First-time arrangements, Third Installment

~I wholeheartedly support all kinds of research that you can do before putting notes to a page. Steal ideas! Save yourself time! Don’t reinvent the wheel with every new arrangement, especially if you’re cutting your teeth for the first time.

~Ostinatos, or repeated bits of music, make teaching and retaining a lot easier…so you should do it! Do a single measure motif, then repeat it for a section. Every part can have a different ostinato (which makes it sound flashy), but it drastically cuts down on the amount of material you need to devise.

~What may seem less important than notes- the dynamics, shaping, and syllables- are just as important as the notes. Don’t forget them.

~Be enthusiastic about yoru arrangement, even if it’s your first. Attitude changes a lot, even if it’s a crummy arrangement. If you come in tentative, your singers will be tentative, and your performance will be tentative. Tentative performances suck.

~Try to avoid putting the highest notes of the arrangement near the beginning or middle. Let them be a literal high-point near the end of the arrangement.

~Arrangements take time. It’s ok if you’re spending hours and hours on it. That’s normal! Just keep working until you believe that it is ready- don’t try to finish it in an hour.

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