Arranging Music

By  GALA Expert 

 November 19, 2023 



Heard a great song that you want to arrange for your chorus? Here are some steps to take before arranging a piece of music.

  • Listen or play through the piece carefully to determine if it will really work well for chorus. There are many fantastic songs written for a soloist that do not transfer well to a choral arrangement. See Chris Rowbury’s tips below on selecting songs to arrange.
  • Post a note on the GALA AD discussion list to ask if the piece you are considering has already been arranged!
  • JW Pepper is a large distributor of choral music. Also check their website to see if an arrangement exists.
  • Secure permission to arrange the song from the copyright holder. Make sure this permission is in writing and file it carefully for future reference. See Copyright & Licensing.
  • Select a composer that is skilled at arranging. See Commissioning for composer resources.
  • Negotiate a contract in writing. See Commissioning for contract templates.
  • Review a draft and make sure it works for your chorus before signing off on the final version.
  • Print the arrangement making sure that that the permission to arrange and copyright holder are clearly identified on the first page.
  • Note that once a piece is arranged the copyright for that arrangement remains with the original copyright holder unless otherwise specified. No other chorus may reproduce or perform the arrangement you have created without permission from the original copyright holder. See Copyright & Licensing.

Resources for Arranging Choral Music

From the Front of the Choir– Chris Rowbury
Check out this practical blog with tips on selecting songs and arranging music

Arranging Quick Tips – Tim Sarsany

“We have the opportunity to create new music that tells our story as LGBT singers. Do it right and utilized the right resources/composer to make sure your arrangement is a quality piece of music that you will be proud to share in the choral world”.

– Jane Ramseyer Miller, Artistic Director