Cleaning the closet is a little like what it felt like when you open the closet doors knowing there are things inside that must be dealt with. When I was dating my wife over 25 years ago and studying jazz in college, I composed a piece of music which was going to be for an album that I never created. Then fourteen or fifteen years later, when I got my shiny new piano, the one I’d been scoping out for years through the window of the store I’d passed by frequently, I composed another three jazz compositions. Years later, I was teaching composition students when I wrote the remaining two songs in more of a pop piano style. So I had this mismatch of pieces that didn’t fit together as an album, but it bothered me that they stuck in my head and were just there, not solidified in any way, just to be lost over time. I only had one poorly notated composition, which I wrote as a student.
Even though I’d written music down for years in projects, school assignments, and assignments for testing my students, I hadn’t published any sheet music intended for sale. This situation would be the time to try that. First was “Where Will You Be?”, the poorly notated song I wrote in college. Then I started working on the three songs I wrote when I got the new piano, “Tuesdays Always,” “An Evening Stroll,” and “East On Yellowhead.” I finally finished the set with the remaining two compositions I wrote when teaching my composition students, “What Am I Doing Here?” and “City of Champions.” I played all six into the DAW and then transferred them to the Noteflight notation program, which I was trying out in this capacity for the first time. After much editing and trial and error, the pieces were in their publishable form and ready to head out the door.
What this post is about is feeling settled. I tell my students to keep everything they write as you will never know when it may become helpful. “Where will You Be?” was written in 1989 and published in 2023 by my publishing company, Up-Tempo Publishing. I feel more settled now that those pieces have a home, not left to die alone in the fading memory of a composer eventually getting older.