How to Become an Arranger

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Musical arrangement is essential for the music industry as it involves matching written composition with a variety of musical elements. Arrangers are music professionals that organize pieces of music for a variety of performers, groups, and ensembles.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does an arranger do?

Arrangers transcribe and adapt a variety of musical compositions to a specific musical style. They work with many different individuals, orchestras, choral groups, and bands and create musical pieces based on specific requirements and needs. They often work on original and existing pieces of music. They determine the harmonic structure, instrument, voice, tempo, tone, and rhythm to create the desired effect. They ensure all musical elements are well harmonized and frequently consult with clients and other musical professionals to make the necessary adjustments to make the musical piece more effective. Arrangers use a variety of equipment such as many different instruments, computer software, synthesizers, microphones, and mixers. The equipment often varies depending on the needs of the client and the specialty of the arranger. Some arrangers concentrate on a specific type of music such as jazz, classical, and pop.

What kind of training does an arranger need?

Arrangers must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer applicants with some formal musical training. Prospective arrangers typically complete courses in a variety of musical styles, music theory, composition, music interpretation, and arrangement styles. Arrangers must also have a solid understanding of copyright laws to ensure they do not give up their rights. Many arrangers complete internships to gain practical experience in the field. Arrangers must complete continuing education and additional training to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast on the advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as an arranger?

Employment of music arrangers is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for music will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with strong competition. Arrangers with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace arrangers that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.

How much do arrangers make?

As of January 2010, the average annual salary for arrangers is $66,000; average annual arranger salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as an arranger is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong passion for music and creating a variety of musical arrangements for many different purposes. Arrangers must have a solid knowledge of a variety of musical styles and the ability to read and write music. Good musical abilities, creativity, and a good ear are necessary characteristics. Arrangers must have excellent communication and the ability to work with a variety of clients and other professionals. They must display originality and be flexible when creating musical arrangements.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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