What do Arrangers do?An Arranger will rewrite of a piece of existing music with additional new material or flesh out an existing idea or sketch for a singer, a group of performers or other music ensembles. A successful Arranger will work collaboratively with the writer with the aim of bringing out what the writer was trying to convey when they wrote it. They may make changes in the style, arrangement, or instrumentation and will add finishing touches and do the creative mixing.
One of the most important skills of a good Arranger is the ability to interpret these ideas and provide creative inspiration when desired. The writer, producer or music director will set guidelines on how a composition or song should be treated. A good Arranger is the one who listens and works within these guidelines but is also able to make adjustments that will make the piece more effective.
An Arranger will usually work on a freelance basis, often from their own studio, to meet the needs of an artist, a group of musicians, a conductor, producer or music director. They will ensure that every aspect of a music piece is well harmonised, from the instruments down to the tempo. The music that an Arranger works on may either be a new original piece or an already existing music for which a new arrangement is required.
Some music Arrangers may work for an agency or company providing a range of services to musicians. An Arranger will be a musician and generally know how to play several instruments. They will have a good grasp of music theory, able to read and write music, be able to transpose and transcribe and have a strong background in orchestration, harmony and composition.
Arrangers will depend on word of mouth for a lot of their work. Contacts in the music industry, developing networks and building up a portfolio and reputation will all be important in securing work. Some Arrangers develop their career to become composers or producers, others get job satisfaction and can have a lucrative career as Arrangers.