Let's flashback to 1995
My new piano studio is up and running, I have lots of students (all under the age of 12) and a sparkly new Masters degree. If you were teaching back in 1995 you might recall that finding supplementary solos and fun teaching pieces wasn't exactly easy. So I started writing my own music to suit the specific needs of my students at the time.
The first collection was In My Dreams. I had transfer students who needed motivation through pieces that sounded impressive and advanced, but actually used familiar patterns that explored the full range of the keyboard. These students were learning patterns like chromatic and whole tone scales along with a variety of rhythm concepts. The pieces engaged the imagination and reinforced important concepts with teachable moments.
"In My Dreams" helped students learn to count dotted quarter notes. "Floating in Space" used whole tone patterns. "Moonlight on the Water" reinforced intervals of 5ths and 6ths. All of the pieces had a strong tactile rote learning component paired with an emphasis on patterns.
As a Canadian, my first thought was to go The Frederick Harris Music Company, the respected publisher of the Royal Conservatory of Music examination books and numerous other resources. In a matter of months contracts were signed and books appeared in stores and on piano teachers' music stands.
I continued to compose for my students and over the years The Frederick Harris Music Company published six collections of my pieces. They became popular choices for music festivals, recitals and exams. In my years of adjudicating and examining I have heard many "Freddie the Frogs" and "Baby Kangaroos".
Let's flash forward to 2017
Back in the Fall a package arrived from The Frederick Harris Music Company. I had no idea what it might be. I opened it to discover 5 copies of each of my books and letter saying they had all been taken out of print. There were some rough plans for digital sales, but the future direction was uncertain. I came to learn that all of the Composer Library collections had been taken out of print.
I waited until January to see how things would unfold.
I started receiving emails almost daily from teachers who wanted to know how to get my books and why they weren't available in the music stores.
So I took a huge leap of faith
I asked to have my copyright returned so that I could have full creative freedom to make my music available independently. As of January 23, 2018 the Anne Crosby Piano Library is independent.
So what does this mean now?
The landscape of music publishing has changed. If it is not feasible for the Frederick Harris Music Company to sell my printed books, then it certainly can't be my business plan. Earning 10% on an $8 book is not going to pay the bills.
So here's my plan of action:
- I am re-typesetting all of my pieces. I'm using a slightly larger font and a more spacious layout. Why? Because I'm a teacher who sees how children look at music. It also gives me the opportunity to have a nice, consistent look for every piece and I can make some edits and improvements along the way.
- I am releasing the pieces as individual solos, not in collections as before. If you want to buy just "Robots", you will be able to do that. I have picked out my favorite pieces and will be releasing 37 solos.
- You will be able to purchase PDF digital downloads. That means you can buy a piece at 2:45pm and start teaching at 3:00pm. I will not be selling printed copies at this time. Possibly in the future I will look at offering a printed collection.
- I will be selling the individual solos as Private Studio License. That means buy it once and you are given permission to print as often as you like for your own students in your own private studio. You are not allowed to share the PDF digital file with students or with other teachers. A Private Studio License is generally 3x the price of a single use download. I think that's a win-win for everyone.
- How you print is up to you. You can print just the music on 8.5x11 pages. Add the cute cover if you like, I've made them printer friendly. I'm also thinking about including an 11x17 layout so you can print as sheet music with a fold down the middle. Would that be useful?
What's the timeline?
I have now typeset all of the pieces and designed covers. That's amazing! So it's time to edit, create the final layouts and test print. You should start seeing the pieces appear here in my Music Discoveries Shop in February.
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And there's more
With full creative freedom that also means that I can add additional teaching resources like videos, lesson plans and activity pages. I'm even contemplating offering single Skype/Facetime lessons for students who would like a "lesson with the composer". If you have suggestions and ideas I'd love to hear them.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end. High fives! I hope you enjoy the new direction for my piano music. The possibilities are so exciting!