A music business? Sounds good.
I started this business—my first entrepreneurial adventure—while at Brigham Young University (BYU). I was a music-composition major getting all kinds of requests for various musical services: arranging, composing, recording, and publishing. My original name for the business was Sounds Good, Inc., but a clever friend suggested I try something a bit more literal.
Through Soundsmith Music I’ve composed and arranged for choirs and orchestras across the US. One of my favorites is a song set entitled Angel Glorias, performed over the years by several children’s choirs accompanied by orchestra or piano. I created several stage musicals, including Heidi, The Wemmicks, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in Concert, and A Play on Words. I started a studio, and learned all about sound engineering, audio mastering, and CD production (remember those?). And I became the primary music preparation service provider for Mack Wilberg and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a position I’ve enjoyed for more than 23 years.
But as much fun as music-for-hire can be, I discovered that I could also fill an important need.
My church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or “Mormons”) employs a lay clergy—which is a nice way of saying we all work for free. While this kind of self-sacrifice blesses the soul, it also means we have many, many amateur directors trying to build choir programs on a shoestring budget. There’s a hole in the repertoire of well-composed church music that balances easy-to-learn with fun-to-sing and still-appropriate. I can fix that.
So, now I use Soundsmith Music to provide free hymn arrangements for small choirs and maintain an advice column for amateur music directors. Since 2012 (when I added web analytics), Soundsmith has received more than 350,000 visits and generated nearly 50,000 music downloads.
I receive comments and thank-yous and even recordings (my favorite!) from all over the world: Chile, Czechoslovakia, France, the Philippines, Brazil, Berlin, and even Paducah, KY. One of my favorite comments reads: “Thank you! I recently was [assigned as choir director] and feel completely inadequate and very tone-deaf. I feel like I can do this now!”
Music to my ears.