1 Hour Composing Challenge

December 11, 2018


So yesterday, I have started a new challenge to practice my composing skills. Challenge is simple: Start and finish a track under one hour.

I'm aware it sounds ridiculous, but I'm a keen supporter of the idea that creativity boosts under pressure. That's why I love Game Jams in first place, and even joined many 1hr Game Jams in the past. Under pressure, I could squeeze the experiences I've had before and mash them together to create something unique. And easiest way to get under pressure is limiting your time.

My plan was simple, pick a theme, jot down a rough time estimate for tasks and work work work.

What happened in this very first try was, of course, I failed spectacularly. It really needs a great knowledge to get things done in short time, and discipline to leave working on what's been failing. On top of that, I had to quit halfway, only to come back and finish everything this morning.

But I managed to finalize the track way before the second hour ticks, just around 1 hour and 45 minutes! Track was much shorter (1m 25s) than what I was aiming (around 3m), yet it sounds kinda good, so I feel challenge is completed.

On a retrospect, I've spent too many precious minutes on my weakest skill, creating a main structure for the track. Just laying out bare chords took around half an hour instead of 10 minutes I aimed. But other than that, almost everything went as expected - like working on sound of a synth for minutes and minutes and then just going ahead and with an external preset.

Downside of this challenge is, it's necessary to ignore lots of small details and ornaments here and there. So any music piece comes out will be a little brutish and bland. Yet I'm totally cool with it, because I see this challenge is not for creating a masterpiece, but kicking off many of them.

So, here is the track and the timelapse of my first attempt

Final track is what you hear in the background 🙂

In the end, I feel content of what I did so far. It was very improving and motivating. I want to repeat this challenge at least once a week - hoping to turn into a habit for the rest of my career.

Would you like to join me? If so, just reach me while I think about how to organize such an event.