To review the big lessons learned from the first two featured pieces:
- Follow the guidelines, including ease of performance for amateur musicians in the Church.
- Submit a song that will be flexible enough for a broad range of Church purposes.
- Polish your work before submitting. This includes lyrics, melody, harmony, and the way all of these aspects are notated.
- Don’t be discouraged if a particular song isn’t selected for an award. A wide range of factors go into the decision. The judges surely have to turn away several good pieces each year.
Today’s losing entry is a piece that I have had on my website since 2006. Sonnet on Endurance is a hymn I wrote in 2002 as a missionary in the Australia Sydney South Mission. When I submitted the piece to the Church, I chose to submit it in the Hymn Text category. One reason I did this was because entrants are limited to one submission annually in the General Music category, but they can also submit in the Hymn Text category.
This text presents some challenges, especially when separated from its music. Being a sonnet, it has ten syllables per line. This is an uncommon meter for hymns. It also speaks in the singular first person. Although a few hymns speak in terms of I and me, it is much more common for our hymns to refer to us and we, since they are generally for congregational or choral use.
Outside the context of the music, this text surely seemed awkward in comparison with the other texts entered that year.
Big lesson here: enter in the right category – the one where your piece can shine. Also, be sure to vary the categories you enter. If you want to increase the odds of winning, submit as many high-quality entries as you are allowed:
- Composers may enter once per year in the General Music Category (including songs, anthems, hymns, children’s songs, hymn arrangements, etc.).
- A composer may also serve as an arranger for one other submitter’s work.
- Additionally, each person may submit one entry in the hymn text category each year.
- For women, you may also submit a piece in the Relief Society Music category each year.
After downloading and listening to Sonnet on Endurance, visit my summary post of advice for success in the annual Church Music Submissions.