My Music

My songs are made to be really listened to. You could call them foreground music. I hope that you'll listen when they can have your complete focus; every note and every word has been carefully chosen.

This is a collection of, like, everything I've written. Some of the earlier stuff is kinda rough, and some of it I could do a lot better if I redid it now. Maybe sometime I will. I want your input and welcome your ideas on how I could make my songs better. Of course I'd also love to hear details on what you like about them.

The most recently finished song is at the top of the list.

I Have Known Love ~ Ballad (Piano, Strings, Clarinet, More Strings) ~ 2022.11.17
Gratitude for all the good things.
I Shouldn't Have To Dream (Faster Version) ~ Orchestral Bossa Nova Shuffle Electronic Acoustic Rock ~ 2022.02.02
A remake of the classic original from 7 months ago
Laws Of Motion ~ Cool nerdy science love rock ~ 2021.11.11
When someone really moves you it's not just emotion; it's science.
Sitting There Alone In Church ~ Piano ballad with strings and clarinet, somber yet hopeful. ~ 2021.10.25
Even when you do your best to be a good person, sometimes hard, tragic and even unfair things happen. But when you feel alone, it might help to know you're not the only one.
I Shouldn't Have To Dream ~ Rock Ballad(?) with piano, strings, synth, percussion ~ 2021.06.14
No reason to sit around dreaming. There is still time; there is still hope. Go out and get it.
Looking For Jupiter ~ Piano Ballad ~ 2021.05.26
Wandering persons and planets just want to be seen.
Lost In The Stars ~ Piano ballad with vocal ~ 2021.03.16
Musings on the creative process
I Am The Light ~ Religious, Slow Tempo, Piano, Cello, Clarinet, French Horn ~ 2021.01.07
The Lord speaks in first person through the Prophet Joseph Smith regarding the ancient inhabitants of America and how he will bring forth their records
May You Always Believe ~ Religious ballad, orchestra with piano ~ 2020.08.20
A song of hope for my kids, growing up in an uncertain world.
She Would Not Jump ~ Caribbean, reggae, laid-back, humorous ~ 2020.06.18
Just a little metaphor about overcoming fear... or not.
Never Fall In Love ~ Upbeat ballad, piano, strings, french horn and viprapohne ~ 2020.06.14
Denial is not just a river in Egypt.
You Are The Water ~ Laid-back rock with piano, guitar, drums and swoopy thing ~ 2020.06.11
Sometimes all we need for a fresh perspective is a change of metaphors.
Beautiful Girl ~ Soothing ballad with piano, strings and some electronic components ~ 2020.06.07
A song of love and hope, for women recovering from abuse.
Oh, Say, What Is Truth? ~ acoustic guitar, orchestra, piano, vibraphone, vocal harmonies ~ 2020.06.05
A modern arrangement of the classic hymn, asking a question very relevant to the current world situation.
An Easter Tale ~ Religious, church-appropriate, piano ~ 2020.04.18
Just another Easter church song
The Last Song ~ Melancholy acoustic guitar and violin ~ 2018.04.17
Sometimes in life you might just want to jump on the next train that comes through town and disappear. Then you realize that if you did you would have to get off somewhere, and it might end up being someplace like Willcox Arizona.
Rain On Valentine's Day ~ Mournful ballad with piano and guitar ~ 2018.02.14
Romantic holidays all on your own are the best!
The Passing Of The Keys ~ Piano, religious ~ 2018.02.10
When one prophet dies, another is called. This has been the Lord's plan as long as there were faithful people on Earth willing to listen. This song commemorates the passing of Thomas S. Monson.
Missing You ~ Upbeat ballad, piano and strings ~ 2017.11.20
Just another song about a failed relationship.
Then It Hit Me ~ Piano, peaceful ~ 2017.10.17
The realization that in spite of all our faults, a loving parent is a lifelong friend we often take for granted until it's too late.
Art Thou A Brother ~ Piano, religious ~ 2017.10.15
The greeting for the School of the Prophets, as revealed to Joseph Smith, set to music. A covenant of friendship.
Choose Joy ~ Jamaican / Carribean / Reggae with a heavy rock beat ~ 2017.10.04
Looking for ways to be happy? Here's a handy list, presented in an up-beat, laid-back Carribean style.
Second Best Friend ~ Piano Ballad ~ 2017.09.21
What do you do when you're permanently in the friend zone? Write poetry.
Growing Patient (2017 version) ~ Rock, Pop, Techno ~ 2017.09.02
Could there be a positive, upbeat song about something as boring as patience? You decide.
Now I Can Breathe ~ Techno with vocal ~ 2017.08.21
What happens when you combine elements of Old MacDonald and Amazing Grace with a techno sound and use it to write a love song?
Amazing MacDonald ~ Techno. Straight retro techno. ~ 2017.08.14
An adrenaline-pumping instrumental utilizing all sorts of far-out synthy sounds.
Birth Is But A Sleep ~ Religious, choral, modern (Solo or SATB) ~ 2017.08.13
A choral setting of selected lines from Ode: Intimations of Immortality by William Woodsworth, first published in 1807
My Ancestry ~ Religious ballad with piano ~ 2017.08.02
A simple song about the joys of family history / genealogy / ancestry
King George And The Revolution ~ Folk Ballad with a Beat, featuring guitar and piano ~ 2017.07.04
A somewhat snarky retelling of the story every American should know.
Focus On Your Form ~ Uhm... it's a set of spoken phrases set to electronic music ~ 2017.06.19
Does it mean something? Mostly it's just fun, but to me it's a great example of patient parent-child teaching. Give instruction as needed, but not too much. Allow the child to learn through guided experience; encourage in times of failure and rejoice in times of success.
Minecraft (Y U Gotta B So Mean).mp3 ~ Techno ~ 2017.06.16
There are so many ways to die in Minecraft; some of them irritating and others hilarious, but always with a helpful message from the server.
Adam-ondi-Ahman ~ Religious, LDS, hymn, piano and cello ~ 2017.06.12
An arrangement of the LDS hymn, appropriate for church meetings.
Being A Kid ~ Soft piano ballad ~ 2017.01.21
Commendations to the good dads who play with their children.
Six Fifty Two ~ Contemplative, soft piano with vocal ~ 2017.01.16
Ponderings on the welcoming of a new life to the world. Written on the night/morning my first child had his first child.
The Fulness of Times ~ Kinda rockish musical theater ~ 2017.01.02
The text of Doctrine and Covenants Section 1, set to upbeat music. Some sung, some spoken.
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day ~ Christmas, Orchestral with a modern twist ~ 2016.12.16
My new arrangement of the classic Christmas song
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day - Instrumental ~ Modern Orchestral with Piano ~ 2016.12.16
My arrangement of the popular Christmas hymn
Once In Royal David's City ~ Christmas, Piano, Strings ~ 2016.12.12
A new setting of the traditional hymn
Wind Through The Olive Trees ~ Gentle Christmas Orchestral ~ 2016.12.10
Traditional Christmas
If You're Feelin' Like Dancing ~ techno, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) ~ 2016.12.03
Just a super upbeat, high-energy and ultimately meaningless dance song.
Dust ~ Musical Theater ~ 2016.11.30
The thoughts of Mormon and Moroni as they think on the destruction of their civilization and send a warning message to the future. Based on the account from the Book of Mormon.
You Alone ~ Ballad ~ 2016.11.20
A love song from a musical I'm working on about the life of David, from the Old Testament.
Lonely Lullaby - SATB ~ Rock ballad ~ 2016.11.01
An SATB choral arrangement of the song by Adam Young (Owl City)
Reach Out Your Hand ~ Religious Piano Ballad ~ 2016.10.01
Sometimes doing things all on our own is great, but sometimes there is a better way.
Self-evident ~ Patriotic ~ 2016.09.26
A song that conveys the message of the Declaration of Independence, in simplified and modernized language. Intended to be simple enough for kids to sing.
The Articles Of My Faith ~ Religious, Piano ~ 2016.09.21
A paraphrase of the thirteen Articles of Faith of the LDS church, set to music and personalized.
Too Much Mister Rogers ~ Soft Rock / Musical Theater ~ 2016.09.12
Sometimes you grow up with unrealistic expectations and then the real world hits and you think about giving up but it's too hard.
All Things As A Witness ~ Musical Theater, Religious, Orchestral yet upbeat ~ 2016.08.10
A musical retelling of a speech and prophecy delivered by Nephi, son of Helaman, from the Book of Mormon, Helaman chapters 7 and 8.
Let The Little Ones Come Unto Me ~ Religious, Peaceful ~ 2016.07.27
Jesus called the little children to come unto Him, and we must all do likewise. My arrangement of a song by Angie Killian.
Peacefully Believing ~ Soft rock, jazz ~ 2015.06.17
When it comes to learning to trust, actions speak louder than words, and it may take a little time.
You Deserve A Better World ~ Soft Rock ~ 2015.02.08
We've all seen young kids growing up in horrible circumstances and wanted to somehow, do something to make it better.
Trash Bag Full of Memory ~ Soft Rock ~ 2015.02.07
Children in the foster care program hang on to whatever they can when all their connections are taken away.
Joseph's Little One ~ Christmas Lullaby ~ 2014.12.20
What might the birth of Jesus have been like from Joseph's point of view?
Crashing Through ~ Classical ~ 2014.07.26
There are many children out there in need of good homes, and many of us who could do more than we are doing.
Big Alice ~ Country Western ~ 2014.07.07
For years the kids and I have called our frying pan "Big Alice." I thought I should attempt to tell the rest of the world why.
Just Wanna Be Alone Right Now ~ Soft Rock / New age ~ 2014.06.30
In silence and solitude there is much joy to be found.
Anything Or Nothing ~ Folk Rock ~ 2014.06.23
I'm standing with you on the precipice of fear and we're looking for courage in an upbeat way.
Walking In The River ~ Soft Rock ~ 2013.07.30
Interesting thoughts come to mind while wading the river in clear creek canyon. My dad always told me if you ever get lost in the wilderness, just follow the river downstream.
While I Still Have A Voice ~ Rock ~ 2013.04.21
In light of current world events, this seemed appropriate. A song about standing for freedom while we still can.
Thou Didst Hear Me ~ Soft Rock / Religious ~ 2013.04.20
A song about prayer, based on Alma 33:4-11 in the Book of Mormon
All Too Busy ~ Soft Rock Ballad(?) ~ 2012.10.28
Maybe we're so busy running in circles that we miss the point.
Van Shaar Productions Jingle ~ Rock ~ 2012.10.11
One voice in the desert: Well, I think it's catchy.
Leavers 2012 - Kansas Version ~ Soft rock ballad ~ 2012.09.09
A song about moving on and what we take with us.
Minor Piano Waltz ~ Piano Instrumental ~ 2012.07.09
My arrangement of some background music I liked.
Straw Man ~ Bluesy Rock ~ 2012.03.07
A song of hope. No, really. Wait for it... Musically inspired by Alanis Morissette, Santana and Scooby Doo.
I Love You Arizona ~ Western Orchestral background accompaniment track ~ 2012.01.24
This is the semi-official Arizona State Song, originally recorded by Arizona cowboy legend, Rex Allen Jr.
It Grieveth Me ~ Religious, Soft Rock, Musical Theater ~ 2011.11.21
The allegory of the vineyard had it coming...
Concerning Them Which Are Asleep ~ Classical, Recitative ~ 2011.08.23
With text taken directly from the New Testament, this song tells how the dead shall be resurrected and we shall rise together to meet the Lord at His Second Coming.
We Built A Bridge ~ Light Rock ~ 2011.08.16
What are vacations for if not working together?
Disappointed ~ Soft Rock ~ 2011.08.08
Saving the planet is a great idea (except when it just becomes another excuse for federal control) and has many battle cries: Save the whales, save the rain forests, save the baby seals, etc. But slightly more important goal is to save the humans. Just sayin', no point in saving the planet if we destroy ourselves.
I Need Music Now ~ show choir ~ 2011.06.10
A peppy short and fluffy number about how if your life is lame maybe you need more music in it.
Empty Eyes ~ Soft rock / country ~ 2011.05.19
Just when you think you know someone...
How Pale The Wind ~ piano, soft rock ballad, religious ~ 2011.05.12
How can we compare the strength of God's love to the riches of the world? Written by Marvin Payne.
The One To Tell You ~ rock, electric guitar, religious ~ 2011.05.12
All of us at one time or another in life have probably used the phrase, "Sorry that I have to be the one to tell you." It's usually the start of an uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) conversation.
The Golden Chance ~ piano, soft rock ballad ~ 2011.05.01
Life holds more promise than we know. Lyrics are from a poem of the same title by Edgar A. Guest; music by my brother Nathan Van Shaar. This arrangement / instrumentalization by me.
Tiny Little Box ~ blues rock ballad ~ 2011.04.02
A kinda humorous - possibly even Seussuian - look at the sad and self-destructive ways we sometimes avoid dealing with pain.
Empty House (Velvet and Steel) ~ soft rock ballad ~ 2011.03.22
The people we need most are those who see our potential and help us reach it, even when others have abandoned us.
Dancing For Dylan ~ orchestral, instrumental ~ 2011.01.26
A family who lives near us recently lost a 6 year old son in a tragic accident. I wrote this instrumental piece with the thought that his older sister might someday use it to choreograph and perform a dance for him.
The Day That I Believe ~ Christmas anthem ~ 2011.01.23
I call this an 'After Christmas' song. It features some lyrics from 'I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day'.
Rise To The Climb ~ religious anthem ~ 2010.12.03
Put on the full armor of God to face the challenges of this day. Dedicated to the Nutty Putty Cyclers.
Strawberries and Cream ~ soft rock ballad, carribean ~ 2010.11.15
Basking in the simple joys of being together is often better than a Hawaiian vacation.
Now Is The Time ~ soft rock ballad ~ 2010.11.15
A good old fashioned love song for Danielle.
So Much Less Than I Thought ~ soft rock, musical theater ~ 2010.10.06
Did you ever have the feeling that life has turned out to be much less than you expected? Here I thought I was the only one.
Growing Patient ~ a peppy little piano number ~ 2010.08.22
Shopping around for the good one makes more sense than buying lots of cheap ones... especially when it comes to love.
Michael Come Home ~ soft rock ballad ~ 2010.03.04
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit when you're wrong, but until you do you can't move on.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas ~ Secular Christmas narrative ~ 2009.12.31
Not exactly a song... more like a quirky dramatic reading.
The Halloween Song ~ folk, a cappella, halloween ~ 2009.11.02
Written by comedian and musician Heywood Banks. This performance is by me and my kids. Did you ever wonder which of those kids in costume on Halloween might really be ghosts?
Abba: S.O.S. ~ 70's rock ~ 2009.08.07
ABBA cover tune. In addition to the music, I love the message of this song. Love is worth rescuing.
Abba: When All Is Said And Done ~ 70's rock ~ 2009.08.07
ABBA cover, just for fun
Abba: Winner Takes It All ~ 70's rock ballad ~ 2009.08.07
ABBA cover - Kindof a depressing song but I like the music.
A Cry For Love: No Better Than Me ~ musical theater ~ 2007.08.25
Written for the original musical, A Cry For Love, based on the life of Amedeo Modigliani.
Which is better, a hypocritical saint or an honest sinner?
A Cry For Love: Not What I Had Planned ~ musical theater ~ 2007.08.25
Written for the original musical, A Cry For Love, based on the life of Amedeo Modigliani.
A Cry For Love: Departure ~ ballad ~ 2007.08.20
Written for the original musical, A Cry For Love, based on the life of Amedeo Modigliani.
Saying goodbye to a loved one is a bittersweet experience.
A Cry For Love: Death Wears A Mask ~ musical theater, 90's rock ~ 2007.08.18
Written for the original musical, A Cry For Love, based on the life of Amedeo Modigliani.
Death is tricky. He uses many tricks to hide from you and catch you by surprise.
A Cry For Love: The Face Of God ~ musical theater, religious ~ 2007.08.16
Written for the original musical, A Cry For Love, based on the life of Amedeo Modigliani.
Perhaps one way that we attempt to become like God is by developing our ability to create. But how close do we ever get?
A Cry For Love: Where It Wants To Be ~ musical theater, soft rock ballad ~ 2007.07.10
Written for the original musical, A Cry For Love, based on the life of Amedeo Modigliani.
Sometimes, in spite of all logic, the heart wants what the heart wants. This is a duet between Modi and Jeanne.
A Cry For Love: Clinging To The Pain ~ musical theater, psychadelic ~ 2007.06.26
From the original musical 'A Cry For Love' - A psychedelic song about the chains of addiction. Mostly instrumental.
Promise Me ~ 90's rock ~ 2007.06.20
Eternal love, with a beat you can dance to!
House For Rent ~ Classical ~ 2007.02.20
Now this is what you call going all-out to get out of a rental agreement.
To The Rescue ~ soft rock narrative ~ 2006.09.01
In families, we sometimes have to rescue each other. Sometimes from ogres, sometimes from evil robots, sometimes from the desert.
National Apartment Finance ~ A cappella funky rock ~ 2006.06.01
Why is this blatantly commercial project mixed in with a bunch of personal projects? Three reasons: It shows some of my earliest professional work, it's funny, it shows me on camera (very rare) and oh yeah, I never made any money on it so it's not really a commercial project now, is it? Wait... that's four reasons. Oh well.
The JACL Story & Anthem ~ funky rock ~ 2006.03.23
This is a song I arranged and recorded for my first documentary project, The Japanese American Citizen's League Credit Union Story. It's a rock version of the JACL Hymn and it plays during the closing credits on the video.
Woosh ~ cheesy soft rock ~ 2006.02.02
Online dating can be a crazy experience.
Ol' Man River ~ Show tune ~ 2005.08.27
Me singing the old classic
Beginning At The End (Star Wars) ~ soft rock ballad ~ 2005.07.13
Sometimes we do things kinda backwards but it all turns out to make sense by the final episode.
The Perfect ~ Rock/country with electric guitar ~ 2005.01.31
The one who has everything may not be the one who needs you the most.
Gigantic Life ~ Rock, electric guitar ~ 2005.01.15
There is so much to do in life. How much better could it be if we are in it together?
Intense ~ Techno ~ 2004.11.11
I wrote this as background music for a light saber fight between two of my kids.
Someone To Love At Christmas ~ Soft rock ballad, Christmas ~ 2004.10.23
Being alone at Christmas is just about the loneliest feeling ever. But there is always hope.
Miracles Do Happen ~ Soft rock ~ 2004.10.04
Sometimes we meet just the right person at just the right time.
e-merge: Carol of The Bells ~ A cappella Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
An acappella arrangement of this great Christmas tune.
e-merge: Johnny Is A Little Brat ~ A cappella secular Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
Acappella version kinda loosely based on "I'm Getting Nothing For Christmas", only goofier. Performed by e-merge.
e-merge: Christmas Time Is Here ~ A cappella secular Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
Performed by e-merge. I first heard this song on the Charlie Brown Christmas special as a child.
e-merge: Get Out Of My Lane ~ A cappella ~ 2001.12.01
An original I wrote about driving on the freeway. Performed by my acappella group e-merge.
e-merge: Little Drummer ~ A cappella Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
My take on the classic 'Little Drummer Boy'. Performed by e-merge.
e-merge: Little Saint Nick ~ A cappella secular Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
Acappella arrangement, performed by e-merge.
e-merge: Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming ~ A cappella religious ~ 2001.12.01
This is a centuries-old song, not very well known, but it works well as a Christmas tune. Performed by e-merge.
e-merge: O Come, O Come, Immanuel ~ A cappella religious ~ 2001.12.01
An all-male acappella version of this centuries-old song of Christ. Performed by e-merge.
e-merge: O Holy Night ~ A cappella Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
My own accappella arrangement. Performed by e-merge.
e-merge: Santa Comes Tonight ~ A cappella secular Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
Our own goofy spin on 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'. Performed by e-merge. Arranged by nobody... we just made it up as we went along, and it was different every time we performed it.
e-merge: Silent Night ~ A cappella Christmas ~ 2001.12.01
accappella, performed by e-merge.