myself performing, but here’s a little benefit we did 10 years ago.