I asked the members of Trumpet With Real Gigs if anyone could give me some tips on arranging music.

Josh Rzepka took a break from his practicing to give me some advice and a big push in the right direction. I thought I'd pass his knowledge bomb along to you.

  1. Practice the piano on a regular basis. Your piano skills will make everything easier.
  2. Most of the arranging that Josh has done has been out of necessity. Maybe he had a gig coming up where there needed to be some horn parts written out. Before you get started, ask yourself what the purpose of the piece will be.
  3. Arranging is all about making decisions. Josh asked me what I was working on and I told him that I wanted to do an arrangement of a song that I love so I can play it in my jazz combo and I have a lead sheet. He said that one of the first decisions is to choose how to make it your own, slightly different than the recording. Wouldn't it sound cool like this?
  4. The next question is who will be playing this? If you are arranging it for a group that you play in, take the strengths and weaknesses of the players into consideration. Write parts that your band-mates will sound great on. Write in a way that accentuates the positive. Like if the 2nd trumpet sounds amazing on the flugelhorn but doesn't like to play high write out a beautiful melody in a comfortable range.
  5. Choose a section and reinvent it completely.
  6. Decide what mood you want and what sound density you want to achieve. Do you want a thicker and harsher sound or a more open sound? Your chord voicing will help you create that sound (but that's where the piano playing comes in).

It was so cool of Josh to share his knowledge with me over the phone... I am ready to get my arranging project done.

And I am blown away by the talent that is in our trumpet tribe. Everyone has something that they can teach.
And if you can figure out how to package that information into a product that you can sell, you can make a lot of money and have plenty of time to practice and do your own thing.

What can you teach?

In the next week I'll be sending some more information on how to make a great living online with your music.

You might already be selling courses and products online. Or maybe you have a ways to go before you're ready to do that.

There's one simple step that will take you in the right direction. Start a blog.

James is offering a course that shows you how to get a blog up and running. The course is only $1 and is lays out a lot of information so that you can start a blog that will actually help you build a career and make money with your music.

Talk to you tomorrow,