Wasn’t that a catchy title? It’s true. I’ve decided to post some songs in the next couple of weeks that have lost (i.e. not received an award) in the annual Church Music Submissions.
This is also my backhanded way to give advice on how to win an award in the Church Music Submissions. No, I don’t have a magical formula, but I can give some solid advice based on success and failure.
I need to say up front that I’m not a sore loser. In this competition, I’ve won my share of awards, and I’m grateful when I do. But in the past few years I’ve submitted some pieces that are a bit outside the box, hoping that I can in some small way elevate the musical culture of the Church. I expect that some of those risks will not pay off in the competition. But when they do, I’m thrilled.
Generally, my losing entries are perfectly good songs. But they didn’t win for a variety of valid reasons. Of course, since the committee does not give the submitters any critiques, these reasons are just guesses. But I think they are pretty educated guesses since I’ve had the privilege of hearing so many of the winners over the past several years.
The losing entry I’ve posted today is I Am His Son. I submitted it in the Primary Song division of the General Music category. Why do I think it didn’t win? Triplets.
There may be other reasons, too, but I think the triplets were the biggest drawback to this piece. A lot of people think triplets are hard to sing and play. Remember that one criterion for these submissions is ease of performance, especially Primary music. I decided to take a risk by submitting a primary song that had a whopping 5 sets of quarter-note triplets in the refrain.
Add that to the fact that the song is written specifically for boys (so the whole Primary wouldn’t be able to participate in performing it), and it was just not a winner for this competition.
That said, the song fulfills the purpose for which it was written. And for the record, the triplets in this piece are remarkably easy for kids to sing (my 3- and 5-year-old boys can do it). It’s just not what the committee wanted.