How to become a good song arranger

good song arranger

A good melody indeed makes a good song, but as you probably know, just a pretty melody is not enough to turn your track into a hit. Of course, if you want your track to have the slightest chances of success, you need to make a good arrangement, mix and master it. If you need help with mixing and mastering, check out But even with mixing and mastering, the greatest melody will lose its potential if it is suffocated by poor arrangement.

So let’s start with discussing what is music arrangement. We can say, that arranging implies combining different musical elements to make the track sound good and convey the underlying message. If you strive to do arranging for your tracks, it will be easier for you to achieve the desired effect because you already know what style and vibe you are striving for. But if you want to do it as a career, you have to learn to, first of all, understand and then convey the ideas of your clients.

Now that we’ve talked about the general notion of music arrangement let’s dive deeper into the subject and see what skills you have to develop to become good at this. First and foremost, learn music theory. If you want to be effective at arranging, you will need to know more than basic music theory. It will make you more quick and productive, as you will understand what you want the piece of music to sound like. It is also very important to understand harmony and create it purposefully and masterfully. The thing is, sometimes the song needs a little uncertainty or disharmony to convey its meaning, so you have to know how to keep the balance and how to disrupt it without making the song sound wrong. Besides, there are many ways to bring harmony. Some will work better than others, and to know which road to take, you need to understand music theory.

Be tech-savvy. Long gone are the days when you could write the whole track using one instrument such as guitar or piano. Even if it is still possible to do so, now, you need to make basic sound processing to perfect the sound. Let alone such genres as hip hop and EDM, where tracks are written, using mostly laptops. So you should learn how to use the DAW, how to arrange your tracks in the program, and how to do basic sound processing. Your clients will definitely expect you to deliver them a demo before moving to the next stage, so this knowledge is necessary for you to be successful in this field.

Be a good organizer. Arranging is very similar to organizing or planning. Your task is to think through every section of the song (verse, chorus e.t.c.) and plan out what instruments come in and where. Your task is to take the pieces of information provided by the client and turn them into a coherent track where everything is at its place.

And finally, you need to hear your client, understand their requirements, and give them exactly what they‘ve been looking for. Even if your vision of the song is opposite to the vision of your client, their idea and requirements always come first. That’s why you have to develop your social skills as well as hard skills.

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