Arranging fees and advice

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by stopher, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. stopher

    stopher Member

    I have just been asked by the Senior management in school to arrange all the music for the school production for the Big Band and to charge the going rate for doing.

    I know I haver to get permission before doing any arrangements and that there are around 18 songs that I would have to do!

    Now I've done a bit of arranging before but never charged or did it for a few beers or as a favour. Any idea what the going rate is (is it per bar or whole job lot)

    Any advice gratefully received



    I can;t say what the musical is as I know there are a few people on here connected with the school and I cant announce what it is yet!
  2. Texus

    Texus Member

    Howdy. The usual going rate for arranging transcriptions is £50 a chart - at least thats what myself and a few others i know charge for it. For 18 + charts i suggest that you strike somesort of deal.
    Be careful of copyright!!!!!
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I would have thought that the only proper advice is to contact the Musician's Union (British Music Writer's Council section) for guidance.
  4. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    They'll probably only help if you are a member!
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    But if one is going to charge 'official' rates for doing this kind of work, surely it's in one's interest to become a member ...
  6. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    If the school have asked you to arrange the music, I would insist that they contact the publishers themselves and get the necessary permissions. When - and only when - you have seen written proof to arrange/transcribe the music then negotiate a deal with the school to undertake the arrangements.

    It may be worth noting that copyright permissions can take several months to secure and if you are looking at 18 titles, then make sure you leave plenty of time to choose another show if permissions are not granted!

    Good luck

  7. SteveT

    SteveT Member

    The point is that as long as you have copyright permission... (Good luck). Arranging 18 numbers is going to be time consuming. So I would say charge for your time at whatever your normal rate of pay is an hour. That'll teach em! (Pardon the pun)!

    Also, insure yourself against your eyes dropping out and getting writer's cramp! Even with Sibelius it's a long job!

    I have done this kind of thing for next to nothing for too many years!
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  8. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    To be quite frank with you, if you are doing it in your own time then I think you are a bit stupid. It will take an age to do and when are you going to do your marking and preparation - not to mention have a life?

    I'm coming to an arrangement (pun intended) with my SLT to have time off timetable. There's no way I'd do a full time job and then do the arranging on top. I'm asking for a total of about 15 days off work so I can work on it steadily rather than trying to do it piecemeal. This year's show has about three times as many songs as last year and runs to over a hundred pages of piano score, so there's no way I'd be prepared to use up all my life outside school no matter what they paid me.

    Remember the work-life balance that the unions fought so hard for? You're risking losing it!

    Also, I agree about the written statement from your SLT that they have obtained full copyright permission from the owners. And I'd insist before putting finger to keyboard. If you get caught without permission, you will be held responsible - you can bet your ass SLT will stand well back from any flack and I seriously doubt they will pay the fines or do the jail sentence for you.
  9. stopher

    stopher Member

    You know me well then!!!!

    The SMT actually approached me to do all the work in organising permission and then told me to charge the going rate for doing it so I will know whether I'm allowed to or not.

    As for marking and preparation - I'm a music teacher! I don;t do that much plus I'm lucky in that the deputy who asked me used to be the head of music and getting cover for it won't be a problem if they want the show!

    Basically, we agreed to do a show and the director changed it without telling me and has organsied another one which I think is rubbish. As the M.D. I have had no say in his choice so Im putting my foot down and being a pain in the @rse by wanting to make it sound realistic and use the school Big Band instead of guitar, kit, bass and synth!
  10. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    A bit more damp squibbery. Be VERY careful about permission.

    When your dealing with a staged production (opera, musical or dance) you come into a whole new area of copyright concerned with Grand Rights. These usually fall outside the PRS royalty system and would be administered by the publishers, who can effectively charge what they like - I think even for a school production where PRS tends not to be an issue so much.

    It's not enough to get permission to arrange the pieces, but to also get permission to used them in a staged production.

    My advice DON'T DO IT !! :) (Yes, I know - very helpful!)
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Another point: if it is a recent musical, or one that is currently in a professional production anywhere near you, there may be even more difficulties to overcome.
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'm also a music teacher. I teach both A level and GCSE, the coursework elements of which (composition) take up a lot of marking. There is also the regular Y7,8 & 9 marking, including projects, which has to be done.

    I'm also an ITT mentor, run the school band (such as it is), am a 6th form tutor, sing in the staff choir and have a life outside of school.

    Please don't let them bully you. It wouldn't matter to me if the school would fall down because I demanded some return for my contribution. I learned the hard way that you are not any better appreciated for half killing yourself. SLT is short for SLUT! They will prostitute you on that alter of their success. Don't ever give them anything without getting something back in return.

    Trust me on this. I wrote the book on self-sacrifice for the sake of the school/kids, while certain staff reaped the benefits of my hard work. They will not stand beside you when the law comes hunting. they will take one step back and to the side, leaving you in the front line to take the fire. Be very careful to get all the right permissions. Perhaps your head of drama could help on that?
  13. stopher

    stopher Member

    Thanks for the advice everyone!

    Sounds as if I have easy compared to you Mike at my school - I take the Wind and Jazz bands, take the bass section for the senior choir rehearsals, teach all the brass lessons (we pulled out of our county set up and I organise all the peris with the H.o.D!) and teach 25 lessons a week up to AS level.

    I have no intention of being bullied into doing anything - SMT actually have no say in what show we do each year as it is only the 2nd show we are doing (there used to be a tradition of shows until 6 years ago when staff left and the school timetable became impossible to do anything at break and with a split lunchtime, all lunchtime rehearsals were abandoned).

    The only person whom was trying to bully me into this show was the actual Director, who after we had settled on a show, decided to change it without asking me (I'm only the MD and have to find the band, teach the singers etc!) so I have caused one hell of a stink in school about it. After being dragged into the boss to talk about the show, I said the only way we would do that musical is if i could have a proper band for it not a couple of synths. I was then asked to organise this which meant I would have to get permission to arrange the parts and also be paid to do it.

    Basically, i have been a bit of a scheming prima donna so I dont end up doing a cack show and if I have to do it, it's done my way and it will cost the Director some of his budget to keep me happy!
  14. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    If that's the case, more power to your elbow!

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