The Craft of Accompaniment – Read more

Transform Your Song

Transform Your Strumming With Applied Arranging Techniques 

Q & A

Before enrollment students must undergo a free interview to assess their skills.

These are some of the questions asked.

“Ed Sheeran ?”

Olivia is a singer songwriter and generally performs and records playing her acoustic guitar. 

I would like to sound nicer, more creative when I am accompanying my vocal line with open string chords, like Ed Sheeran does and not strum as much. How can I learn to do  this?

Arranging Techniques

You can copy Ed Sheeran and create something similar or instead learn all your options and then choose what you prefer to layer.

Are there a classification of options? 

Yes, chords can be played with one, two notes or more at a time, with

Open or closed triads
Long and short tensions, in top middle and inner voices
Ascending , descending bass lines
Open or closed triads
Voice leading

What you can do is already out there in text books of arranging and orchestration but not the how to do it while someone is singing. This is a craft you will learn.

But you are the vocalist and you have the biggest advantage as you can sing the song and play the chord options at the same time and naturally you will choose what sounds good. If not, you will not be able to express yourself.

The big problem occurs if you’re not accustomed to singing the melody while you choose as you will not have the melody present and you will get in its way, by choosing options that will not allow your vocals to shine as they should .

Don’t miss out!

Get your promotional FREE 30 min assessment and experience the course

“I Get in the Way of the Piano”

Micheal plays the guitar in a band

I play in a band and when I strum I get bored and nothing happens and when I try to do something else I just get in the way of the piano, the bass ect and the other guitarists. What can I do? 

Two Sustained Chords One Sound

The general rule is that when you have two sustained harmonies, for example the piano and you, naturally when you play chords they become one sound and you will not hear yourself with clarity and should not.

So you need to break away from this option of layering sustained sounds and explore other arranging techniques applied to real time accompaniment.

You can do this quickly by studying my courses  or by transcribing what Hendrix, Clapton, Benson, Jimmy Page , Bb King do, understanding the how and what they play behind the vocals, and I am not talking about fills, I am talking about how they create the groove.

What they do, the tools they use, are already classified into concepts found in arranging.

In my courses you will learn the craft of how to apply them and go for it. 

Where it all Started, My Story 

play- the- guitar-like-a-piano-player

I have always felt music to be the magical pathway that connects space and time with others. 
I do believe music is better when we do it together as all things in life are. So I love creating music live in bands or duos. 
When I started playing in bands I always felt frustrated by a lack of clarity between the rhythm section and the vocals. In contrast when I listened to the bands I adored as: Micheal Jackson, Prince, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd,  I always heard great clarity and group coordination delivered with simplicity and I wanted my band to sound like these guys. 

Meet Your Teacher

I am the published author of the leading textbook on Arranging and Orchestration in the Spanish language. .

El Arreglo un puzzle de Expresión Musical Thomas Lorenzo

When we covered a song , our band would sound great but when we did our own originals once again I would just hear a wall of sound behind the vocals. 

It was not About our Musicianship

So I knew it was not about our musicianship nor sound engineering but about the choices we made to play chords and the groove, basically the band sound, which is what all the artists I love are about.

I learnt that the solution was in arranging and orchestration which is basically organizing what each member of a band has to do, but these techniques were developed for big bands and orchestras and not for the rhythm section,  but  Quincy Jones with Micheal Jackson and George Martin with the Beatles were applying them and the bands were sounding awesome.

Berklee College of Music

I had to learn more so I went to Quincy Jones school, I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston U.S.A and finished my studies in arranging under the supervision of the Grammy Award winner Bob Freedman. 

He taught me that the secret as an arranger lies in helping each individual sound great in a group setting with a minimal guidance that can allow them to play with clarity and spontaneity.

I started applying these techniques to my rhythm sections and my playing. In summary each individual has to define the groove and the harmony but in relation to the vocals. There you have to sing the melody and play the part and if it works well,  it will work in the band. 

This works fine with bass lines, riffs and counterlines but sustained harmony is another world as two chords played at the same time become one and that is why strumming doesn’t provide clarity.

How to solve this?

Play chords with a melodic value but once again the proof of if you’re doing right will be if you can sing the vocal line at the same time and if you are defining the groove . If not you will interfere with the band. So you have to learn to think horizontally.

This is a craft you learn with hands on training and guidance and this is what these courses are all about. 

The How to Sound good.

Spanish Society of Authors

A few years after completing Berklee I was commissioned by the Spanish Society of Authors to write the text book on arranging and orchestration  called El Arrgelo Un Puzzle de Expresión musical  where you  study all the possible tools or techniques. These courses teach you the craft of how to apply them from the point of view of the guitarist.

Don’t miss out!

Get your promotional FREE 30 min assessment and experience the course