Leaving On A Jet Plane (Instrumental)

This is a song I arranged for a couple's 50th wedding anniversary. Every couple has a song when they first get together, and these two were no different. They told me the story of how this became their song. The woman was a stewardess for one of the big airlines in the early 70's, and the man was a factory worker for one of the big auto companies in Detroit. They would slow dance to this song every time she came home from a job where she was gone for several days. It was very touching to see them dance as I played this song for them on their 50th wedding anniversary. It's gigs like this one that make playing out at bars and pubs until 2:00 am worth it.

This was the first song I arranged as an instrumental piece. For those of you who don't know, an instrumental piece is when all elements of a song are arranged for a solo instrument. In this case, I arranged it for guitar. While I was preparing for the gig, I searched the internet for an arrangement of the song but was not very happy with what I found. That's when I decided to arrange it myself. I suggest anyone who plays guitar, even if finger picking is not your forte, try it. Always look at learning new and different pieces as an exercise; I always try to make the song my own as a learning experience.

What makes this song a great starter song to arrange is that the chord progression is always G, C, G, C, G, C, D. The pattern never changes. Verse or chorus, it's always playing that progression throughout the song. Once I figured out the chord progression then I figured out the vocal melody. The next step is where it got challenging: putting the two parts together! This takes quite a bit of patience because there is a lot of trial and error trying to line up the vocal melody and the chord progression together. Finally, once those two parts are together, I added a background composition to fill the song out.

All in all, I liked arranging this song. Especially seeing the expression on the couples's faces when I started performing this piece. That's one of the wonderful aspects of music. When a person hears a song that means something to them, they instantly travel back to when that song first made an impression on them. So yes, I have the ability to time travel. It's pretty cool, with great power comes great responsibility.


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