PROVO — What started as a way to publish music online for one composer branched into a digital service for thousands.
In 2010, Melissa Pack was looking for a way to get more eyes on music she has composed based on the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Melissa said publishing sheet music on a small, personal website was a hard way to distribute her songs.
“My husband, Roger, convinced me to let him build a bigger website for anyone to contribute to,” Melissa Pack said. “This way we could bring in more people and my music would get more views.”
They started freeldssheetmusic.org in 2011 and have seen it grow from 10 visitors a month to more than 500 a day. Composers looking to publicize their music could post their sheet music on the site for free, and anyone looking for new arrangements or original songs could download the music at no cost.
Roger Pack said he’s been happy with the way the site has grown.
“As the site has evolved, our scope has changed a little from the original, but our goal is still to connect as many Mormon composers (especially less known ones) with as many Mormon musicians that use their music, like choir leaders and soloists, as possible,” Roger Pack said.
To garner more visitors in the beginning, they brought in a few popular names in LDS music to help drive more traffic to the site.
“Initially we talked to the bigger names in LDS music to see if they would let us publish some of their music on our site,” Roger Pack said. “Then we tried to find the smaller sites out there and published more of the lesson-known composers.”
Roger Pack said the website has become a popular place for up-and-coming LDS musicians to post their sheet music for people to download. Most visitors come to find piano arrangements or choral music. It’s also become a place for less-experienced musicians to receive feedback on their compositions.
“In the last couple of years we’ve done a sheet music competition,” Roger Pack said. “They can submit music and get feedback on what they’ve published.”
As for the Packs' original goal to attract more attention to Melissa’s compositions, her husband said she’s had more than 4,500 views on her sheet music in just two years. They hope this growth will help inspire their four children to pursue music and write songs of their own.
“We’ve started them in music classes,” Melissa Pack said. “I haven’t formally taught them, but having a musical environment is the best teacher. My oldest likes to write songs and play around on the piano.”
Roger Pack said he hopes their website will inspire new artists to publish music and has seen the work posted lately coming from composers from many different faiths.