The Vault: Writing and Arranging Free Lessons

As you grow in your understanding of music, you will eventually want to start writing your own. The free lessons on this page deal with aspects of writing such as texture, form, shape, and style and philosophy.


The importance of the number four
Cool chords to end a song with
Video Lesson: How to end a song
Improving the ending to a song
A cool tag
Ending a song on a IV chord (other thoughts)
The turnaround in music (Part 1)
The turnaround in music (Part 2)
A cool alternate ending
Explanation of “When the Saints”
Discussing Heirloom (the song)
Shaping an arrangement
Nashville charts
Developing a musical introduction (Part 1)
Developing a musical introduction (Part 2)


The 2nd/9th as a filler in arpeggios and runs
Video Lesson: I Surrender All
Video Lesson: He Leadeth Me (Part 1)
Video Lesson: He Leadeth Me (Part 2)
Cross rhythm
Video Lesson: Cross rhythm
Grace notes
Open arpeggios
Counterpoint ideas
Words about motion
The push
Drop voicing
Four ways to improve left hand arpeggios
Technical analysis of “Come Ye Thankful People Come”
Analyzing “Hiding in Thee” (Part 1)
Analyzing “Hiding in Thee” (Part 2)
Parallel fifths
Pedal point
Demo: syncopation in “All Hail the Power”


Video Lesson:  “Shall We Gather at the River”
Video Lesson: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Hook development
Making a hook interesting
Analysis of Heaven Came Down from Portraits of Hope
Explaining “I Will Arise”


Arranging for dummies (Part 1)
Arranging for dummies (Part 2)
Arranging for dummies )Part 3)
Repetition vs development
Understanding dissonance
Introduction to arranging and improvising 
Photography tip for the piano
Arranging is storytelling
Shock value is overrated
Development thoughts
Arranging tips
Arranging advice from C. S. Lewis
Introduction to arranging and improvising 
Development thoughts
Tip for writing: develop or stay consistent?
How to write and arrange faster
Song arc: Telling a story
Pros and cons of medleys
Arranging efficiently
How long does it take me to write an arrangement


Video Lesson: Relating melody to harmony
Matching harmony to melody (Part 1)
Matching harmony to melody (Part 2)
What makes a melody good or bad?
Do you always need to hear the melody in your arrangements?
How to write more interesting music
Starting with harmony instead of melody
Shaping a melody

Analyzing Arrangements

Like a River Glorious (discusses melody, a chord progression, and inner voice movement)
Praise Him, Praise Him (discusses form and development)
When We All Get To Heaven (discusses development)
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah (discusses hooks, harmony, and inner voice movement)
Soul Rest (discusses form and philosophy)
MasterBuilder (discusses quartal voicing and cross rhythm)


Masters Series: Arranging with James Koerts