Daniel Carter

Composer Publisher Author

Rekindling My Hope to Start Composing and Writing Again

To describe how 2018 went for me, I need to describe 2017, which is a complete contrast. 2017 is what I refer to as my “Cinderella year.” It’s the year that so many amazing things came together that seemed impossible. After 24 years of working on and performing various versions of “Artaban, the Other Wise Man” I adapted the previous concert versions into a stage musical. Miraculously, I was able to pen lyrics and script, and complete a 240 page score, fund it, and secure a venue. We were an unknown, but the community came out to support it. We performed four nights and even raised money for a homeless charity in the process. The second night of performances, my dear, adopted Dad, David, passed away. I found out 15 minutes before showtime. As we closed the show for the year, I had to prepare for a private concert where the proceeds were donated to the same homeless charity. Once that was done, I had to refocus my emotions and energy to prepare to speak and perform two pieces at David’s funeral. After that I crashed hard.

January of 2018 I went full speed ahead in developing a soundtrack for the Wise Man production we intended to perform through the holidays later in the year. I found that my hearing declined. The biggest problem is still tinnitus, (ringing) which is severe. It actually causes problems creating dead places in my hearing because the frequencies in my head cancel out the frequencies I’m trying to listen to. A hearing test revealed my hearing loss was stable at 45% loss, and that if I would reduce my stress, tinnitus would most likely clear up. It didn’t. It has remained constant and intense with no variation. I’ve had tinnitus 24/7 since I was about 18 years old, but it has gotten gradually worse.

I took time to wallow and be depressed. I talked to my board and my creative team and decided I needed a long break to figure this out. So I immersed myself in headlines and family things and bailed completely on all social media. The first was not such a good idea, but the latter two proved to be grounding, and wonderful. I stopped composing and playing. I stopped writing. I took the year off in 2018 and with it came a underlying discouragement and negativity that I couldn’t seem to quite shake. Although I did come out of my depression by March, I now had so many justified reasons to blame a broken world for my underlying unhappiness. I became a poster child of being the victim of thinking my unhappiness could be blamed on the world.

As the year progressed to the final quarter, family members struggled with certain health issues. Two members face dire health situations. One so bad that by December we took an impromptu trip to Portland, Oregon to visit him in a surprise visit while in the hospital. We had no idea if he was going to live or die. We just didn’t want to have any regrets about not spending time if anything became more dire. The visit was wonderful in every possible way. Happily, he is at peace with whatever happens, which gave us courage to feel the same without lamenting what the future may hold for him or us. On the way home, we visited another family member I hadn’t seen in years, along with an aunt who is in hospice care.

Through all this overwhelming difficulty for my family, and facing my own far lesser health concerns, I began to see the error in my judgment regarding the world. It isn’t broken and I’m not here to fix it. I’m here to think things and do things that perhaps no one else has done. The reason for the extreme diversity in the world, whether good or bad is actually a gift. It means that there is no limit to what we can imagine or do, and if we were only left with choices of what we want, it would ultimately limit our own ability and opportunities to create the life we desire.

I decided I had to do something to rekindle my interest in music and writing. The thought came to me, “Do the simplest things first.” I sat down and played piano for a half hour every day, despite the severe ringing and distortion in my head, and I started writing little thoughts down that helped me see the beauty in this diverse and seemingly convoluted world.

I was tempted to make a couple of new year’s resolutions, but as I really examined that thought based on my own experience, I decided I had preparation to do before I could resolve to do anything else. So I sat down and penned an article. It came together quickly. I was surprised and pleased. I published, “The Pernicious Herd Mentality of Making New Year’s Resolutions” just the other day. And because of this article, my preparations are steady as I get clear and begin to formulate my one or two resolutions. It feels good. I feel on track again.

Click on the highlighted title above to read the article, and if you feel so inclined, please share the link with others, and on social media.

A happy, joyous new year to all of you!

37th Anniversary of "Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem"

2018 marks the 37th anniversary of the publication of “Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem.” Sherri Otteson Bird, (the lyricist) and I were only in our 20’s when we collaborated in creating it. Since that time, we have both received messages from all over the world of how the song has affected people for good, bringing hope, peace, consolation and more. These stories never grow old with us. In our own personal ups and downs in life, these stories give us hope to face our challenges and setbacks. So in a very real way, we and you rely on each other this way. And so I think it’s quite accurate to say that we are here to be a blessing to each other. In this world that seems so heavily afflicted with conflict of all kinds, I think on this often, and my hope is that I still have time left to add value to people’s lives, whether I ever get to meet them or not.

I wanted to say thank you personally to all the people who love our song have performed it. Thank you for sending your stories which always brighten any day, and continue to give us hope. Thank you for taking the message of this song with you into your lives, and sharing it with other lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You can see and hear my Christmas thank you here.

I have often been asked how our song came about. You can read that story here.

My continued thanks to all of you, and I wish for you and your loved ones and friends a joyous holiday season!

Announcement Regarding Submissions for the New LDS Hymnbook

Dear Friends,

I receive several emails a week for requests for me to review songs and hymns for the upcoming new LDS hymnbook and new children's songbook. I have declined all of these requests and invitations because I now have a 45% hearing loss, and working on music projects has become much more difficult than in the past. As much as I love being contacted by any and all of you, I want you to know that I cannot review your beautiful submissions. And I think you should know that I have worked through the depression of my circumstances, and that I'm happier than I've ever been in my life, and I understand that this discomfort and inconvenience is simply a hidden blessing for me to reconfigure my thinking and approach to music. That means I need to take a break from music projects, not push, and let my spiritual guide and connection work without my interference or demands. It's quite a remarkable process, and I'm intrigued by the possibilities.

Additionally, this is what I can tell you about the new hymnbook and children's songbook. There will be THOUSANDS of submissions of new songs and hymns for these books. But you must also realize that these books are being reduced in size to match the international versions, which means the new hymnbook will be reduced from 341 hymns to 200, and the children's songbook will be reduced from about 375 songs to about 110. So the odds of your submission being accepted into one of these books becomes extraordinarily slim at best. There will be a few new pieces added to each book, but not many. This is the harsh truth. All the favorites will still be included in each book not leaving a lot of room for brand new pieces. But here is the best news: what you have composed does not need to be published by the Church in order for it to be of blessing and benefit to countless people. If your compositions are not accepted by the Church, then by all means keep all your rejection letters and wallpaper a room with them so you can keep track of where and to whom you've sent your pieces, and then be persistent in finding publishers and sources for you to release your gifts to the world.

If you're not aware, holysheetmusic.com and sheetmusicplus.com accept new submissions as do other online sites. Do your research because you have options that will help you get your publishing career going.

If you'll read a couple of blog posts down from this one, you'll see a post called "Inspiration>Failure (Repeat) = Success". Please read this post and use it as your go-to in times of doubt and feelings of failure. I can tell you that I have personally received enough rejection letters from publishers all over the world that I could wallpaper at least one room completely!

I hope this post gives you hope rather discouragement. Being armed with accurate information and a few suggestions always help us make better and more informed decisions. Don't be afraid to submit your compositions for the new hymnbook and children's songbook, but don't be attached to an outcome. Look at the broader view and realize the Church is just one great opportunity for you. Keep the vision of getting your music out through several possible sources, and you will eventually find the success you hope for.

And finally, please keep composing. And again, I reiterate, don't hesitate to submit your beautiful works to the church. It's not in our control to know what will and will not be accepted, and the good news is that something far greater than ourselves has every detail and every person in mind with a beautiful plan. As we know all too well, the world needs the hope that you create through your music.

Kindest and best to all.

Your friend,
Daniel Carter

Update: Dr. Douglas Pew is a brilliant composer and very much understands the construction of great music, and has created several tools for composers intending to submit their materials to the new hymnbook and children's songbook. You can find these resources at www.douglaspew.com/341hymns. You can also contact him directly to request that he personally review your music at doug@douglaspew.com.

The Reluctant Hero

The reluctant hero’s journey always begins with the discovery of flawed man made conventions. She/He has no desire to leave comforts to take up an inconvenient cause, however, the nagging injustice of these wrongs becomes intolerable, so reluctantly she/he embarks on a journey of truth. But threat and rejection cause great self doubt of ability and importance.  A mourning period halts the journey until mentors appear who strengthen the hero against powerful enemies. (In real world experience, this is where most of us get stuck—in grief and anger, believing we are powerless to do anything more than accept what we cannot control. But as headlines prove, anger and depression build until some commit suicide, and others become insane with hate resulting in lashing out at the world with murderous vengeance. But most become compliant, miserable, complaining sheep.)

But as mentors teach the hero of her/his primordial origin—which is that all human beings are created whole (which completely opposes man made conventions which teach that humans are innately flawed), the hero’s intuition and moral compass are reaffirmed revealing that the conflict as the hero perceived it is spot on, which reignites action to take up the cause of truth again.

The hero is bolstered to leave the conventional world, crossing a threshold into very dangerous realms with unknown rules. The rules change because those who protect man made convention will do anything to perpetuate the lie (because they receive enormous rewards for protecting it). Enemies surround until the hero confronts death and greatest fears. The treasure is won, but threat of loss is constant as the road home is equally dangerous.

Near the end of the hero’s journey is the climax—a final, terrible test that brings a spiritual and/or physical death, which serves as a rebirth, transformation, or resurrection to a higher level, thus resolving the conflicts of the beginning. The hero may continue on, or may mentor other heroes.

The secret of the reluctant hero’s journey is this: The fear of pain and loss is greater than the sum of both. The only way out is through. Through fear, through grief and loss we are able to draw strength to rise.

But whether or not you or I are ever heroes, this may be the most important question: If you could believe you are created whole—not flawed as human convention teaches—what would your life be like?

Inspiration>Failure (Repeat) = Success

To me, the two most critical elements of success are inspiration and failure. Not drive, not ambition, not an insane list of unachievable goals. Just inspiration and failure. We are not efficient machines. We are humans. We have good days and bad days, productive ones, and unproductive ones. Pushing too hard, making unachievable goals, and constant drive without built in rest will kill success quicker than anything else I know. And when you hit burnout, it's relaxation and play that will make things right again, and inspiration has a chance to return. When we "work" we refer the adult drudgery of duty and obligation for money. But it's play that will help us discover, experiment, learn, and progress.

It’s actually failure that we need most (despite that we think we need success the most). We fear, and despise failure. We think it makes us look bad. (Which is a whole other subject about our deep insecurities.) In every failure is a lesson, a furthering of our education, a course correction pointing us back to inspiration with a modified outlook and slight change in direction. That’s the only path I know of that leads to success. If you achieve success without these things, you skipped steps and will have to make up that homework eventually (trust me). So dream often, fail even more often, and dream some more and keep inspiration as a daily ritual.

Where Do Broken Dreams Go?

The trouble with broken dreams is that they don't go away even after we discard them and give up. They just sit in your gut like an infection—an unfulfilled lump of failure. If they'd just die and go away we could move on. But they don't because we still believe in them. We still have the passion, but are at a standstill. We still have that love to create and make them come true. So what do you do with broken dreams?

I finally gave up on some of my dreams and after I did, I woke up one morning and had a clear idea how to proceed. At first I was ticked off. I already decided I was done! Then I realized by walking away from the dream because of stress and disappointment, I hit a reset button that cleared everything and allowed a new thought process to develop. What I learned was that our broken dreams usually just need a little space, a break, a change, and then creativity can thrive again. It's extremely rare that a dream is so broken that it can't be realized in some way.

I have a few unfulfilled dreams that I've been working on for 40 years. I still work on them. I don't know how they will develop but I’ve learned it’s important to not predetermine the outcome. Being unattached to the outcome will help you accept and embrace all kinds of new possibilities. Hold steady to the vision and be ready to adapt to new possibilities to bring it to reality.

—Daniel Carter

An Open Letter to Fellow Musicians, Fans, and Friends

Dear Friends,
THANK YOU ALL for your interest, support, recommendations, ideas, encouragement, friendship, and so much more. Thank you for your messages about how music has touched you and others (and in some cases, how one of my pieces has made a difference for good.) As you know, I no longer am in the music sheet music business, but before all the alarms go off, please know that you can still find most of the long-time favorites online. Because of many inquiries, here is the short list:  holysheetmusic.com, jackmanmusic.com, sheetmusicplus.com, jwpepper.com, and the three pieces published through Neil A. Kjos are available through any music retailer by ordering them. Here are the youtube links to the Kjos pieces: “May the Lord Bless You and Keep You”, “For the Beauty of the Earth”, and “The Songs They Sang that Night”.

I’ve also received a LOT of inquiries wondering why I’m really pulling the plug on 450 pieces of music. But first, please understand I’m stating simple fact. No accusations, no anger, no finger pointing. I’m pulling the plug on 13 books of music and nearly 450 pieces of music because of illegal photocopying and music piracy. I can’t compete. It’s just too easy for people to buy a copy and make additional illegal photocopies. And while this problem has gotten somewhat better through the past few years, it’s still problematic in the sheet music business. So I’m headed in a different direction. The remaining few thousand of my books of music are mostly damaged from storage, and will go to the shredder. No regrets. It’s been a valuable and wonderful journey.

I went through 15 years of incredible difficulty, including a suicide attempt, homelessness (while working 60-70 hours at a full-time and part-time jobs), mental illness, loss of family and friends, divorce, and much more. I have no regrets for a minute of it because I learned how to become a better person, how find happiness, and how to pay it forward. So I am. I have started a nonprofit production company, Under the Sun Productions, Inc., that produces musical and theatrical works and then donates a portion of ticket sales back to homeless charities. "Artaban, the Other Wise Man, the Musical" was our first project, and we are preparing for the 2018 holiday season with improvements and upgrades.

Last of all, thank you again, for your ongoing interest, encouragement, messages, and contact. Please keep in touch.

Daniel Carter

Welcome to My New Website!

Hello!

I hope you find this place easy to navigate, to find information, sheet music, and other resources.

On the Shop page you’ll find several book collections of sheet music. When you click on the book cover you’ll see the contents of each book and then you can click on titles to hear the music, and in many cases, see the sheet music. You’ll also find my little Christmas story, “Another Christmas Carol”, about how I sold my piano to pay college tuition, and the turn of events of how I got it back. You’ll also read about how I cut off my right index finger, and how I adapted.

If you can’t find a specific piece of music, you can probably find it at holysheetmusic.com and jackmanmusic.com. If you still can’t find it, contact me through the Contact page and leave me a message.

To listen to most of my published music, you can go to my youtube channel, danieltuness55, or my soundcloud page, danieltunes.

Here is a link for information and to see and hear the entire Artaban, the Other Wise Man. This work is performed at Christmas time to raise money for charities that help the homeless.

If you’d like to contact me to ask questions, commission music, or anything else, please go to the Contact page and I’ll respond as quickly as I can. Usually within 24 hours.

Thank you!
Daniel Carter