Better measure layout = better reading

When you're handing about parts for a new tune, the easier they are to read, the better your tune will be performed. 

With that in mind, this article is the first in a series intended to show you easy ways to make major improvements to your parts. 

Posted on August 17, 2015 .

The Vocal is King (just don't tell your singer)

Well, it's true: when you're arranging a chart for a vocalist, everything you write has to serve and support the vocal melody.

This article contains a nice list of specific suggestions to help you stay on track while you're writing your next vocal-soloist chart. And, of course, there's a score and mp3 to check out with concrete examples for you to...
Posted on September 18, 2012 and filed under Arranging & Composing.

Write smart horn charts

Have you ever been in a situation in which you had to arrange horn parts for a song that already worked just fine without horns? I've played in a horn band for years, so I've done this to songs by Bon Jovi, Little Big Town, Journey, Sara Bareilles, and Rascal Flatts, to name a few. And, last year I wrote horn parts for the recording project of Blues musician John "JT" Thompson.

In this post you can check out the BEFORE track (rhythm section & scratch vocals) and the AFTER track (final mix with horn section, back-up vocals, etc). I'll also tell you a little bit about my process.
Posted on August 21, 2012 and filed under Arranging & Composing.

Efficient Arranging II: Nelson Riddle

Responding to my previous post (Holy...Batman), several folks asked more about writing economically. I suggested checking out Nelson Riddle. In this post, we'll take a look at a classic Nelson Riddle arrangement. I'll tell you what I find in this arrangement — perhaps you'll hear other stuff? Watch this video...
Posted on September 1, 2011 and filed under Arranging & Composing.

Holy Crankin' 'Em Out, Batman!

In hindsight, I'm not quite sure how I did this: arranging 10 charts for vocalist and big band. In about 2.5 or 3 weeks. That's not all. I somehow also managed to sleep, bathe, exercise, be present (more or less) for my family, and take care of basic domestic responsibilities. I'm not known for having exemplary time-management skills, but...
Posted on August 19, 2011 and filed under Arranging & Composing, News & Performances.