Advanced Contemporary Arranging Techniques – MUSC 525

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 06/08/2022

Course Description

This course is designed to teach and develop advanced skills of arranging for vocal and instrumental ensembles. Chord chart writing and arranging techniques relevant to the rhythm section (keyboards, bass, guitar, drums, and percussion) and contemporary rhythmic idioms will be explained and studied. Students will be expected to demonstrate skill in scoring for rhythm sections, orchestras, vocalists, and choirs.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


There is a growing need for worship leaders and pastors of worship to write and arrange songs strategically for the unique needs of their congregations. These worship arrangers need an understanding of the principles of arranging as well as significant “hands on” experience in contemporary worship music styles, including vocal, choral, and instrumental groups. These creative arrangers need to write for large and small ensemble groups.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Arrange a rhythm chart for a contemporary worship band.
  2. Compose a rhythm chart for a contemporary worship band.
  3. Write arrangements using rhythm, vocal, wind, brass, and stringed instruments.
  4. Write for the characteristics of individual instruments and sections of instruments.

Course Assignment

Readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words.

Assignments (8)

The student will create musical scores and arrangements. Each assignment must demonstrate a working knowledge of the course Learn materials.

Final Project Assignment

The student will create a full-length arrangement of a worship song, hymn, or original song (with approval of the instructor), including appropriate vocal, rhythm, and orchestral parts. There will be a choice of style: worship (or original) 3-part vocals with sweetening orchestration, or hymn (or original) 4-part vocals with symphonic orchestration. The arrangement will be a minimum of 36 measures with orchestral accompaniment. Transposed individual parts with specifications are required.