The View from the Sacbut Section by Clark Gayton

Musings of a New York musician

Writing Charts and Conducting Effective Rehearsals

Posted by sacbut on August 24, 2010

The whole idea of writing a “chart” or “arrangement” is to save time. SAVE time, not to waste time. How is that done? Well, the first thing to do is learn how to write a chart. 

It’s not always necessary to take a class, but if you can’t get anyone to help you out, the best thing would be to take a class or join a rehearsal band to observe how it’s done. 

Hint – Don’t assume everyone is interested in your music

Most of the time, they’re not. Most folks are just trying to make the gig, meet some musicians, or to look busy. Therefore, half baked charts are a drag for most. 

If you didn’t care enough to write a decent chart, why should anyone care? Crossed out bars, music written on the back of another song, or using faulty materials is a sure way to lose the interest of the player. 

There will always be impromptu charts written on the back of a napkin, but ideally, your music should be written in ink, or by a music program. 

Hint – Find out what a “Coda” is

If you use a program, you still have to learn how to construct a readable chart. Know the appropriate terms and how they are used.

People sit up and pay attention soon as they see a properly written piece of music. Attention drifts when one sees crooked lines or crossed out measures. Just the way it is. 

Hint – Make decisions about your music

A sure fire way to have cats not return your calls is to call rehearsals to go over the same music over and over. If you’re been tweaking the same chart for more than two months, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Make a decision, and live with it. Move on to the next project and see it as a learning process. The next song will be better. 

Hint – Have articulation and rehearsal letters on the chart

Don’t have articulation on the parts? If you don’t, you’ll have to explain how you want the notes played – a classic way to get everyone to mumble under their breath!

Hint – Triple check your parts

Look for accidental mistakes and missing measures. You won’t catch all of them, but at least give it a try. Transposition mistakes are very common, but a drag just the same.

Quality musicians will play whatever you have with style and beauty, but you never know who will be reading your music, that’s why it’s best to nothing for granted. It’s in YOUR interest. 

When your musicians see a thought-out arrangement, they’ll find it easier to listen to what you’ve written, and be happy to play it.  Your reputation as a good writer will spread quickly and you’ll find musicians looking forward to working with you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: