the new professionalism

A few days into the New Year now and I've been somewhat productive.   The main thing is that I overhauled my website to fix a couple things I'd been meaning to get to for a long time.   First, I made it so that the mp3 links all open up a new window with a player instead of just linking directly to the mp3.   The advantages are that it looks a bit classier, and people can't download the music.   (Well, actually they still could, but they'd have to be a bit more clever now to do it.)   It's not that I care whether anyone has the mp3s.   Lord knows, I would be flattered if anyone wanted to download them!   But I decided to make the change anyway because it seems more professional, more respectable somehow not to be giving stuff away.   That's sort of a theme with me for the new year... professionalism, and the attempt to get some.

Which brings me to the other really exciting new development at   I stopped giving away my sheet music for free!   Well, so far I've only set it up with a dozen or so of the songs that people actually seem to want--like the Caveman song or Highway Miles.   But now when you click on the PDF links for those songs, it takes you to the "Pete Mills Page Store," where you are asked to pay $2 for the sheet music.   The idea is that people pay me using PayPal, and then I email them the song.   I checked around to see what various other songwriters charge for their sheet music, and my finding was that $2 is on the cheap side.   Others charge $5 or even $10 for a song, but I guess after years of giving it away for free, I couldn't bring myself to jump in at that higher level.   It will take me a while to build up the necessary self-esteem to ask for more money for my work.   I haven't had any customers yet, but I will be *very* excited when and if I do!   Not that I'm expecting this to pay my rent... Again, it's more the principle of the thing.   I'm trying to convince myself that this really is my career.   

I've also finished up the HONOR demo recording, and I've posted some of the stuff on here.   It's definitely one of the better sounding demos I have, even though it was done, like all of my stuff, on the cheap.   This time I paid money to do the tracking at a studio with some better gear... and then did all the mixing and editing myself.   Another improvement this time around is that I actually got the orchestra into the studio, rather than overdubbing vocals onto a live recording of the orchestra.   In any case, I'm pleased with how it turned out... Even so, it makes me think about how I always seem to opt for quantity over quality.   Like I got all seventeen tracks of HONOR recorded, and it all sounds "pretty good."   I probably could have invested the same amount of time and money getting the four best songs from HONOR and having them sound really good.   I think most composers would opt for the latter.   Professionalism.   After all, four songs is probably all someone wants to listen to anyway.   And four amazing tracks will sell the show better than seventeen decent ones.  

Oh, I don't know what will come of it all.   Every new year I think that it's the last possible year I can keep this up and that I'll have to switch to some sort of "Plan B" career.   And now with every show on Broadway closing and all the theater world hunkering down for a miserable winter, it seems like there's little hope.   And yet I don't know how to do anything else.   And it's late now.   Embarrassingly late for me to give up or try to do something else with my life.   I've had some small successes along the way... always just enough to keep me hooked for a little while longer.   And yet still, I am nowhere in particular.  

Teaching may be the answer.   Today I wrote a recommendation letter for one of the Triangle Club kids who's applying to the same NYU musical theater writing program that I went to years ago... (ten years ago?? Yikes!)   And I felt a certain pride in having been a mentor to him and having encouraged him in his writing and helped him develop his craft.   I really like doing the writers' workshop with the undergrads, and I could imagine myself having a more full-time teaching job... if I could find one. I've also started doing a bit of coaching... mostly coaching people on my own songs!   Well, at least I feel qualified for that.   But that's something I need to start doing more of ... on my theme of professionalism and making musical theater pay.  

I never knew how to get money, but I'll try, by God, I'll try.  

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