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(About) Seven Minutes of Music

Posted in Music by Shawn on January 28, 2016

During one evening last week, Wednesday or Thursday, I’m not sure, I starting thinking about a lot of the things that I enjoy trying to do, but never feel great about for various reasons. Thoughts then drifted to all the things that I’m mediocre at, then to what probably felt like 4 hours, but was really 5 minutes, of  ‘How am I ever going to get better at any of these things?’

Luckily, I stopped myself from going any farther by reminding myself of a plan that I told myself that this year to finally commit to. It’s basically:

Whenever I question myself and ask “Why am I even doing this?” in a self-doubting way, I double down and push even harder with whatever it is I’m doing.

Of course, this can’t be applicable in every situation (Hrm, why am I robbing this bank? Well, I’m doubting myself, I guess I’ll just fully commit do this!), but so far, it’s seemed to help me deal with a few of the new things that I’ve started recently.

I also remembered a recent Gamasutra article which talked about spending one hour and composing a minute of music. Now, I enjoy making music, but don’t think I’m very good at it, and when trying to compose something, it takes me hours, or even a few days, to find 10 seconds of music that I’m happy with, or that I feel is worth pursuing. When first reading the article, I figured ‘This is something I’d never be able to do’. But last week, I finally thought, hey I should give this a shot.

So, what I’m not committing to, for as many days in a row, is to spend an hour a day, no more, maybe less if life is pulling me in too many directions, and use that time to work on a minute of music. Sometimes, it might be over a minute, just barely, because I don’t want the song to end oddly halfway through a measure. It’s a simple premise, and because of that, the rules aren’t going to be that strict. But, it is interesting to see where this could go, and to see if I can actually get better at this whole music thing. Anyway, here are 7 one minute-ish tracks composed between January 21st and January 27th. A lot of these are weird, unpolished, and I’m pretty sure I hate it all, and would rather just delete them. But instead… they are:

Thursday, January 21st

Well, this is going to be rough. I wasn’t sure how much would get done in an hour, and with the way I work, it turns out that it wasn’t a lot. There was too much time trying to combine pre-made tracks/loops, and not throw too much on top of that, fearing that there wouldn’t be enough time to actually make anything significant. The end result is something I’m really *not* happy with. In fact, I really want to delete it.


Friday, January 22nd

Not sure what the direction was for this minute. Again, I spent too long trying to figure out what sounds I liked. What was settled on wasn’t something I was comfortable with. Because of that, I feel like this minute is a bit erratic?


Saturday, January 23rd

I forgot what song I listened to earlier this day, but there was something funny about it that I wanted to try and pull from. Whether that was accomplished, that depends on if I can remember the song. Definitely not happy with this song either, but I do feel like it’s much less static and monotonous than January 21st.


Sunday, January 24th

Again, I heard a song that I wanted to pull from, and again, it was in passing (I should really start taking notes). The ending is kind of abrupt, but I wanted to keep it as close to the minute as possible, even if the music didn’t fade out properly. That’s my fault, and it should have ended earlier in order to keep everything contained to a minute.


Monday, January 25th

Boy, this is awful. I have a guitar, but I don’t have my microphone, or any other way to plug it into my computer at the moment. With time, I could have found the sound I wanted, but because I didn’t have the time (too much time trying to find something I was happy with), I just settled.

Actually, there’s a lot I don’t like about this, so I’m just going to stop here before I start ranting on how awful this is.

There’s nothing redeeming about it.


Tuesday, January 26th

This minute makes me laugh. It’s probably the only good thing I can say about it right now.


Wednesday, January 27th

It took me about 40 minutes to find any sort of sound that I was happy with. Which is why this minute sounds so empty. I’m actually really disappointed, because I feel like there’s a hint of something neat, but I couldn’t find it.

Also, it’s 55 seconds because of a last minute temp change, and a lack of readjusting on my end.


This week was fairly rough. I spent too much time trying to find things I was really happy with, and didn’t feel confident moving forward. The goal for next week is to find sounds that I’m happier with earlier, which should hopefully allow more time for developing those sounds into something more meaningful.

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