Arranging: A Beginner's Guide

Step-by-Step Instructions and Exercises

by Blake R. Henson

Item #: G-9124     Status: Available

Ship for $28.95

Need to adapt an SATB work for your small SAB choir? Have sopranos who can’t sing divisi…but know a great trumpet player who is happy to help out? Need to simplify a viola part for a beginner?

In straightforward, step-by-step fashion, authors Blake Henson and Gerald Custer show how to take a piece of existing music and craft a workable, polished arrangement that meets the needs of your ensemble in the real world.

Arranging: A Beginner’s Guide is full of ideas, examples, and exercises to try out and adapt, grounded in the belief that arranging is not only a necessary skill, it is one that is relatively easy to learn and master. This book is written for conductors, church musicians, teachers, and students at all levels.

Learn how to:

• reconfigure a piece to fit your choral circumstances
• translate your ideas into practical, performable music
• turn a solo song into a choral piece
• write a descant
• transform a piano part into an arrangement for band or strings
• extend a hymn into an anthem with introduction, interludes, and coda
• create within copyright law

With numerous examples and helpful tips—plus humor and insight—this engaging and practical workbook is designed to make the arranging process simple and fun.



“We are generally familiar with an endless supply of songs and sounds. However, as performers and as listeners, we need ways of experiencing this information and inspiration in fresh and new ways for insight, understanding, and sometimes for the important and practical reasons of accessibility. This is at the core of Arranging: A Beginner’s Guide: Step-by Step Instructions and Exercises, and the tools we need to approach informed creativity are systematically outlined in this comprehensive guide to arranging.”
—Tim Sharp, Executive Director
American Choral Directors Association



Sought after for his choral, solo vocal, and orchestral work, Blake Henson has received numerous commissions from choral and instrumental ensembles of all kinds. Dr. Henson is an experienced and popular teacher of theory and composition.

A Grammy-nominated, award-winning composer and arranger with more than 95 works in print and two CDs, Jerry Custer teaches music theory and composition at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Also by Blake Henson and Jerry Custer, available from GIA Publications, Inc.: From Words to Music: A User’s Guide to Text for Choral Musicians (G-8728) and The Composer’s Craft: A Practical Guide for Students and Teachers (G-8533).

Number of Pages: 278

Language: English