Setting the right mindset to create Song arrangements

First, I will share some information about myself to tell you how I developed these skills. I have a master’s degree in Music performance from UWM Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had the opportunity to study with renowned guitarist Rene Izquierdo. Rene made us create an arrangement and an etude every semester as a requirement to pass the course for a master’s degree. Before this, I used to compose music during my bachelor’s degree in Puerto Rico. Somehow, writing music gave me the opportunity to experiment with the guitar. All this together gave me just a little confidence to give it a try. The more you do it, the easier it gets. It is just about practice.

First Arrangement

My first Zelda arrangement was the Ocarina of time Main title. It is one of my favorites, and it sounds so perfect for the guitar. I began to do this because I wanted to create a youtube channel to record my classical music repertoire. But of course, life took another way, and I ended up just doing Zelda covers for a while. My second arrangement was Zelda Lullaby, and I was still not strong with making covers. It was not until I did Midna’s Lament that I decided to create videos and make this a part of my life. Obviously, with ups and downs, but here we are. Why Midna’s Lament? Well, this song was definitely a challenge. Doing the accompaniment and melody at the same time was very difficult. But, I decided to take my time on it. Little by little, I was able to put something together. Then, once I posted the video, a fair amount of people began to watch the video. That obviously motivated me a lot!

What is the right mentality to create a musical arrangement?

To create an arrangement, you need to set the right mentality. I always tell myself, you can create a cover from all songs! Everything can be arranged. You just need to do it little by little. There is no other way. I have a set of songs that I always take as a challenge and tell myself if I do this, I’m going to reach a new level. This happened with Midna’s Lament, Zelda Dungeon, Ecruteak City as well Eterna Forest. Those are arrangements that took a lot of patience and dedication. But I always had the mentality to do it!! And yes, in the end, I was able to do it. Now I believe everything is doable.

Song selection

In the moment of choosing a song, if you are beginning, I would prefer a song that you really love. That way, you can stay motivated. The first songs are essential. Once you become more confident and familiar, then you decide to challenge yourself. In my situation, I began with Zelda because I love soundtracks. It gives me so much nostalgia. Then I began to open my selection for all video games. Most of the time, my Patreon community decides what song I do next, and that’s great. It became more comfortable not to make a decision on what to do next. Also, I love creating arrangements and seeing that people enjoy them. I’m glad I began to do this.

pexels cottonbro 4709825
Photo by cottonbro: https://www.pexels.com/photo/musical-notes-on-brown-wooden-table-4709825/

What is the first thing I do once the song is selected?

The first option is to look for a piano score on Musescore.com. Why Musescore? Well, there you have the opportunity to download the score in a file that I can use with Sibelius software. What happens when I don’t find it there? Well, I try the second option which is to look everywhere. I used the piano score with an F clef and try to read it that way. Often times I use ensemble sheet music. If I can’t find anything, then the last option is to do it by ear. Later on, I’m going to explain all the options in more detail.

When things don’t go the way you want them.

Sometimes when I choose the last version, it takes me very long to create an arrangement. Sometimes I’m tired, and well, It takes more time to practice the music. Sometimes I just get burned out, but I try everything I can and somehow get energy from somewhere. The main goal is that when you find the way you are going to do the cover, you try to arrange it little by little. Again, little by little. Something that comes up a lot in my mind during the process is “how the hell is going to end up?” or “Is creating this cover possible?”. Sometimes, I think that I can’t do it. In many cases, I stop working on the song for some days because I lose all motivation. But then, I sit back and set the “mindset” and begin to do it little by little. It would be best if you took breaks. When you don’t have more ideas, or feel stuck, then take a break. You need to breathe; you need to begin again.

Check out other blogs for more information about the guitar, equipment, and other general stuff.

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