Big Band Composition

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Course Description

Welcome to my class on Big Band Composition! You may be wondering, why big band? Writing for big band prepares you for any ensemble in almost any
context. After completing just one big band chart, you will have taken a huge step forward into the world of composition and arranging. In this class you will:

  • Learn to set up a score correctly, about a variety of transposition rules and clefs for different instruments, listen and analyze classic big band repertoire, and chart structure;
  • Analyze a sax soli, write your own sax soli, and learn different woodwind voicing techniques (including drop 2);
  • Analyze a shout section, write your own shout section for 13 horns, and learn large ensemble voicing techniques (including open and closed voicings);
  • Learn how to write and edit parts for the rhythm section including guitar, piano, drums, and bass;
  • Learn how to find YOUR unique voice by balancing tradition vs. innovation;*Included in this course are range sheets for instruments, list of transposing instruments, “things to avoid while writing” compiled from some of NYC finest musicians and writers, and recording recommendations (discography) of classic big band recordings.

    Basic knowledge needed for this class:

  • Music writing software (Finale or Sibelius)
  • Medium to advanced knowledge of harmony
  • Basic composition skillsAlso helpful:
    1. Basic piano skills
    2. Some knowledge of classic big band repertoire