creating arrangements1

As a child, I heard people play or sing songs with five or more verses—every verse the same dirge-like tempo, same key, same inflections… The intent of the songs deserved better. I wanted to arrange songs to reflect the message and engage the listener. Now I help my students create arrangements as well.

Start Simply

A very young student might play/sing only one note differently. It’s a start! Perhaps a vocal student has a two-verse song. She goes through the melody twice and ends. Ask her if she can think of a way to change the ending to have more impact. If she can’t think of anything, give an example and have her try it.

Play a repeated passage two ways: once identically and once with a change. Ask which version held his interest, or would keep an audience engaged.

Students singing together might start singing harmony by splitting to a third only on the final note. Starting simply might mean simply making them aware.


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PRSLet me come clean with you: I’m an addict! I’m completely addicted to learning!

But isn’t it frustrating when we keep forgetting things that we want to remember and yet we can’t forget unimportant matters from our past.

So why do our brains forget? And more importantly, how can we teach our minds and the minds of our music students to remember the important things? [···]

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