New year, new project
I don’t know about you, but I frequently find my New Year’s resolutions generate a sense of deja vu. There are just some things about me that I want to improve, or tasks I’d like to accomplish, that hang around from year to year.
A friend who knew I like to keep notepaper in my front pocket (so I can incessantly write down or remind myself of things I need to do) once made me burst out laughing when he suggested I write a to-do list of things I’ve already done! THAT was a suggestion I could get into.
Well, that’s sort of what I’m doing this year. In the last few weeks, I’ve finally accomplished (well, started) something that I’ve long aimed for, and I’m going to call it my New Year’s resolution anyway.
As you may recall from earlier columns, last spring I took a seven-week “sabbatical” from the Beacon to test drive my “retirement plan” — composing original piano pieces. That’s something I used to do in middle and high school and always loved.
Doodling around on the piano (which I studied for 12 years) and coming up with interesting note combinations and rhythms were things that made me look forward to my daily piano practice as a kid.
So, in May and June I pulled out some of the short pieces, themes and sketches I wrote down as a youth and worked on developing them into compositions of a respectable length (we’re talking 3 to 5 minutes).
I produced three new pieces and reacquainted myself with two from high school that my friends and family tell me are nice to listen to. I also learned how to use music notation software so I could make sheet music for the pieces.
That checked off a couple of resolutions I’ve been making, or thinking of making, for years. (It also convinced me that my retirement plan of pursuing my passion for music is a good one.)
It also brings me to this year’s already-begun resolution — to share my music with the world. I have been recording those five pieces and making videos of myself playing them.
And just the other day, I set up a YouTube channel (Stuart’s Melodies), website (stuartsmelodies.com) and, heaven help me, registered for my first Facebook page. I’m also getting ready to contact a music distribution company about putting my audio tracks on Spotify, Apple Music and the like.
I don’t know how many people make “join the world of social media” (or really “become an exhibitionist”) one of their New Year’s resolutions, but that’s basically what I’m doing.
So, is this what the world’s been waiting for? Will millions beat a path to my door?
You tell me. It would certainly be a big kick to have you listen to my pieces and perhaps download them and/or the sheet music. Learning that a Beacon reader somewhere has decided to play one of my pieces would be especially gratifying.
Two pieces are there as I write this; the other three are in process and should be up in the next few weeks. You can download the recordings and sheet music at no charge from my website. There is an option on the site to pay whatever you want for downloads, but payment is optional.
I fervently hope to write and post more pieces in the future. (You can sign up on the website to be notified when new works are added.)
I couldn’t have done this without the help of others, so I want to thank the Beacon staff (especially Margaret Foster, Roger King and Gordon Hasenei) for taking over my duties last spring during my sabbatical, Jon Seipp (audio engineer extraordinaire) for recording my pieces, my friend and indefatigable videographer and video editor David Hughes, and music and software mentor Jason Sherwin (a composer of note, by the way).
I hope you will check out my music in one way or another.
A few of my videos are also now available at the Beacon Virtual 50+Expo, which I encourage you to visit even more for the wonderful speakers and classes, and for the useful information provided by dozens of exhibitors. That’s all available free online through January 31 at beacon50expo.com.
The entire Beacon staff joins me in wishing you a happy, healthy, peaceful and meaningful 2022.