Hot Tips

“Hot Tips”

JerryCo’s most unique feature – the music s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s as you improve.  All Piano Solo orders include TWO or MORE Arrangements of the songeach at a different challenge level!!  Solo Orchestral Instruments use the unique “Dual Staff System” where portions of an arrangement provide an additional, more advanced staff allowing Instrumentalists to move at will between less challenging and more challenging phrases. You never outgrow JerryCo arrangements.

If you’ve found this “needle-in-the-haystack” for the first time, we strongly suggest that you scroll down to a category that interests you (Piano / Vocal / Instrumental, etc.)   Then take a minute to read the “Hot Tips” to better understand the “Challenge Levels,” or how to get FREE written accompaniments.

The blue link puts you just one click away from hearing and ordering arrangements.

Jerry Nelson Music provides a wide range of Christian And Classical music tracks and Arrangements in a myriad of styles from Jazz and Classical to Gospel and Eclectic. The following “Hot Tips”  cover six categories of Jerry Nelson Music arrangements:  for Pianists / Instrumentalists / Vocalists / Choirs / Orchestras / Stage Bands.

For information on Recording with JerryCo Tracks,” refer to the final section.


 “Hot Tips” for PIANISTS

What do the Challenge Levels mean?
There are 12 levels of difficulty: 1, 1+, 2, 2+ … thru 6+.  A 3+ challenge level would lie in between 3 and 4.  Every piano solo purchased includes two challenge levels!!  Thus, you can progress to a higher challenge level, more frills, trills, and advanced licks, without having to buy more music.

All Duets are written for for use with either 4-hands (one keyboard) or for two-pianos.   Challenge levels 4 & 5 refer to the challenge level of the lower and upper parts.

Level 1, Easy – Typically single note melody, narrow range near center of keyboard, simple rhythms, small intervals, minimal finger crossing and hand position changes, a notch above “beginner.”

Level 2, Moderately Easy – Two hands, simple rhythms, slightly wider range with more hand position changes, easy finger crossing, easy keys, 1 and 2-note textures per hand.

Level 3, Moderate – More keys, rhythmic variety but natural rhythms, more finger crossing than L2 but comfortable; frequent changes in hand position and octaves, occasional easy scales and arpeggios, moderately challenging sight-reading but not technically demanding, 2 and 3-note textures per hand

Level 4, Intermediate – Wider range of keys, key changes, syncopations but still natural rhythms, more stylistic variety.  Compared with Level 3, Level 4 has some 4-note textures per hand, faster scales and arpeggios, more 16th note patterns, wider hand position changes.  Manageable by most church pianists.

Level 5, Moderately Difficult  – Wider range, increased hand motion, full range of keys, thicker textures (4 and occasional 5-notes per hand), faster tempi scales and arpeggios, tricky rhythms, advanced chords, more challenging sight-reading, more accidentals, fairly challenging technically

Level 6, Advanced – Full keyboard range, wide range of styles, some very challenging rhythms, rapid scales and arpeggios, some very thick textures in both hands, generous accidentals, wider dynamic range with subtle nuances, very demanding technically and stylistically

Can I Use The Accompaniment Track That Came With My Brother’s Trumpet Arrangement of a Given Song?
No. Your piano performance track, except in rare places, does not include a piano part on the track, whereas, his track probably includes an “accompaniment piano” part which could collide with or duplicate notes in your piano solo.

What Are “Stand-Alone” Piano Arrangements?
Piano arrangements which require no accompaniment track.  Some arrangements will work for both “Stand-Alone” or Accompaniment Track but only when specified.  See the “Stand-Alone” category for a complete listing.

Can I Use My Sound Tracks For Recording  a Project?  
(Yes.  See below: Recording with JerryCo Accompaniment Tracks)

Two important Tips –  #1: Tune your piano to A-440; An alternative is a player with pitch control.   #2: To play “in sync,” speakers should be close to player.  On stage, ask sound tech to give you enough sound level so you easily stay “in sync” with the track.  Always rehearse with tech before performing!

CLICK HERE to listen to all “Solo Piano Arrangements” (w/Accomp. Tracks)

CLICK HERE to listen to all Solo Piano “Stand-Alone” Arrangements

CLICK HERE to listen to all Piano Duets “4 Hands / 2 Pno” Arrangements


What Is The Premiere Series About?   

The JerryCo “Premiere Series,” with its unique “Dual Staff System,” is probably the most novel arrangements concept since the invention of the wheel. You buy an arrangement and never outgrow it. Why? The bottom staff is the “Basic” melody with an occasional creative twist added.   The upper staff gets even more fun . . . with more counter melodies, wider ranges, scales, flourishes, altered melodies, subtle rhythm changes, etc.

You may start out totally on the “Basic” staff.  As you progress, you jump to the “Advanced” staff whenever you feel you can handle the challenge of a certain phrase. Then drop back down when it gets a little scary.  Eventually you may play completely from the upper staff.

What Do The Instrumental Challenge Level Numbers Mean?
 1 = Very easy – First year player; basic melody
2 = Easy – Melody plus limited embellishment within narrow range
 3 = Moderate – more notes, still fairly easy rhythms
4 = Intermediate – more complex rhythms, wider range, more embellishment
 5 = Advanced – Quite challenging, more demanding technically and expressively
6 = Very Advanced  –  Most challenging, more rapid flourishes, more subtle dynamics, technically and stylistically very demanding

If an arrangement reads Level 2-5, it means players at Levels 2,3,4 or 5 can use the arrangement.

How can I get a written Piano Accompaniment for Rehearsal or Live Performance?
Each Accompaniment Track you purchase includes a FREE Written Piano Accompaniment with Rhythm Chart  (chords for use with bass, guitars, drums).

Will The Demo Recording Feature My Instrument?
No.  It’s a “tag team” demo, played by a variety of alternating instruments but the end result is very similar.   The demos tend to model the more advanced rendition of the arrangement.

Can I Use the Instrumental Performance Track to Accompany another Instrument or a Piano Solo?
Yes and No.  Yes, all orchestral instruments use the same Performance Track. No, it will not work to accompany a Piano Solo because “Instrumental” Accompaniment Tracks typically include an accompaniment piano which would collide with a Piano Solo.   However, the “Instrumental” accompaniment track can be used with all non-piano arrangements, including:

  • Vocal Solos  or Ensembles
  • Other Orchestral Instruments or Ensembles
  • Choir
  • Stage Band or Orchestra arrangements (if your orchestra lacks many instruments, or you desire to thicken the texture).

Can I Use The Same Sound Track With  Instrumental Or Vocal Ensembles?
Yes.    Only piano arrangements call for a special sound track (with typically no piano present in the track).

What are “Integrated” Arrangements? 
Jerryco has designed its arrangements so that any Instrumental or Piano or Vocal Solo can be combined with any choir or orchestra arrangement of the same exact title (such as “O Come All Ye Faithful, v3”).  Thus, a trumpet or piano or vocal solo may substitute for a verse of choir – or be used simultaneously!   This incredible feature allows creativity and flexibility in programming.

Can I Use My Sound Track For Recording  a Project?
 (see below: Recording with JerryCo Accompaniment Tracks)

 CLICK HERE to listen to All “Instrumental Solo” Arrangements

“Hot Tips” for VOCALISTS

When I Purchase A Performance Track Of A Song, Will It Include All Available Keys?
Yes. When ordering tracks for “Vocal” use, you receive a download ZIP file (or a CD) with performance trax in three keys.  Note that the demo recording exists in the middle key only.

If Each Song Is In Three Keys, How Far Apart Are The Keys?
Most track companies put the keys a major 3rd apart, which leaves three unused keys between the available keys.  That’s a wide gap; and your “sweet” spot will often be in that gap.  JerryCo pitches the keys a whole step apart, which leaves only one unused key in that gap.   Thus you are never more than one-half step from your “sweet” spot.   That’s significant.  Click on any song title to see exact ranges.

How can I get written Piano Accompaniments for Rehearsal or Live Performance?   
Each Accompaniment Track you purchase includes a FREE Written Piano Accompaniment – in the Middle key –  with rhythm chart (chords for use with bass, guitars, drums).

Can I Sing with a Track Designed For A Solo Instrument Like The Flute? 
Yes.   In fact, Vocal, Instrumental and Choir arrangements all use the same accompaniment track.  (However, tracks for pianists are different.

What are “Integrated” Arrangements?
Jerryco has designed its Vocal Solos and Ensembles to be compatible with any JerryCo Orchestra, Stage Band or Choir Arrangement having the same exact title.  Matching 4-digit numbers in the lower-right corner will confirm compatibility.

Can I Use My Sound Track For Recording  a Project?
(see below: Recording with JerryCo Accompaniment Tracks)

    CLICK HERE to listen to all “Vocal Solo” Arrangements 



Does A Choir Arrangement Include Written (Printed) Piano Accompaniment?
Yes. When ordering a Choir arrangement, you receive a “Choir / Piano” score for use by the Director and Pianist, plus a “Choir only” score for singers.  The Choir-only score has two big advantages:  1) Omitting the piano part from the score, reduces 8 pages of print to about 3 pages, thus reducing print costs and filing space. 3) Fewer awkward page turns; less distraction when performing.

How Does One Purchase Quantities Of A Choir Arrangement?      You will download just one copy.  On “Scout’s Honor,” you duplicate only the number of copies for which you paid when ordering.  Minimum purchase is 10 copies –  also “Scout’s Honor.”  If your choir grows, just go Online and purchase additional copies.

Describe the Six Challenge Levels  

Level 1 – Mostly unison,  Medium range,  Predictable rhythms, No surprises.  Rehearse it once and sing.

Level 2 – Thin textures, Medium range,  Easy voice-leading, Little challenge, One rehearsal

Level 3 – Thicker textures (more parts), Medium range, Natural voice-leading, Some easy-to-hear variations in melody and rhythm

*Level 4 – Wider range, 4-part textures, More surprises in melody and rhythm, Voice-leading a bit more challenging

*Level 5 – Wider range, Occasional 5 or 6 part texture, More challenging rhythms and voice-leading, Somewhat more difficult sight-reading

*Level 6 – Still wider range, Tricky rhythms, less natural voice-leading, Challenging sight-reading, Harder to memorize

• Choral Demos provided on Levels 4 thru 6.  Levels 1 thru 3 should not require a demo; however, a Solo demo is provided.

Jerryco has designed its Choral arrangements to be compatible with any Instrumental or Piano or Vocal Solo as well as Orchestra or Stage Band if they all have the same exact title. Check title lists for availability.   Matching 4-digit numbers in the lower-right corner will confirm compatibility. The corresponding Accompaniment Track might also be used with the Orchestration to supplement for lack of strings or other critical instruments.

Watch for the addition of Choral Arrangements to the catalog.


What Instrumentation Is Included?
For Orchestra:   Flute(s) / Oboe / Clarinet(s) / Alto Sax(s) / Tenor Sax(s) & Baritone / Bari Sax / French Horn(s) / 3 or 4 Trumpets / 3 or 4 Trombones / Tuba / Violin 1 / Violin 2 / Viola / Cello / Double Bass / Rhythm section  /  Piano.  Occasionally an orchestration includes Harp or Percussion.

For Stage Band:  4 Trumpets / 4 Trombones / 2 Alto Sax / 2 Tenor Sax / 1 Bari Sax / Piano (notes and chords) and Rhythm chart.

Can The Arrangements Be Performed With Performance Tracks?
Yes, especially if you are missing critical parts such as Strings, Drums or Bass.   Simply order the same performance track as you would for an Instrumental Solo.  If you are performing with a Piano solo, order the same track as you would for a Piano Solo.

Whether using the track with live performance or in a recording scenario, it is helpful for the conductor to use in-ear monitor.  Also drummers and lead players (lead trumpet) should hear either strong floor monitor or in-ear monitor.  No matter how well you conduct, virtually any player will follow his ears before he follows his eyes.

How Similar Is The Stage Band Arrangement To The Full Orchestra Arrangement Of The Same Title?
Very similar.  In fact, if you anticipate later adding strings or woodwind, it is best to purchase the full orchestration right from the start if available.  It would essentially include all of the Stage Band parts.

 “Orchestrations” will be added to the Catalog soon

“Stage Band” Arrangements now available

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Recording with JerryCo Sound Tracks

Singers, Instrumentalists and Choirs are often reticent to jump into recording a project for fear of not achieving full cost-recovery.  Jerry Nelson Music is doing two things to help realize the dream of a professional recording.
#1 – Very attractive, one-time “Tracks-Lease” fees.  This is the fee you pay to use the sound track.  It’s what enables us to stay in business.
#2 – “Royalties” are the fees paid for use of the Song or Arrangement; thus “Royalties” are paid to the Composer and / or Arranger.  Jerry Nelson Music is currently waiving the royalties on all arrangements copyrighted by Jerry Nelson.  Check the copyright notice in the description box for each title.  (See the one exception noted below).

The following FAQs should address most of the questions you may have concerning recording.

Where Would I Record?
We suggest finding a studio in your area which has a good reputation for excellence.  Listen to some of their samples.  A studio experienced with Christian artists, tends to be more sensitive when it comes to dynamics, expression, etc.

How Much Studio Time Is Required?
This will depend on your preparedness, how much you go for ‘perfection,’ your vocal stability, your pitch control, etc.  Bear in mind that you will not typically sing a song from start to finish.  To get it right, you may sing a verse at a time; you may go back and “punch in” a single phrase.  Allow for playback and evaluating your performance.  Recording time typically ranges from 20-60 minutes per song, with average being about 30 minutes.  Mixdown 15-20 minutes per song (since the orchestra is already mixed).  Twelve songs = about 10 to 12 hours total.  (See “studio recording costs” below).

What Cost Factors Are Involved In A Project?
There are basically four cost factors involved in producing a recording.

  1. Studio recording costs – Digital recording equipment has tended to drive down the cost of quality recording.  Many excellent studios once ranging from $75 to $150 per hour now charge $50 to $75.  Smaller studios for solo work are available at $25 to $50 per hour.  Research the studios in your area and listen to some samples.
  2. Royalties – Royalties represent the money paid to the song writer and / or publisher.  Congress sets and updates the royalty rate which is currently (2013) 9.1¢ per song per recording for all copyrighted songs.  As a rule of thumb, if a song was written in 1923 or later, it is copyrighted, and a “mechanical license” to record must be secured from the publisher or writer.   CD manufacturers will typically not produce CDs unless a license is secured, or at least, applied for.  Songs written before 1923 are considered “Public Domain” (free use) unless the song has an arrangement which has been copyrighted.If an “Arrangement” of a song is copyrighted 1923 or later, the same royalty amount is due to the Arranger, even though the song itself may have been written in 1750.  If the Song and the Arrangement are both currently copyrighted, you still pay only one royalty fee which is divided between Composer and Arranger.Royalty-free Arrangements – All Jerry Nelson arrangements are copyrighted.  However, Jerry Nelson Music is currently waiving the Arranger royalties. You pay only the “lease” fee for using the sound track. (See below)  This alone can save $1 or more per CD. There is one exception:  “Standalone” Piano Arrangements.  Since these arrangements don’t call for “leasing” a sound track, JerryCo charges a minimal $75 royalty fee per arrangement.   However, unlike the typical “royalty” fees which apply each time you reorder more CDs, this one-time $75 fee grants you an unlimited number of recorded units.
    (Clicking on any title sends you to the “description” page.   Any song with “©  by Jerry Nelson” is currently royalty-free, with the one noted exception.)
  3. Lease Fees – While “Royalties” are paid to a songwriter, “Lease Fees” are paid to the company who produced the sound track.  While Royalties are based on quantities manufactured, Lease Fees are typically “one-time” fees allowing you to make as many copies as you wish.  Such fees are the life line which allows producers to continue in business.  Typical lease fees run $135 – $200 per song.  The fee on all JerryNelsonMusic sound tracks is $125 per song.  If you use ten or more JerryCo tracks, the fee is $99 per song.
  4. Manufacturing – This represents the cost for producing the CDs.   If you, yourself, are coordinating the manufacture with a replication company and are doing some cost comparison research, be sure that quotes include the cost for basic layout, design, printing, jewel cases and shrink wrap.  Also inquire about shipping costs.

How Many Songs Might I Put On A Cd?
We feel ten is somewhat minimal for a $15 retail price.  Twelve is perhaps ideal.  In terms of time, you can go up to 80 minutes, including the spaces between songs.

What Is a Reasonable, Estimated Total Cost?
This estimate assumes you are a soloist, leasing 10 JerryCo Trax, all of them Jerry Nelson arrangements and “duplicating” 250 CDs. Also, you provide quality photo work. Printed insert includes 4 panels (front and back panels full color / inner panels 2-color).  Includes standard plastic jewel case with shrink-wrap.

Studio                          $400 – 600
Royalties                     None
Lease Fees                 $1000
Manufacture                $500 – 600
Shipping                      $100
Est. total –  $2200*

Cost recovery:  147 units x $15 = $2200.  Estimated net profit on 1st 250 sales = $1545

Net profit on 500 units sold = $4,700.     Net profit on 1000 units sold = $12,200.

*Note that “replicating” 1,000 units is only about $600 more:   Cost recovery would be at about 180 units.   Note also that artwork and design can vary considerably depending on your tastes and preferences.  The fact is, many CD buyers buy with their eyes, not their ears. Contact JerryCo for a cost estimate for this possible additional cost.

*An even more streamlined Cost Recovery is possible.  IF a soloist or choir has access to quality recording personnel and equipment (soloist needs minimum of 4 tracks; choir, 8 tracks) without incurring studio costs, the Cost Recovery point is reduced to about 125 units.

How Long Does It Take From Recording To Delivery?
From the time you complete the actual recording session(s) and mixdown, you should allow 4 to 6 weeks plus shipping time.  Some replicators may require less time, or may require an added fee to expedite production.

If I’ve Decided To Record, What Do I Do Next?
Email to [email protected].  Include the following information:
Your name / Address / Phone number
Album Title
List of JerryCo titles being leased
Quantity you anticipate manufacturing

We will respond indicating the amount due for the Lease (or royalties) on the JerryCo trax.
We will also indicate if any royalties are due for songs not copyrighted by Jerry Nelson.  Finally, we will send you a CD of the sound tracks using the highest resolution as they were mixed in our studio.   This set of tracks will be used by your engineer for your recording.

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