Category Archives: Free Lessons

Left Hand Arpeggios: Using the 9th

Every time I give tips about writing/arranging, I pinch myself. I still can’t believe anybody wants to read what I have to say about the topic. I sincerely feel unqualified to run a blog dedicated to music. Regardless of what I think about it, a lot of people do come here for help. I am […]

Modulation in “Does Jesus Care”

As many of you have noticed, I don’t modulate very much. The main reason I don’t modulate much is because I really don’t find it very necessary or helpful a lot of the time. In general, if there is no compelling reason to do something, I won’t. I should note that when I am talking […]

Why Moving in Thirds is Not Ideal and Why I Did it Anyway

One of the decisions I made in my recent arrangement of “Crown Him With Many Crowns” was to intentionally break some of my own rules (or at least rules I have stolen from others). For example, consider this: Look at the roots of the chords and you will note that I am moving in thirds. […]

How to Use the Half-Diminished Chord

Someone recently mentioned to me that I have never really discussed the half diminished chord and how to use it –and I realized they are right. I want to remedy that over a short series of two posts. As a quick reminder, a half diminished chord is a stack of 4 notes that are separated […]

Arranging for Dummies (Part 2)

Last week, I discussed a simple idea behind arranging and today, we are going to start taking a look at it in action. Our example is last month’s arrangement, “Just As I Am,” for the arrangement club. To start, let’s talk about the song itself. When I was young, this song was what we called an “invitation” […]