If you haven’t read my first post about this month’s parade of losers, start there first.
To review the big lessons learned from the first featured piece, I Am His Son:
- Follow the guidelines, including ease of performance for amateur musicians in the Church.
- Submit a song that will be flexible enough for use by a broad range of Church members. (One exception might be the Relief Society Music category: you don’t have to write men’s parts to be inclusive).
Let’s explore a little more. Today’s entry that didn’t quite make the cut is called Baptism. It received a Special Recognition in 2008, which is similar to a runner-up.
I’ll be honest about this piece: when I submitted it, it wasn’t ready for prime time. The sheet music I released today is not the same sheet music I submitted to the Church. Some changes include:
- Improved handling of repeats (yes, the repeats in this piece were even more confusing in my earlier drafts)
- Dynamic and expressive markings
- Fixing typographical errors
This piece was certainly not polished when I submitted it. Additionally, as I look at the writing nearly six years later, some things could be improved. The intro/interlude figure is nice, but it may be used too much during the piece. The verses’ mixed metaphors may also become confusing. And the piece just doesn’t look great on paper when compared with how I imagined it.
This brings up a big point: the committee that judges these pieces only sees your score. If they heard you perform your song, their opinions might be different, but recordings are not accepted (except for complex multi-voice anthems and instrumental works). That means that a submitted piece is only as good as its notation.
Still, I liked the song. I still do. The bigger lesson from this piece is simple: sometimes others will submit great music in the category you choose. I’m glad to lose to excellent music. It gives me a reason to work harder the next year.
Stay tuned for the next installment in this series. At the end of the series, I’ll post a full list of my recommendations for musicians who are thinking about submitting their music. The Church really does need more great music, and I hope that this series will help that to happen.