Lead Sheet Writing – Beyond Basics

2 Saturdays, March 4 and 11, Noon - 2 pm

Lead Sheet Writing – Beyond Basics
Age Adult
Event Type Workshop
Department Composition and Arranging, Vocal Musicianship
Day Sat
Instructor Michele Weir
Status online event


Having the skills to write a simple “chords & slashes” lead sheet is extremely useful for all jazz musicians, but for certain performances or recordings, you need more: you need an arrangement.


Creative arranging elements can add much interest and emotional flavor to a song. In this workshop, we’ll explore specific methods to make your lead sheets more interesting through the addition of rhythmic kicks, pedal tones, light reharmonization, modulations, interludes, meter changes, and so on. The good news is: your ear is already familiar with these elements because they’re commonplace in jazz recordings. Our task in the workshop is to learn how to get them on paper!


Week 1 will begin with a quick overview of the essential components of a solid, well-written basic chords/slashes lead sheet. Then: we’ll dive into creative choices for arranging it. 


Prerequisites: It’s ideal if you can already write a simple “chords and slashes” lead sheet in your key.


About Michele Weir


Arranger, educator, singer/pianist Michele Weir is a faculty member in the UCLA Global Jazz Studies program. Michele’s arrangements have been performed by the Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, The Swingle Singers, and the Boston Pops orchestra among others. She served as Vocal Producer for the Manhattan Transfer’s 2009 CD release, Chick Corea Songbook, and her educational books and arrangements are distributed by publishers internationally. Michele is the author of the first iOS app for scat singers, ScatAbility, and her latest venture is MusicHabit, offering online classes and other resources for jazz singers, teachers, and ensembles.