I’m continuously asked by my students, “why do I make the arrangements of pop songs”?

Think of a book or a movie that you’ve really enjoyed and have been totally involved and engaged in. As you come to the end of the story you already begin to miss the people, the place and the time described in that book or movie and you just wish that it wouldn’t end.

Then you meet someone that’s read that book or seen that movie and an animated conversation follows. In your mind you sometimes explore what the next chapter might be.

When I hear a good song that I like I have a similar curiosity to explore the ideas in that song.

I remember interviewing Tommy Emmanuel and asking him about his approach to teaching (when he did teach) he said he taught songs and explained that music is about songs so it’s the best way to learn.

I’m always looking for ways to help my students improve and move forward to the next level with their playing. Learning a lot of songs will give a student a broad experience and a greater understanding of music in general, so playing solo arrangements of songs help us see the full structure of a song.

How the melody, bass and chord progression work together to make the whole song. Observing how the parts fit will give us an overview and insight of the composition that we can take to the next lot of songs and musical situations, making us the better player.

But after all, it’s really a lot of fun to play great songs and isn’t that what it’s all about?

I hope you enjoy my latest arrangement of Billy Joel’s “Just the way you are”

Steve.