Frequently Asked Questions
This page is your best bet for help and answers to the questions people ask most.
Please read through the information below before sending e-mail. Chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
For the sake of this poor beleaguered composer, please read through this FAQ before sending questions.
There are a few somewhat interesting or amusing things buried in all Qs and As, so if, after reading all this, you’re not better informed, I hope at least that you’ve been entertained.
Can you recommend a song for me?
Yep. That’s the number one question that gets asked. The grand prize-winner.
The answer is, not a chance. I don’t know your voice(s), I don’t know your skills, I don’t know your occasion… a whole host of details I don’t know. And here’s a sad little fact: if I were to know every one of these details, I’d simply open up my website, click on the song list, and search it for something that might work. That’s because I’ve written wayyyy too much music and I can’t come up with a list right off the top of my head.
Since you can certainly do such a search much better than I can (considering you know all the details I don’t know)… no recommendations.
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Can I e-mail you? Will you respond?
Yes and yes.
For quite a while I tried to answer every e-mail I received. I never dreamed it would get to the point where I just couldn’t answer them all, but it has. So here are the details:
If you just want to say hello, or share stories or experiences, and you don’t require a response, go to the contact link at the bottom of the page. You don’t need to read through the whole FAQ, or pass GO! or collect $200. These are the kinds of things that keep me motivated. Your stories and experiences are invaluable to me (yes, I read them all!), and I don’t want you to hesitate to send them.
If you would like a response, please indicate that in your e-mail. Just so you know, sometimes I answer e-mails rather quickly–especially if you happen to catch me online when you send your note. Sometimes it takes days…weeks… months. It just depends on what’s happening in my life, how much e-mail is in my inbox, and how deep the swamp is. So be patient with me please?
If you have a question, please read this FAQ first, since your answer is probably here. Because answering questions is very time-consuming, if your question is answered in the FAQ, I won’t respond to it. Check the FAQ again if you find that it’s been awhile and you haven’t gotten an answer.
If I send you my lyrics will you write the music for me?
The short answer: No.
The long answer: No, sorry.
No, seriously… here’s the long answer: I just don’t have the time to do it. You only get so many hours in so many days and years, and you have to pick the things on which you spend them. I currently can’t work on anything but trying to keep up with my own compositions and the occasional intrusion of real life.
Occasionally people ask if I can arrange their melodies (no, sorry) or produce a written score for them from an audio (a chore rather akin to cultivating your garden with a teaspoon), or write words for their melodies. I just don’t have enough hours to add those things to my list at this point. Perhaps if I were the kind of genius who could write The Messiah in 7 days (or 14 or 33 or whatever the currently accepted number is) I’d be able to work it in, but… no.
Do I have to be LDS (Mormon) to sing your music?
Nope. You are welcome to use anything on the site regardless of your religious affiliation–or lack of it. People from many Christian denominations use this material in their homes and worship services. You should read the lyrics carefully to be sure they say what you want to express, and then feel free to make use of whatever works for you.
The recordings on this site are provided by many talented musicians. Some are LDS, some are not. What they all have in common is that their renditions are heartfelt and sincere, which is all that I ask of them. Have a listen… they’re wonderful.
What can and can't I do with this music?
Some things you may do with this music:
- You may make as many copies of the scores as you need provided you are not reselling them.
- You may share the downloadable MP3 files with family and friends, unless otherwise stated in the download area.
- You may download the MP3s and burn CDs for personal use unless otherwise stated in the download area. (If you wish to use the MP3 files for mass distribution to classes, organizations, Christmas cards, etc., please use the 320Kbps files.)
- You may include the lyrics on printed programs.
- You may reprint the music on printed programs for congregational singing.
- You may use the accompaniment tracks to produce your own recordings for personal use unless there is no free accompaniment track available. (That means there are copyright issues, and using the track for your own recordings is not permitted.)
- You may perform this music royalty-free for church, school, or community events, including those for which there is an admission charge.
- You may use the scores for music lessons, provided the only charge to students for the scores is the cost of printing or copying.
Some things you may not do with this music:
- You may not print copies for commercial sale.
- You may not burn or copy CDs for commercial sale.
- You may not alter the lyrics, except as noted in the “Can I arrange your music? Alter your lyrics?” section below.
- You may not alter or arrange the music, except as noted in the “Can I arrange your music? Alter your lyrics?” section below.
- You may not produce commercial recordings for public sale of this music without permission. See the “Questions About Recordings” section for further information.
Can I arrange your music? Alter your lyrics?
Unless specifically noted on the download page for a particular song or program, I do not permit arranging of the music, or altering or modification of the lyrics (including adding additional verses), with one exception:
If you would like to modify voice parts to fit your particular group of singers or instrumentalists (e.g., change SSA to SATB, etc., or score the music for instruments), you may do so provided you do not distribute the modified copies beyond your performers.
When it comes to changing my lyrics, just don’t ask. (And just so you know, any e-mail I get that includes the phrase “I know you said not to ask, but…” may be pinned to my dartboard, but will not be answered.) My lyrics are sometimes less-than-masterful poetry, but they are… mine. My children… my babies… hmmm… if they were real babies I might let you change them.
Note: Due to the proliferation of holes in the wall around my dartboard, I have changed my policy. E-mails that include the phrase “I know you said not to ask, but…” will no longer be pinned to my dartboard. They will henceforth be summarily squashed into little balls and rolled across the floor for the amusement of my janitorial staff.
What software do you recommend?
Here’s a short rundown on some of the software I use:
The notation program used for most of the scores on this site is Personal Composer. Alas, the company closed its doors in 2014. A pity. I will continue to use it, since it’s the one I like best.
I’m not big on Finale. Though I do own it, I use it only reluctantly. I find it rather awkward.
Those are the only ones I know much about.
PDF Creation: Try the Cute PDF Writer. It’s free. Free is good.
HTML Editors: No idea any more. I use WordPress, and it’s been so long since I used a stand-alone HTML editor, I wouldn’t know what to recommend.
Browsers: At the moment I like Chrome. In the world of browsers, you never know when they’re going to ruin your fav, but for now, Chrome is good for me.
Recording/Sequencing: I’m using Steinberg’s Cubase. It’s pricey, but nowhere near the price of ProTools, and it does exactly what I want so I’m happy.
Do you accept user submissions?
If you would like to translate any of the songs on this site into a non-English language, feel free. If you e-mail me your translation I can make it available to other site users.
I don’t accept scores for publication. I’m not a publisher, and I just don’t have the time to offer feedback on original music.
Please do not send me scores for publishing, arranging, voicing or notation, or for critique or feedback.
How do I send you an attachment?
If you have a file you’d like to send to me, drop me an e-mail using the contact link at the bottom of the page, and let me know what kind of file you would like to send. I’ll reply from the e-mail address you can use to send your file.
(By the way, just as a general rule, it’s always a good idea to know when attachments are coming your way. If you open unexpected attachments, you’re asking for trouble!)
Do you have (fill in the blank)??
…scores not listed here on the site?
…a score in a different format?
…recordings not posted here?
…etc. etc. etc.
The short answer: No.
The long answer: Everything I have ready for public consumption is available here on the website. If it’s not here, it’s not available.
I always have a few things in the works, and they’ll be posted when they’ve been subjected to sufficient worry, husbandly critique, editing and proofreading. I tend to be a perfectionist (though I never hit perfection) and I fuss over things for quite awhile before they’re ready to post.
I also find that some of the older recordings or scores here have become dated, or the quality isn’t up to today’s standards. If that’s the case, I may remove or replace them.
The long and short of it: If you don’t find it here on the site, it’s not available.
How is this site funded?
Well, mostly out of my pocket, but I use the few dollars I make on audio CDs and HQ MP3s to subsidize my habit. All proceeds from CD/MP3 sales are used to pay for hosting and bandwidth, and to produce more recordings. (I might have been tempted to use them for a nice, tropical vacation, but they’d only get me about five miles out to sea, and I’m a very bad swimmer. )
I do not solicit or accept donations.
I have posted some text-only advertising that may be of interest to my site users. I don’t do graphic ads because they slow the site down too much. The text ads I have included are things I feel are relevant to the needs of people who visit here. As with the CD/MP3 sales, all proceeds are directed right back into material for the site. Might as well let advertisers pay for your free stuff.
How do I start a similar site of my own?
Short question… long answer. Grab a soda. First, you’ll need to get your music into a format that is readable by the majority of web users. I use PDF because almost everyone has a PDF Reader, unless they’re still running a Compy 386. You’ll need either Adobe’s full-blown Acrobat program (a bit pricey) to produce the PDF files, or a freebie that works for you. Other formats can work as well–people have used .jpg files, Finale files (which have to be read with proprietary Finale software), Personal Composer files (for which you need the Personal Composer demo freebie), and various and sundry other formats.
After you have your music in a share-able (another made up word I think) format, you’ll need to concoct a web site to make it accessible to others. If you’re just starting out, you might want to search for a web host with a page builder that let’s you create your site without knowing HTML. Just Google “web hosts” or something similar, and you’ll get plenty of options.
That’s really all there is to the basic site. If you add audio files, you’ll also need to think about how to host those. If you use your web site host, audio files will chew up a lot of data transfer (the bytes your host sends to the users that click your links) and you could end up paying quite a bit for it. Soundcloud is a good option if you’re looking for a low-cost audio host. There are plenty of other online music services out there–again, just Google it.
There are many other fun things that can be added to your site if you’re interested. By the way, if you want to see the Cadillac of sheet music download methods, check out the Interactive Music Player (hymn playback/transpose/print functions) at lds.org. Nice!
How can I transpose or resize the music?
See these articles for complete instructions:
Resizing Using Personal Composer
What do I do about PDF display/printing issues?
I wish I had a magic answer for you, but I don’t.
The files offered here work on my computer, and, as far as I can tell, millions of other computers too, so the file is probably not at fault.
If your PDF looks odd or prints strangely, try using your RIGHT mouse button, and save the file to your own computer. Then open it and print it from there. This usually takes care of graphic glitches.
My only other suggestion is a technique I use myself, quite often: kick the tires. Er… restart the computer. Mine sometimes just ties itself into logical knots, and a reboot can work wonders.
Where can I find... (fill in the blank)?
The not-so-omniscient composer’s dilemma: if I admit to not knowing everything, my kids will find out.
Ah well, it was bound to happen.
If you’re looking for sheet music by a particular composer, or a song sung by a particular singer, or a published song arranged for a particular voicing, or a song you once heard on the radio, or something your grandmother used to sing… try Google. It’s precisely what I would have to do if I were to try to find what you’re looking for.
Do you want to know about mistakes in scores or web pages?
Short answer: Yes. Please.
Long answer: Yes, Pretty please.
Just use the contact link at the bottom of the page. Please include as much specific information as you can about where you spotted the mistake.
Can you e-mail me the scores?
Short answer: nope.
Long answer: Still nope.
Which doesn’t seem like a lot.
However, if just .1% (that’s .001) of those downloads were to turn into requests for e-mail attachments… well, let’s do the math:
1,000,000 X .001 = 1,000 X the 5 minutes it takes to respond = 5,000 minutes, or 83 hours.
So, as much as I’d like to, I just can’t do it. 🙁
Can I send you a request?
If there’s something you would like to request, I’ll be happy to hear about it. The bad news is… this is my hobby, not my paid profession.
I’ll add requests to my “good ideas” folder (yes, I really do keep one), and hope to get to them some time during this millenium, or possibly the next. Please bear in mind that I rarely arrange music that is still under copyright, for which I have to obtain permission and pay royalties. (Many of the hymns in the LDS hymnbook are still under copyright.)
If you’re requesting a specific voicing or harmonization for any of the music on this site, I’ll also be happy to hear about it. However, (maybe that should be “HOWEVER“…) it isn’t likely that I will get to it in a hurry, so don’t depend on it if you have a deadline.
Who do I contact about a problem with my CD order?
My CDs are currently manufactured and shipped by Kunaki.com, and yes, they occasionally goof. So far, I’m pleased with their over-all service… knock on wood!
If there is any problem with your order, contact them directly at CustomerService@kunaki.com. (If you contact me about it, I’ll forward your message on to them, but it will add an extra step… which means extra delay.) Be sure to include your order number.
The only way I will know how they perform is from your feedback, so I’d certainly appreciate hearing your comments on them.
Hmmm…. I guess that really should be “Whom…” Ah well.
Can I sing demos for your site?
Most of the demos I use are done by local talent (Colorado Springs area), and are recorded in my home studio. Singers outside this area will need to have free access to studio facilities or high-quality home recording facilities. A couple of things you should know:
- I can’t possibly use every singer who sends me a demo–that doesn’t mean you’re not talented!
- There is no profit involved in this. Singers on this site do it for the love of the Lord, and a little exposure along the way.
If you’re not deterred by any of the above, drop me a note using the contact link at the bottom of the page. I’ll let you know how you can send me a demo.
Can I record your music?
If you would like to make recordings of these songs for your own personal use, and for limited distribution to family and friends, feel free. (Send me a copy! I’d love to hear you.) You’re welcome to use the accompaniment tracks provided if you wish.
If you are an amateur artist and you’d like to make recordings of these songs for wider distribution but not for commercial sale, this is the arrangement I prefer: You may use my material royalty-free, and in return you agree to allow me, should I choose to do so, to post your recording(s) to my website as streaming-only demo material for site users, and to include your recording on demo CDs. (Not every recording submitted will be used.) Your name will appear as the performer, and will be linked to your website (if you have one). You will need to send a finished recording to me, either as a physical CD or 320Kbps MP3 file. This usually works out well for both of us–my site users get good quality demo material, and you get some extra publicity for your project. If that arrangement doesn’t work well for you, contact me and we’ll do the standard royalty arrangement.
Note: Yes, the above paragraph is for real, and you don’t need further permission as far as my side of things goes. If your studio needs a license to proceed, contact me using the e-mail link at the bottom of the page, and include the name that should appear on the license and the tracks being recorded.
If you would like to record my material for sale, contact me using the link at the bottom of the page and tell me about your project.
Can I copy and share your recordings?
If you would like to copy and share the free MP3 recordings with family and friends, go right ahead. Most songs have 128Kbps MP3 recordings that are freely downloadable.
If you would like to copy and distribute these recordings on a larger scale than just family and friends, please use the high quality files offered for purchase on each song’s page.
Purchase of these files includes a license to copy and distribute in unlimited quantities on any physical medium (CD, DVD, etc.) for non-commercial use, unless otherwise noted. (If it says, “This file may not be distributed,” on the song page …well, it can’t be distributed. ) The purchased files (and resultant disks) may not be re-sold or included for download on websites. The purchased files may be burned to CD and used for bulk distribution, e.g., gifts for classes or choirs, Christmas cards, Mother’s/Father’s-day gifts, etc.
Why is there a charge for some MP3 files?
You’ll notice that a few songs don’t have free MP3 downloads. That’s because either…
1) The song was recorded as part of a licensed project and I don’t own the rights to the recording;
2) There’s some copyright restriction on the arrangement and I have to pay for each copy downloaded. (Paying royalties for something you don’t get paid for yourself is reeeeeally bad for the budget. 🙂 )
Can you give us some biographical information?
I was born June 10, 1959 in Eugene, Oregon, USA. I have lived in Colorado Springs, CO, since 1988.
I have a wonderful husband, Dennis. I have four great kids–Jennifer Robin (who goes by her middle name), Holly, Amy, and Daniel. I have four amazing grandchildren–Damien, Lyric, Malachi and Killian.
I love to read anything I can get my hands on, provided it’s reasonably well-written. I am an avid BYU sports fan.
There’s more on the “About the Composer” page, but I’m afraid a lot of it is less than serious. I’m hopeless. (At any rate, when is the last time you sat through someone’s entire lifetime full of credentials and accomplishments without secretly wishing to just get on with the show?)
Where in Utah do you live?
Do you do firesides?
The short answer: Maybe.
The long answer: As you may know, I have MS. (If you don’t know much about it, try this: MS Symptoms.)
I love coming to your events, and meeting all you wonderful people. I have to schedule carefully though, so if you want me, drop me a note (use the contact link at the bottom of the page) and we can discuss the whats and whens and wherefores and then decide.
How many people are on your staff?
Yes, people seriously ask that.
For your edification, here’s a picture of my staff. In it you will see my manager, my sound technician, my scheduler, my data entry clerk, my HR chief, and my janitorial crew.
Her name is Tokio, and she belongs to my daughter.
Anything involved in this composing/publishing/recording operation that she can’t do, I do myself.
Why do you give away music instead of selling it?
a. I’m insane
b. I’m already filthy rich
c. To spite my hard-working husband
d. I’m doing penance for the jawbreaker I shoplifted* when I was five
Okay, okay, it’s none of the above, although a. might well be true. I guess it’s just because I can. The Lord has placed me in circumstances that currently don’t demand extra income, he has inspired the creators of technology to produce programs that I can use to publish the music without the assistance of typesetters, and he has given me a gift that I did nothing to earn. Sharing seems logical.
*And yes, I really did shoplift a jawbreaker when I was five. I took it from its place among its fellows, and held it clutched tightly in my hot little fist, intending to beg my grandmother for a nickel with which to buy it. But it fit so comfortably in my hand and felt so nice that I soon forgot it was there. By the time we left the shop it was also comfortably sticky and mutilated, and I ate it with enthusiasm, only remembering afterward that I had not paid for it. I cried for hours, but was too afraid to tell anyone and atone for my terrible misdeed. Ah, the trials of childhood.
Is there a story behind that picture up top?
Okay, no, people really don’t ask that.
And no, no story. Just a dad joke.
When I was a kid, my dad used to repeat the old saying, “It’s hard to drain the swamp when you’re up to your ears in alligators.” (I think the word wasn’t actually “ears.” Whatever. He expected a laugh every time too. Dads.)
Hence the picture above. It’s a pretty good representation of what my e-mail inbox is like. Sometimes it chases me away from my computer and forces me to take refuge on top of large items of furniture. Sometimes I just fall asleep at the keyboard, and wake up with QWERTYUIOP imprinted on my forehead. So let me ask… plead… beg… one more time… please read through this FAQ before sending questions?
(As you can see, the picture has been photoshopped… obviously… who puts their grand in a swamp with alligators? It also has a new hairdo shopped on to the old photo. That’s really my hair these days, but I didn’t want to re-take all the photos.)
Soooo…. what if your question isn’t answered here? If you’ve read the entries above, AND if your answer is not there, AND if the answer to your question would be of use to others, please post it below? That way everyone can benefit from your question. You need not include your name–if you’d rather be anonymous just make something up. If you’ve always wanted to be called “Cordelia,” now’s your chance. ? Posts will appear after approval, and may be edited. (Spammers, begone.)
If the answer to your question would not be of use to others, contact me by e-mail using the contact link at the bottom of the page.
Again, please, please, please read through the topics above before writing. I could easily spend all my song-writing time reading and responding to e-mail, which wouldn’t make me happy–and presumably wouldn’t make you happy either. Because of this, I won’t respond to questions that are already answered above. If you send a question and don’t get a response, you might want to read through the FAQ again. ?
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