Jeffrey Bowen has been creating show choir arrangements for over 30 years and has serviced schools from coast to coast as well as Europe and Australia. With nearly 2,000 show choir arrangements to its credit and over 200 Grand Champion and 1st Runner Up winners since 2016, Music Arrangement Services continues to offer high quality music arrangements for competition show choirs.
1. Please describe your basic setup. (Your technical setup as well as the physical space that you work in.)
HP Desktop, two screens with a Keystation 49 key control keyboard. I’ve been a lifelong Finale user, but also have Sibelius. Always on headphones due to sharing a workspace with my spouse. We both work in a home office (about 10 x 12) near downtown Indianapolis.
2. What is your process for brainstorming or inspiration-seeking as you start a new arrangement?
I encourage directors to provide a lot of notes and ideas for each arrangement. I generally jump right in and during development will get some “let’s try this” ideas and share those with the director. Often times (as you know), the director wants an edge on the arrangement, that aspect that makes it stand out. After doing this for 30+ years, I find it easier to construct the “show choir” highlights into an arrangement.
3. What is your go-to snack and/or drink when arranging?
Coffee (morning: one regular, one to two decaf. Repeat after lunch!) and lots of water. Snack is yogurt and mixed nuts.
4. What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started arranging?
To ALWAYS think outside the box and be more creative. Someone will be interested in an old arrangement and I’ll update it and think… “Wow, I could have done SO much more with that…”
5. What is your favorite shortcut or time-saving trick in your notation software?
I love this question!! Probably the explode feature (edit tool). You can write half a song’s horn parts on the top line then explode them onto the other horns. There’s a little more to it than that, but that comes in very handy. I’m a detail guy, so often times I’ll copy the band parts for a verse or chorus, but then make a few changes the second time around. I’m like that when I’m performing – make the second verse/chorus a little different.