by Laura Byrd
It’s December 19th, and Christmas is only 6 days away. SERIOUSLY!?! You may be like me and Christmas ALWAYS sneaks up on you. Always. You would think by now I would have gotten the hang of it! Nope. By this time you are probably also very tired of hearing Christmas music, however I wanted to introduce you to a NEW arrangement J.R. composed for the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” It is catchy, and I dare you to NOT tap your foot. Arranging covers and songs that are well-known are a great way to get views on YouTube, and most importantly showing your fans and other musicians your arranging prowess! I challenge you to arrange a new Christmas song with that in mind!
Remember these Three Rules: (by no means an exhaustive list!)
- Do something VERY different. If you just play the same melody, rhythms, and chords with only a small change here and there, you might as well have not done anything! Make it YOURS. When I hear arranged covers/songs I always see if it has the artist’s SOUND: the original sound the artist is trying to write to create a consistent musical environment. Without that, I usually dismiss it.
- Play a different instrument. So you want to cover Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t?” Why not play it on the piano instead of the guitar? Don’t play another instrument? LEARN! I picked up both the cello and bass for a couple of months (I haven’t practiced though and have lost those skills, sadly.) You can learn an instrument fairly easily if you are a good musician and stick with it.
- Write it down. I see so many musicians that cannot read music. They are a musician and can’t read music? This has never made sense to me, and I absolutely don’t understand why some indie artists say this proudly. If you were an accountant, would you tell your client you aren’t very good at math? NO! Ranting aside, write down your music using Finale or just pencil and staff paper. If you don’t know how, take some theory lessons. You may say, “Well, its past that time.” No, it’s not! I am a firm believer in being a lifetime learner. Who cares if your 40 or 50 or 90? Our age is just a number! You can learn anything knew, you just have to push aside your pride. If you are a driven aspiring musician, you will know or learn how to write your ideas down for other musicians to easily play at a glance. (No Chord Charts!) Don’t be intimidated. It’s just like learning the ABC’s but with notes! You can do it.
Thinking of all my readers out there as we all travel, get last-minute Christmas gifts, stress out over seeing family, and eat sweets till our stomachs hurt! I always have to remember that it’s not about thee gifts, celebrations, and parties, it’s a time to spend quality time with those you love. We wish you a love-filled, peaceful, and joyous Holiday! Have a safe and Happy Holidays and don’t forget to play some Holiday songs along the way!
Love, Peace, and Light,