Your Rate for Drumline Arranging

I'm always reevaluating what I charge for arrangements, so I thought I'd ask this forum what your average going rate is. Feel free to answer the poll without posting a response if you'd like to keep your rate private.
[quote author=Cadet311 link=topic=2334.msg12398#msg12398 date=1205161047]
[quote author=Chris Leone link=topic=2334.msg12391#msg12391 date=1205137897]
I've been told one of the most important things to do for people just ";getting into the game"; is to start in a weaker program where you can make your mistakes and find your stride, then move up from there.
[/quote]I'm going to agree with this comment wholeheartedly.�� Experience for 5 dollars is much better than no experience for zero dollars if you're starting out.[/quote]

Well said Chris.�� When I first started, the money was not much and far between paychecks.�� But as I said in a previous post, I love to ";connect the dots.";�� If you don't have fun with it, and enjoy seeing the music come to life (I obviously love the teaching part, too), then don't do it.
Yes...all of this information is great for young percussionists aspiring to write!  I remember starting out - and my old drum teacher offered me a priceless piece of advice:  do the first one free.  I adopted this method of doing something for free first, whether it was a street cadence, a warm-up packet, a percussion feature arrangement/re-write, etc.  If you do a good job, they will see your value as a writer and you can discuss monetary compensation.  Here are some other pieces of advice I'd like to offer ";newish"; writers:

1)  [i]Write music that is appropriate to the ability level of the players involved.[/i]  All of us want to write crazy-cool beats and rhythms, but you can't get carried away.  Remember that the music has to be played AND marched to (most likely).  You want to give them music that is fun to play and allows them to be successful in the end.  Find a happy medium between ";cool/hard"; and playable.

2)  [i]Do your best to create high-quality results & go the extra mile.[/i]  Learn as much as you can about your composition software and take the time to correct small details like readable staff size & page layout, uniform dynamics, create a notation key for reference, etc.  The more professional your final product looks, the more impressed people will be.  Also, maybe create some practice tracks for each section with VDL 2.5.  From my experience, band directors love it when you do this - and it will further enhance their opinion of your work.  This may seem a bit over-the-top, but you need every edge you can get when there is competition for jobs, and/or you are considered ";young"; by your employers.  And your ";reputation";  of creating a quality product will spread through word-of-mouth.

I'm sure other guys in this forum have a lot of great advice to offer.  These are a few that helped me the most starting out.  Hopefully you'll be able to take something from them too.

Awesome advice man. I too have been told to do the first one for free, and after having done so, the people you are working for/with appreciate it that much, plus when doing this type of thing for free for the first round, it helps to get your name out. Thanks for the great pointers here! Definitely will take all these things into consideration!
*begin soapbox speech*

I think there's a big difference between arranging and composing.  I don't think composing is something that can be learned.  I believe it is something you're born with, and it starts at an early age.  It can be developed and refined through education, but you'll have a hard time finding a good composer who waited until adulthood to write song #1, or didn't know how to make a beautiful song until he took a comp class.  It's something that is burning to get out- the opposite of procrastination :) 

On the other hand, I think most musicians can learn to be good arrangers.  Through understanding chord progressions, voicing, theory, etc. someone can take a familiar song and put a great twist on it.  That's also the fun of drum corps / drumline for me- hearing a new interpretation of some great music.  Two groups playing the same piece will sound very different. 

So I guess my point is, before you wonder how much you can make writing, take an honest look at what you've been writing up until now.  If you have 50 ideas burning to get out, you'll go somewhere with it eventually.  This might mean writing some free exercises as a tech that leads to being a full-time teacher or writer later.  Or maybe you love to teach and write street beats, but struggle to get the book done before the first show- in that case I say hire someone :)

It's also important to set goals like ";I will unplug my computer from the internet and write one minute of music today, even if it's bad and I delete it later.";  You can't cure writer's block by watching youtube videos all day.
Hey, I just wanted to say a quick thanks to everyone who took the time to post their thoughts and those who voted in the poll.

I don't know if anyone else feels like this, but sometimes I feel like most of the time getting writing gigs for myself is more about making people realize that it can and should be done. Because of this, I tend to keep my prices pretty affordable.

And certainly, since the advent of Virtual Drumline (and relatively painless use-ability for those of us who are not really all that adept at using a computer), convincing people that they need their own arrangement has gotten a LOT easier!

There's some great advice here, thanks everyone. I wrote my first entire indoor show this year, both music and visual program with some arranging help from others and many of these tips I learned from that experience. It is re-assuring to hear other people involved in the activity saying the same things.
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