Cutting CD is sizable task for teen
by Jomay Steen
Argus Leader
 (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Printed August 2, 1999

      For Joe Curry, cashing in on his last year of high school meant putting together a compact disc of his own piano music. Something like seeing a skyscraper and deciding to build one, the project matched the 18-year-old Elk Point man with a sizable task of creative risk-taking, using money he’d saved for college to vault into the world of professional music.

     He researched production studios and the costs of making a CD at the school library in his free time from classes and a part-time job at the family’s seed company.

Curry admits he was more than a little green going into the studios in Omaha. “I had to learn a lot of jargon and trust the studio engineers to make it all come together,” he says.

Between composing, polishing, and recording the 11 easy-listening piano solos, it took eleven months. He worried that if he had written them directly into the computer, he would have left out the musical thought. But he’s pleased with the result. “I had all my songs in my head — exactly how I wanted them performed. After I knew them so well, I was able to put them in the computer.”

While determined to get his music out into the mainstream, he has kept a close watch on the bottom line. He won’t say what the project cost him, but the finished result, called “Milestones,” is a culmination of work, frustration and paying his dues.

During the recording, he hoped to play the harder music first then to breeze through the simpler songs. It wasn’t that simple. “With all the stress of putting it together, I kept making mistakes,” Curry says.

He had to redo his simplest song more than 20 times, while a complicated tune he had finished composing within days of the recording session he played flawlessly on his first try.

He plans to enter college this fall at the University of Minnesota to study management information systems – computer technology to the rest of the world. To use his computer interest to test the waters of his marketing demographic, he designed a website where the sheet music of the song “Milestones” can be downloaded. His web page is at