My musical foundations, laid down in my earliest years, were “kids” shows (like Sesame Street and The Muppet Show), church choir, and film scores (like John William’s music for “Star Wars” and Jerry Goldsmith’s music for “Star Trek the Motion Picture”).
Jump forward in time several years, and I was preparing for my senior piano performance recital at Millikin University. The first half of the program had to be “classical” music of different periods, But the second half of the program had to be “commercial music”. Most of the students with this performance requirement would do rock or jazz music for their second half, sometimes doing original songs, but more often performing covers of popular rock and jazz tunes. 
Of course, I needed to be me, so I decided to compose all of the music for the second half of my senior recital myself.
I selected a few pieces that I had composed years earlier, to provide a variety of styles, but I also composed a number of new pieces created specifically for that event. One was “Night Alone”, a soothing, moody, modal jazz piece with a hypnotic, undulating bass line. Another, entitled “Johnny Couldn’t Face the World”, is a rock tune inspired by “Janie’s Got a Gun”. 
And my favorite of all (and what ended up being the true crowd pleaser from that night): “Dance of the Monsters Under the Bed”.
I arranged these pieces to be played by myself on piano, accompanied by the school’s jazz keyboard ensemble. (This group had been created just that year due to an overabundance of pianists in the music program compared to all the other available jazz instrumentalists.)
For “Dance of the Monsters Under the Bed”, I had plenty of inspirations to draw on. There were the silly and entertaining Muppet Show sketches. Also, some recent spooky films’ scores had made their impression on me, including “The Witches of Eastwick” (composed by John Williams) as well as Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” and “Batman” (both scored by Danny Elfman). Plus, I’d recently watched “Vertigo”, and that film’s score by Bernard Herrmann completely blew my mind.
And then there was a music history lesson that showed how the music that was played, live, during early silent movies was directly inspired by the piano and orchestra music that had been popularized in those decades and decades before. (Think of the silent movie with the damsel in distress, tied to a train track as the train approaches, with the sound of frantic piano notes adding the acoustic emotion to the moment.)
And so “Dance of the Monsters Under the Bed” came to be, like a score to a silent film about slightly sinister (but silly) monsters. I gave it the “oompah” bass of a Danny Elfman score like “Beetlejuice”, I gave it driving rhythms like the French horns in “The Witches of Eastwick”, and I gave it ominous chords like a Bernard Herrmann film created for Alfred Hitchcock.
To this day, “Dance of the Monsters Under the Bed” is one of my favorite compositions, and is an audience favorite when I perform the solo piano arrangement (see the very first recording of that here on YouTube). I’ve also created versions for concert band and for orchestra. Look for recordings of those to come!