Attention Latter-day Saint Hymn Writers!
Give Me 6 Weeks—And I’ll Help You Compose An Original Hymn So Well Crafted And Full Of The Spirit… It Will Stand Out In The Enormous Pile Of Submissions Like A Diamond In The Rough!
Will The Church Ever Publish Another Hymnal After The Newly Announced One? This May Be The Last Opportunity Of Your Lifetime To Have A Hymn Published In The Latter-day Saint Hymnal
Only 10 Seats Available for the October–November 2018 Edition of this Exclusive Apprenticeship Program…
Tuesday, 1:12 p.m.
October 9, 2018
Dear Hymn Writing Friend,
If you secretly dream of having your hymn published in the new LDS Hymnal…
…if you want to leave a musical “testimony” legacy for your children and grandchildren…
…if you know you have something special to contribute to church music but you struggle to know if your music is good enough…
…if you’re terrified of being laughed at… scoffed at… or otherwise ridiculed for thinking YOU could write a hymn worthy of the new hymnal…
If you WISH you could write the kind of hymn that…
Teaches the truth of the Gospel through song.
Sings with the power of pure mountain-moving melody.
Fills the congregation’s heart and soul with the burning spirit of fiery testimony.
Brings the voices of ancient prophets rising from the dust.
Carries the healing balm of Christ’s merciful Atonement down into the hearts of those who hear it.
Impresses and inspires even the most “uppity” professional musicians in the Church.
Mack Wilberg himself would love to arrange for the Tabernacle Choir.
Could be sung at a Temple dedication.
Would be worthy of the Angels in Heaven to sing.
Then this could be the most important, most life-changing letter you’ve ever read. That’s a big claim, I know.
You might even think I’m overstepping the realm of the “appropriate” and spouting blasphemy.
C’mon Doug … Write A Hymn Worthy of The Angels of Heaven … Really?
Stay with me … In just a minute, I’m going to explain how you can become the kind of hymn composer you’ve dreamed you can be.
I’ve Been There Myself
I know how you feel…
You have these moments of inspiration when you see a vision of yourself writing a grand hymn for the ages. You know you have something special to say with your music. Something that can express your testimony of the Gospel… even more effectively than words alone.
You are confident of the message you want to get across and the doctrine you want to emphasize. You know it will affect the lives of those who hear and sing your hymn.
And then the evil little angel on your shoulder starts chiming in.
“Who are you kidding? You’re not a composer! You can’t write a melody, at least, not one anybody wants to sing!”
Or even worse, maybe you get started with your hymn and you feel like you’ve got something pretty good. You play it for your friends or a spouse and their reaction is something like this...
“Hmmm, it’s not my favorite…”
Or … “Is that your melody? It doesn’t really do much for me …
Are you sure you want to keep this up?
Maybe you’re better off leaving this to people who really know what they’re doing…?”
Considering you may have already spent HOURS working on your hymn... possibly hundreds or thousand of dollars in Music Theory classes... you start to doubt your ability… or worse… you start to think… “Who am I to think I could write a great hymn…?”
Deal With It … Or Your Dream Dies
And if that isn’t bad enough … I’m going to tell you how this is going to turn out.
If you don’t do something different from what you’ve ever done before, you’ll be just another statistic. And the statistics are not good.
Less than 1% of composers who pass a college level course in Music Theory go on to be successfully published composers.
When you break it down and look at the published composers who write meaningful worship music… the numbers are even worse.
By my calculations, only 1 in about 500 succeed.
That means for every 1,000 composers reading this letter, 998 will never have a hymn published.
Only 2 will survive.
We all think we are going to be one of those 2, but clearly 998 of us are wrong about that.
What I Really Wanted Was To Inspire People With My Music
But there is hope. You can self-select out of the 998 who fail, and be one of the 2 who succeed. Your music can be affective and inspire people.
You can proactively decide to be a part of the 0.2% who truly write hymns that inspire congregations. I believe you have the power to decide, and then act, and compose the hymn of your dreams.
You can sign up for a college theory or composition class and walk up the long staircase... eventually ascending to all the levels of mastery and inspiration you’ve dreamed of...
...but what if you don’t want to take the stairs?
What if you want a faster, easier way?
I didn’t say “easy” – I said easier.
What if there’s an express elevator straight to the top?
Well, there is. “Dr. Pew’s Hymn Writing Apprenticeship Program” is that express elevator. And I’ll explain why in a moment … but first let me explain how we got here.
The Search For Melodic, Soul Stirring Hymns
Most composers think it’s either easy to write a hymn… or that it’s just an exercise, a study, something didactic to sharpen their skills.
But if that’s the case, why did the greatest composer of all time spend so much of his career writing, harmonizing and re-writing hymns?
J.S. Bach wrote hundreds of hymns. He relied heavily on them in his most important works (the St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, as well as over 300 cantatas). They served as communication devices between the performers and the congregation.
A look at our Latter-day Saint hymn tradition gives us a glimpse into Bach’s view of the importance of congregational hymns.
How do we celebrate during a Temple dedication? We sing a congregational hymn, “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning.”
When we join together twice a year for General Conference, how do 16 million members worldwide become unified in each of five 2-hour sessions? We stand and sing congregational hymns.
And at that final day when the Lord finishes His work on earth, how will we celebrate and rejoice with Him?
With congregational singing!
Doctrine and Covenants 133:56
56 And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:96-98
96 For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations… to scourge them for their wickedness.
97 And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying…
And then the Lord gives the text of this great congregational hymn, sung by the entire human race.
What a day that will be! And what hymn will we sing? Will it be yours?
Each time I write a hymn, I aspire to write the kind of hymn that could be sung in these sacred circumstances.
Writing this caliber of hymn sounds almost impossible. But it’s not impossible… you just need to make sure whatever you write meets these 6 criteria:
Make sure you write using proven patterns of musical persuasion and communicative harmony.
Use the systems, strategies and tactics of a composer who has been in the trenches, has won some major victories, and has the battle scars to prove it.
Get feedback on your hymn writing from a pro. But be careful – there are plenty of people who will give you “feedback” that is worthless at best. Or even downright detrimental at worst.
Get live reactions to you playing or singing your hymn out loud in a safe, secure, and helpful environment. The responses of other human beings are important and invaluable.
Use the power of “deadlines.” This is one of my most powerful writing secrets. I seldom if ever compose great music without a deadline.
Make sure you follow the President Nelson manner of writing found in Moses 6:5.
Even Though I Knew How to Compose Powerful Music, I Almost Quit
During graduate school, I did well. I even won several composition awards. I won 1st place in the nation's most prestigious composition competition for student composers.
But I still felt like I wasn’t connecting with audiences the way I wanted to.
I had lots of writing opportunities. Lots of commissions.
I worked my fanny off! I juggled a full course load, part-time university teaching, family life with 3 kids, and a big pile of composition projects.
After a while I realized... if my music wasn’t connecting with an audience on a deep emotional level, it was only meaningless dribble.
The awards and commissions were worthless without emotional human-to-human connection through my music.
I was trading all my time for a huge heap of meaningless black dots on the page.
And my family was suffering from all my stress and over-work.
Was it really worth it?
How a Scary Decision Changed My Life Forever
At the end of my doctoral course work, I received a Fulbright Scholarship. I would be studying with one of the greatest composers of sacred music in the world in Warsaw, Poland.
This was terrifying for me. The financial arrangements would not support our whole family in Poland. The only way to make it work was to leave my wife and 3 children (ages 6, 4 and 10 months) behind and go to Poland alone for 9 months.
I wanted to make sure my family was taken care of. So we rented out our condo in Cincinnati and moved across the country. My wife and kids moved in with my parents in Utah while I was gone.
It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.
Yet this was when everything opened up for me. I learned and progressed more rapidly in the first 2 months than I had in the previous 9 years.
I found the secret to composing soul-stirring, mountain-moving, heart-softening music. My Polish Catholic teacher taught me how to become the composer I was born to be.
The secret was in my intent, my reason “why.”
I’d been writing for all sorts of different reasons. Every piece had a different “why.” Some were to win competitions. Others were to impress my teachers. Still others were to prove I could out-compose my colleagues. (I know, that’s horrible of me, but it’s the truth. Ego gets in the way all too often.)
What was the difference? Here’s what I found…
Here’s the Difference That Made the Difference
During one of my first composition lessons with Polish teacher at the Chopin University of Music, my mind and heart were blown wide open.
He said, in his deep Pol-English voice, “We must compose for God. Every note I compose is for God. Every note my father composed was for God…
“…We must compose for God!”
Bring on the heavenly flood-lights! Why hadn’t this occurred to me before? Suddenly I knew who I was and why God had given me a talent for music. Not to bring me fame or notoriety. It was all about serving God and using my music to bring His children from all walks of life closer to Him.
Music can do this more powerfully than the spoken word. Music can bypass the intellect and get right down into the secret chambers of the heart. But only if it is music written with that pure intent. Not for some ulterior motive.
With my new laser focused intent, and with a masterful mentor to guide me, I was ready to write in a new, soul stirring way.
What made it even better was I had a laboratory to work in. As the assistant conductor to my teacher’s Cathedral Choir, I spent a lot of time in rehearsal. We sang through and practiced my music over and over again. To be able to write for friends who, like me, wanted only one thing, to glorify God with our music, was a joy!
This is the type of environment I've designed in the Hymn Writing Apprenticeship Program.
My Before & After
Before my teacher opened my eyes, I was a composer “blown about by every wind of” whimsy.
Now, I had a clear mission and purpose. My entire “why” had been defined. I became a composer who’s every note was written to glorify God and bring His children closer to Him.
The day my Mass was premiered at the Warsaw Cathedral, I learned the real power of sacred music… the kind composed “for God.”
A retired music professor and his wife came to me after the service. In rapid-fire Polish, translated by my teacher, they told me how deeply my music had moved them. There were tears in their eyes. I didn’t need an interpreter to understand what they were feeling. I was overwhelmed.
During dinner in the catacombs with the clergy, one of the priests said to me, “thank you, Mr. Pew. Your music helped me to pray.” Again, there was that deep emotional connection. I could feel how much my music had meant to him.
Since returning from Poland I have focused all my composition efforts on this kind of deep communication. This is the key I want to pass on to you.
Here’s What You’re Getting in Dr. Pew’s Hymn Writing Apprenticeship Program
We will spend 6 weeks working together on your original hymn. Each week I will conduct a 60-90 minute (give or take) online video class. We will work on writing…
powerful, memorable melodies…
strong emotive harmony…
storytelling text settings…
and I’ll walk you through my personal hymn writing process using my own hymns as examples.
At the end of each week, I will host a 1-2 hour live coaching session. Together as a class, we will go through your hymns. I will critique, coach and offer suggestions for improvement in real time.
Because I want you to write the best hymn possible, I will extend our time together as much as needed. I’m happy to keep the weekly coaching sessions going for a few weeks after our classes are over.
That’s a total of 3 to 4 hours per week for at least 6 weeks. Each session will be recorded and available to you in a members area online.
If you took private composition lessons from me, I would charge you $100/hour. That’s up to $400 per week for 6 weeks totaling $2,400.
If you signed up for Music Theory and Composition courses at a college, you’d easily pay 10 times that amount in tuition. Probably much more.
To get to where I am in my composition career, you’d have to spend 9 years in college. That’s about $144,000 in tuition, to say nothing of the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. You’d also have to gain over 15 years of hard-won experience working with professional ensembles and conductors including...
...the John F. Kennedy Center...
...Washington national Opera...
...the National Cathedral...
...Cincinnati Symphony and Opera...
...the Glimmerglass Opera Festival...
...the Aspen Music Festival...
...and many choirs around the globe.
In the Apprenticeship Program, you get to bypass years of paying dues and the huge expense of a formal education.
In other words, you get to…
…Borrow my brain for 6 weeks for only $1,000…
…leave a “testimony” legacy to your family…
…and walk away with a fabulous original hymn
ready to submit to the Church Hymnbook Committee!
The Details About Your 6 Week Course
So here are the details… the Hymn Writing Apprenticeship Program begins Tuesday, October 30th. We will have a class each Tuesday night starting at 7pm MDT, for 6 weeks ending Tuesday, December 4th.
Every Saturday morning, beginning on November 3rd at 9am MDT, I will host a live coaching session. These sessions will continue each Saturday until December 8th. If we need to add a few extra coaching sessions, we will. We'll play this by ear.
If you have to miss any sessions, don’t worry, I'll post the recordings no later than the day after in the members area.
I highly recommend attending as many critique sessions as you can. I often learn the most from critiquing the work of other composers. You'll pick up valuable tips and strategies while observing coaching with your classmates.
The goal is to have each of you walk away from this program with a stunning original hymn. This will be much more likely to happen if we all work together. We can even sing through them live on the weekly calls. There’s nothing I know of that will inform you about the quality of your writing like a live performance. We can make that happen together as a class.
What Professionals Are Saying
One of my best hymns is, “Savior of the Wandering Sheep.” It’s the final movement from my cantata “The Good Shepherd.”
Here’s what Dr. Craig Jessop, former director of the Tabernacle Choir has to say about the work.
I work as composer-in-residence at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Cincinnati. Dr. Carlton Monroe, the music director, has premiered each of my cantatas and many of my hymns and anthems. Here’s what he has to say about my work.
Another frequent collaborator of mine is Dr. Jonathan Giblin. He is the Organist and Director of Music at Fairfax United Methodist Church in Virginia. Dr. Giblin says the following:
“Hey Doug, Is There a Guarantee?”
Yes! I’m offering you a 100%, 30-day money-back guarantee.
But let me be clear… you have to qualify for a full refund…
If you actively participate in our weekly classes and coaching sessions...
If you complete the assignments...
If you apply my teachings...
And if after 30 days you are not 100% satisfied in my ability to help you write a fantastic hymn...
I will give you every penny of your $1,000 investment back. No questions asked.
I’ll Also Make These 5 Additional Guarantees
You will be trained in, and practice the use of, proven methods of melody writing.
I’ll demonstrate, and give you, my best systems for using harmony to its full emotional potential. And I’m a composer who has won some major victories in my career based on the strength of my communicative harmonic writing.
You’ll get substantial feedback on your hymn from a pro.
You’ll get virtual in-person (over the inter-webs) reaction to your work as we critique and sing it out loud (if you want to – we won’t force you to let us sing it out loud, but honestly, you’d be a fool to pass this up!).
You’ll get the power of a community working together becoming greater than the sum of it’s parts.
What Is This Worth?
So what is all this worth?
You’re getting at least a $2,500 return on your investment, to say nothing of the tuition you’d pay otherwise (over $100k…). All you have to do is show up.
You’re getting live, in-person, teaching and training from Doug. This is the only way to get that at the kind of rate you’re getting… and you’re getting a FREE engraving of your finished hymn by a seasoned music engraver/copyist.
Doug has specifically designed this experience to install great “hymn writing” skills in your nervous system. This will allow you to compress over a decade of experience into a few short weeks. So you can use the skills for creating moving church music whenever you want to.
If the only thing it did for you was just one of the following…
Get your first hymn draft written and finished in 6 weeks.
Allow you to be trained directly, in person (virtually), by Doug.
Put you in a voluntary group of like-minded hymn writers and FORCE you to hear your piece out loud, testing it for quality.
Imprint skills and musical persuasion patterns into your nervous system that you’ll be able to access for life.
In my humble (but accurate) opinion, any one of those benefits would be worth investing the retail price of $2,500. But the Hymn Writer’s Apprenticeship Program delivers not one... not two... but all FOUR of these benefits… and more! For only $1,000.
In addition to all that… as a bonus for your investment... I will personally prepare your finished hymn in Finale Notation Software.
Your submission to the Church will looks as good as a professionally published piece of music.
That’s worth at least another $300.
Order Right Now Because We Have a Firm Limit on the Number of Attendees
I have a very real limitation on the number of people I can accept into this program. Because of the time it will take to give you the attention you deserve... and to professionally engrave each of your hymns... I have to limit the class to 10 people.
Based on the number of interested responses I’ve had, these 10 spots WILL sell out. And if you hesitate, you’ll lose out.
It’s Your Time
Time to change your destiny.
You’re standing at the crossroads. To the left is the same rough, rocky road you’ve been traveling. To the right is the road fewer people will choose.
This road is not harder… it’s different.
Choosing the right road makes all the difference. I’m hoping you’ll choose the right road and join us today.
And you won’t be alone…
I’m going to hold your hand every step of the way and walk you through this process.
Here’s What You’re Getting Today
Yes, Doug, count me in for your “Hymn Writer’s Apprenticeship Program.” I understand that when I register today, I’m getting:
6 weeks of teaching about the nuts and bolts of hymn writing.
Exercises that will help you implement each week’s teachings.
Many hours of live coaching and critiquing for at least 6 weeks, possibly 8 or 9.
Direct help, instruction and feedback from Doug.
Special Free engraving of your finished hymn.
Total ACTUAL Retail Value, (if you count the cost of college and graduate school)… $144,000.
Your Investment Today, $1,000.
One thing is for sure: in the next few years, a new hymnal of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will arrive. The question is… will you be in it? Choose the path that takes you where you want to go.
So go ahead, click below, and get registered for Dr. Pew’s Hymn Writer’s Apprenticeship Program.
6 weeks. Your hymn done. With my help.
Get your seat before they’re all gone. I’ll see you in our virtual classroom soon!
Dr. Douglas Pew