Retirement Day

"Happy Retirement Michael" cake
Cake from my MakeMusic retirement party

Today is the day. After 44 years as a software engineer, this is my last day as an employee at MakeMusic. I will still be a member of the W3C Music Notation Community Group, but I stepped down as co-chair and MusicXML specification editor earlier this week.

People have asked me what’s next, and my answer is that I want to finally not have a plan. For now, the only schedule I’ll be on will be West Bay Opera chorus schedules. I’ll also be traveling more, including my first trip outside the USA since 2019.

One of my retirement projects will likely be to redo this blog. This includes updating its decade-old design, and also expanding beyond music and software to other topics that interest me. You may see more genealogy and family history posts in the future.

In my career I have always gone straight from one thing to the next, with maybe just a week or two off in between jobs. And why not? I was always excited about what was next and couldn’t wait to get started.

This will be the longest unstructured time I’ll have had since I was 14 years old. I am very much looking forward to making space for discovering what’s next, without knowing what it is and rushing into it.

My software engineering career has been so much fun. The first half was spent making computer systems more usable for people. The second half was spent bringing music notation into the digital age with the MusicXML format and application software. I’ve had the great good fortune to work with wonderful teams and communities over the years at Digital Equipment Corporation, Xtensory, SAP, Recordare, and MakeMusic.

Of everything that I worked on, I’m pretty sure that MusicXML will have the most lasting impact. Not only can people to share files between programs much more easily, but developers are emboldened to create innovative new apps because they have a standard interchange format to rely on. I can’t wait to see how things continue to develop over time. But I can wait to see what’s next for me.

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