MUSC171 Arranging: Syllabus

Andrew A. Cashner, PhD

Spring 2022, University of Rochester, Satz Dept. of Music


Course Information


Arranging is a key skill in any practicing musician’s toolbox. Whether you are reworking an existing song for an a capella or theater group, producing a recording of an original song, or adapting music to fit the practical needs of an amateur ensemble, this class can help you craft effective and appealing arrangements. Students will develop and workshop their own projects with the class while we learn from examples by today’s pop and Broadway arrangers, as well as past masters of arrangement including Bach, Mozart, and Liszt. With an emphasis on simple solutions that work for performers of varying skill levels, the course will show you how to bring out the best in the source music while presenting the performing ensemble in its best light. (4 credits)

Prequisite: Basic ability to read music and to sing or play an instrument.

Meeting Times

Resources and Materials

Required Materials

Learning Goals


(Updated 2022/02/18)


20% Participation and Weekly examples
10% Personal goal
30% Analysis papers (15% each)
20% Reduction
20% Song

Please note: There will be no final exam in this course.

Grade Scale

Percent Letter
93–100 A
90–92 A-
87–89 B+
83–86 B
80–82 B-
77–79 C+
73–46 C
70–72 C-
67–69 D+
63–66 D
60–62 D-
0–59 E


Attendance, Participation, Teaching Modality

Due Dates and Late Assignments

Academic Honesty

Disability Accommodations

If you need a disability accommodation, please contact the Disability Office and they will let me now how to accommodate you without specifying the nature of your disability.

Creating a Supportive Classroom Community

I need your help in creative a supportive community in our classroom. I want to build a space in which students feel safe enough to take the risks necessary to engage with new ideas and develop new skills. We must be careful to avoid any kind of bullying or harrassment; and we must cultivate respect, humility, and kindness. No point of view is out of bounds for discussion, as long as we can find a respectful and sensitive way to talk about it.

I will give you opportunities for feedback throughout the course and I would ask, please let me know if there is anything I can do (or anything I need to change) in order to accomplish these goals. Please be reflective about your own contributions to the classroom environment as well.