30 April 2010

Publishing Music...

There are many ways to publish. I have two fields of endeavor needing publishing so I'm always looking for the best way. Not only do we have various technical ramifications we then have marketing concerns for our publications. If they don't sell we don't make an income.

I find publishing music to be even more difficult than the process to get published in the big publishers arena. Knowing that with about 200 pieces of music to publish it would take me years just to query half of them I chose to begin publishing as an independent music press.

The first round, or rather the first effort, is now going to press. I have chosen to use MagCloud.com as the publishing house. They produce magazine format material. Although not the standard for sheet music the format does suffice for collected works of solo music, and for longer works in any chamber groupings. At the time of this posting I have already uploaded four issues of the Solo Music magazine and one issue of the Music of Daniel J Hay magazine.

I call them magazines because that is the format used, the paper type, and the publisher is a magazine publisher. In my own mind I think of them as books. In either case, they are on line to be ordered at any time, are produced only when ordered, and MagCloud.com maintains the files, handles the order, prints, and ships. Then they send me my profits. It may not be a perfect world, but this process is a good substitute.

Having lost all my music once before I don't want to loose the new works at all. So I do have a variety of backups in different locations, and now will have a printable and salable form in another safer location. This does not limit my efforts though. I can, and will, be releasing my music in other forms and to other markets because exposure is required. I don't feel my marketing via MagCloud.com would give me a large share of my intended market. And, in any case, this does not cover the mp3 format at all.

So there will be further publishing to cover different formats and markets. At this time you can access my music issues at http://danielhay.magcloud.com

18 April 2010

Breezy But Not Quite Blustery...

I am sitting in the back yard, the area I fenced off with recycled chain-link fencing and various sized fence posts. I am sure it is not the world's best job but I did a two person job with just myself, and it is sturdy. It is not a stop-gap job but I did not want to pay for anything other than concrete and the pre-cut wire used to attach the fence to the poles. Its only purpose is to allow my dogs to be outside without my constant supervision.

How wonderful it is to be out here in the shade, yet wearing long sleeves while the dogs are sunning themselves a few feet away. As I look up  the steep slope beyond the fence my yard merges into the woods. The tree tops are blowing and birds are visiting. They have eye-balled the dogs and then scratch around in the short growth. "Eureka!" they call out as they snatch bugs and grubs and flitter off to nests hidden in the woods.

It is amazing that the laptop computer becomes nearly unusable out here. It still gets a good signal from the wireless router but the screen is so much darker, and it runs so much slower without the cord running to the wall. I have carved a niche out of the mess that was here and blended my section into the natural border, but nature and technology remain at odds. And nature is winning as it is replenishable and my laptop is not.

Eventually I will string an outlet to extend my convenience to this area, but when I do it will be as unobtrusive as I can make it. Due to the looming forest my back yard spends most of the day in shade at this time of the year. It is not conducive to gardening but I have located two small sections that get greater quantities of direct sunlight. It is likely that instead of doing more arranging and unpacking inside, I'll be out here digging and planting.

I need the convenience of technology for which I pay for satellite connections and cell phone service but I also need the not so blustery breezes, the filtered sunlight, the dancing leaves, and the chatter of the forest and woodlands. I am human so I leave a footprint but it doesn't have to be a vile footprint. I reduce, I recycle, I rebuild, and I regenerate. 

I do so in order that I can sit here sharing nature and technology on equal terms. It is not the home I would prefer if circumstances allowed, but it is a best fit given my goals, my life, and my efforts. So, I'll spend my time improving the here and now, continue to expand my reach, and allow the tang of nature to encompass me.

13 April 2010

A Boy Named Vinny...

Last year, in the midst of Klamath National Forest I was invited to a Memorial Day cookout. I knew two of the forty some people there, and four of the eleven dogs (two of them were mine).

I met some good people there, and more during the summer months I camped at the Hungry Hay Placer Mining Claim. I learned a lot about gold mining, and even found a very small bit of gold that took 4 hrs per day for six months to collect. Not even worth the gas to go to the store and back once, but it was fun.

I learned more about nature and used it to write more music and to write children stories. I remembered, and according to my notes, promptly forgot, parts of my life that had been blanked from my mind. Some memory lost to emotional trauma, some to physical trauma, and perhaps more to vanish as time goes on.

But this is about Vinny...a boy at the cookout who had spent the week at the campsite with his parents to hold the space for the gathering. And it is about a little girl, a friend of his family, who was celebrating her birthday. Now Vinny was a first year violinist and with some coxing from his mother had brought his instrument out to the camp. It was safe in their very long fifth-wheeler, and he had been practicing how to play Happy Birthday.

Vinny's mother felt he had mastered it well enough so she asked him to play if for the assembled guests. Uh oh! Stage fright set in and Vinny could not be persuaded to play. I saw fear in his eyes and a tenseness in his neck and shoulders. I had met Vinny a few days before so wasn't a complete stranger to him. I went over to where he and his mother were discussing it. She trying to persuade him, and him trying to back away.

"Vinny," I said, "I didn't know you played Violin. I played Cello for a very long time, but now I write music for people to play. I compose for most of the instruments in the orchestra." And so we chatted for a bit about his year of Violin playing. What he had learned, and the notes he knew. I told him I would write him a piece of music. And I did. That evening back at my campsite after washing some blacksands down to the cleanest particles...I pulled out a sheet of music paper and wrote Vinny's Tune.

The following day was the last of the gathering. I drove the four miles over there and presented the music to Vinny with his father present. These days it is not wise to offer children anything without a parent at hand. They need the security of knowing the offering is okay with their parents. The parent needs to know they have control, and that the offering is not something wrong. There is too much wrongness in the world as it is.

As most young boys, Vinny didn't really appreciate the gift immediately, but after his mother came over to join us and started asking him what notes this one, that one, and those, were he perked up a bit. I left him a message that the tune was his. Whatever his mood he could play that tune and take it slow or fast to suit himself. It could be sad, it could be speedy, it could be slow, it could be happy. And so it is. It is Vinny's Tune. I also told him that I hoped he continued playing for many, many years.

Why would I talk about Vinny and his tune? Because I have three children, whom I have also written music for, and named the pieces for them. They have yet to hear them, and may never hear them, as I don't know where any of them live. There is much I don't know, bits I do, and much I fear to know. Is it emotional? Yes. Is it physical? Yes. Will I live long enough to overcome either or both? Perhaps not.

This year I expect much of my music will be published and archived in other places than just on my computers. Someday perhaps my children will find my works, including the simple Vinny-like tunes bearing their names. They don't have to like them, but they will know that often I think about them and wish that the blanks were filled.

I am thinking that after I have posted Vinny's Tune for a short while I may post the pieces for my children. I may do that. I may forget because much of the present gets forgotten, but by writing here I may get around to it yet.

I seem to recall wanting a round-tuit.