As an experienced composer and arranger, there are many ways in which you and I may be able to collaborate, and in which I may be able to assist you in your own musical endeavors. What follows are a few of these ways, and while the list isn't exhaustive, I hope it will serve as a good starting place. When in doubt, feel free to contact me.
Commission new music
“I have grown confident over the past few years of the reaction I will observe when I announce that we are going to begin rehearsing a piece by Chris Massa. I know there will be a cheer, excited faces looking at each other, and other murmurs of excitement. These students know what I know—that the music Chris writes connects with performer and audience every time and that the music is a joy to both rehearse and perform. Our choirs have commissioned Chris to write individual pieces for all levels as well as some large scale works. Each time, Chris has created works that are beautiful, age appropriate, approachable by audiences, and instant favorites for our students.”
There are few things that I enjoy more than writing new music, particularly when it is for a specific musician, ensemble, and/or occasion. I’ve written music for church use, incidental music for stage and screen, and choral and instrumental music (including large-scale works) for both student and and professional ensembles. In other words, there is no project too large or small, and no ensemble too experienced or inexperienced.
If you are interested in commissioning a new work, please contact me. Please provide as many details about the project as possible, including the type of piece (i.e., ensemble, desired length, etc.), the deadline, and the proposed commissioning fee. As soon as possible (usually within a week), I will be in touch with you about the project. Please be aware that, from time to time, I have had to decline proposals, usually due to timing and scheduling constraints.
From time to time, I have also arranged existing work for vocal and/or instrumental ensembles. The protocol is the same as for a commission of a new piece: Contact me with as many details about the project as possible, including the type of piece (i.e., ensemble, desired length, etc.) and the deadline. To be honest, I’m focusing more on composing than arranging these days, but that doesn’t mean I won’t accept a project that intrigues me.
A brief word about legal stuff: Due to the need to adhere to U.S. copyright laws, any and all pieces that are submitted for arrangement consideration must be either written by yourself or in the public domain. If, during the course of arranging, it is discovered that the source material is not in the public domain, the arrangement will cease, the work will be destroyed, and you will be billed for the time spent on the arrangement thus far.
By the way, if you are an educator and heaven’t read this, you probably should.
Composing or arranging music as part of a larger project
“Chris Massa brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to a piece of music, and at the same time, he has the sensitivity and understanding to know how the song needs to be. Chris isn’t interested in leaving his mark, he’s only interested in making something beautiful. He is the rare blend of immense talent and no ego. His priority is always to serve the song, not the other way around.”
Bandleader and Producer, New Victorians
I’ve collaborated with several singer/songwriters and performing artists as an instrumental/vocal arranger, and this is work that I always enjoy. I’d add film scoring to this list—I’m working on scoring my first feature as I type this—but let’s wait until this one’s in the can, shall we? From time to time, I have arranged existing work for vocal and/or instrumental ensembles. The protocol is similar to that of commissioning a new piece: Contact me with as many details about the project as you can, and as soon as possible (usually within a week), I will be in touch with you about the project. Please be aware that, from time to time, I have had to decline proposals, usually due to timing and scheduling constraints.
Once again, if you are an educator and heaven’t read this, you may want to.
I offer half-hour and hour-long lessons in music composition and/or theory via Zoom—hour-long lessons are recommended—at a rate of $40/hr.
Copy/edit existing music
“Having entrusted Chris with multiple large copyist projects as well as several arrangement gigs, I've come to truly appreciate his sharp eye for detail and determination for clerical perfection and professionalism. He has always been able to not only finish his tasks on or before deadlines, but typically goes above and beyond to ensure that not a single rest is out of place. He is the only person I trust my scores with for this type of work.”
Composer and Co-Founding Executive Director, OvreArts
I’ll keep this one short: I am no longer accepting most transcription projects (i.e., where sheet music is made from a recording). Yes, I said most. If you need this type of work done, you’re welcome to reach out to me, and I will (at least) consider your project. If you have written a piece that you’d like to turn into sheet music, My recommendation is that you download Musescore, which is music notation software that is both terrific and free.
Also, as is the case with arrangements there is the need to adhere to U.S. copyright laws, any and all pieces that are submitted for transcription consideration must be either written by yourself or in the public domain. If, during the course of editing, it is discovered that the source material is not in the public domain, the transcription will cease, the work will be destroyed, and you will be billed for the time spent on the project thus far.