Re-opening for Arrangement Commissions

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This is an up-dated version of the post I wrote last time I was inviting new arrangement requests. The main changes are the dates and some additional info about logistics

Having cleared my backlog of bespoke arrangements, I am now inviting requests for new ones. I’ll be looking for about 12 to do between May and October – so, if I get up to 12 requests, I’ll do all of them, but if I get more I’ll have to pick which ones to do. This post is, firstly, to talk about the logistics of the process, and secondly to explain how I’ll make the choices if that becomes necessary.

So, first the key dates:

Please get your requests to me by Thursday 21 April 2011 and I will let you know by the end of the month if you’ve been scheduled, and for when. At that point I will ask for a deposit to secure the arrangement slot, and if you don't get back to me within 2 weeks I'll offer it to someone else.

If you’ve already been in touch trying to get ahead of the game, you’ll need to send me your request again as I have no way of knowing if you’re still interested unless you tell me you are!

When you make a request, please include the following information:

  • The song. If you’re not entirely sure, feel free to send two or three youtube links and I’ll be happy to advise which is likely to work best for your needs, but just a request for, say ‘a contest uptune’ is too vague. If you find yourself struggling at all with song selection, have a look at my recent post on the matter – it’s aimed at arrangers but the processes it describes work perfectly well for ensembles too.
  • Tell me about the ensemble: size, experience level, aims, personality. The more I know about you, the better I can tailor the arrangement to fit you. Again, if there are any youtube clips of you performing that can offer a lot of insight into how best to arrange for you.
  • Tell me about what you want the arrangement for. Contest? Show opener? Novelty afterglow number? And why you picked it. I can bring your vision to life – so tell me about your vision.
  • Tell me about any timescale constraints. If you need it by a certain date to learn it for a specific occasion I need to know that before I draw up my schedule! Also, let me know if you will still be interested in it if I can’t fit it into that timescale – if everyone wants theirs done during May I might have to disappoint somebody…

Now, if I have more arrangement requests than slots, I’ll be deciding which ones to go for using the following criteria:

  1. Which ones look the most interesting? (Where ‘interesting’ involves a combination of both my response to the music itself and the technical/artistic challenges the project presents me as an arranger.)
  2. What combination of projects will give a balanced six months of work? (Where ‘balance’ involves variety of musical style, of technical difficulty, and of type of ensemble – quartet/small chorus/large chorus, experienced/inexperienced, male/female.)

And that’s it. You can read nothing more into the choices than that. Specifically, criteria that will have no impact whatsoever include:

  • How many times you’ve asked me in the last six months about it (I already told you I wasn’t keeping a waiting list, and why.)
  • How much I like you. (I am blessed with more friends than I could possibly arrange for; and when I get a request from someone I don’t yet know, they usually end up becoming a new friend too.)
  • Whether I’ve arranged for you before. (It’s fun building on established relationships and it’s fun forming new relationships.)

Actually, there is one more factor I will take into account: if you have previously commissioned an arrangement from me and it’s not yet in performance, I’ll put you to the back of the queue. As you already have new material in hand, it would be nice to give someone else the chance to get some too while you get yours into production.

As I say, all this is only an issue if I have more than about a dozen requests – if I can fit everybody in who asks, then I will!

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