100 Days of Composing

I’m attracted to these types of challenges – 30 day photo challenge, 30 day fitness challenge, or 8 hour decluttering class. They all have that manageable, well-defined scope and a single, simple (but not always easy) task.

I even designed my own 30 Day Music Challenge that I and others did in January of this year.

A few weeks ago, I learned about #The100DayProject which kicked off on April 6, 2015 and ran through July 15. The idea behind it is to engage in 100 days of making. It’s about the process of creativity and play. Showing up day after day and creating something.

What will I do for my project?

The organizers of The 100 Day Project give 4 statements that act as a guide to help you pick your project. I already know I want it to be music-related.

Their questions/suggestions:

  1. What are you passionate about? Me? Music. I also have been hankering to write more music. I’ve gone through spurts of writing music. Those spurts of composing energy don’t always result in finished musical works. I’ve completed some pieces, yes. And I want to strengthen my composing muscle. This seems like a good vehicle for it.
  2. Pick an object or objects. What do I already have in my possession to facilitate my project? I’ve got manuscript paper and pencils and erasers. I’m good to go.
  3. Consider your location. 100 days is more than 3 months. Will I be traveling during any of that time? They suggest I consider where I will be during the 100 days and how will that affect my ability to complete my daily project. I can write music at home, or on the road. I’ll be visiting my Mother in NH during the 100 days. I can do it. There will be a few holidays during my 100 days. I can handle it.
  4. Choose your action. Well, I’ve already decided to do some composing. But how much? I settled on writing 4 measures of music each day for 100 days. That feels like a good exercise. I’ll be writing each day. If I get into a groove (pun intended!) I can write longer. But if I only do 4 measures, that’s all good too.


Lullaby #1

So that’s my project: compose 4 measures of music each day for 100 days. And these are the hashtags I will use when I post to Instagram each day: #100DaysOfComposing #The100DayProject

I’m going to start on September 22, 2015 and 100 days later will be December 31, 2015. Happy New Year!

By the end of this year, I’ll have composed at least 400 measures of music. Will the music of one day connect with the music of any other day? I don’t know. Will I learn more about composing? Hell, yes.

I believe this project will jump-start my creative practice. And I’m curious to see/hear how it will affect my musicianship.

When I’m listening to music, I’m analyzing it and in many ways thinking like a composer. How did the composer create that intriguing sound? What instruments did she call for? I notice the use of repetition or a pentatonic scale. How are the use of dynamics and tempos creating interest? I notice the silences too! Ostinato (repeated rhythmic pattern), motifs, counterpoint, harmonic texture.

Spontaneous Composing

A few nights ago, I was goofing on the piano and my ear caught a snippet of the music. Ooh! That sounds cool.

I wrote it down. One measure of 6/4 for voice. 80 beats per minute (BPM). Key of F major.

The second measure was a repeat of the first. I sang these first two measures and then the third and fourth measures just flowed out of me. I played it for Anita and she said, “It sounds like a lullaby.” So, I named it Lullaby #1.

Then I noticed that I used the same rhythm in each measure. A few years ago, I took a self-guided composition course. That was one of the early exercises; write a melody using a given rhythmic pattern.

Playing The #100Day Game

The organizers of The 100 Day Project suggest the following steps to ‘play the game’.

  1. Choose your action. Composing 4 measures of music.
  2. Create your hashtag. #100DaysOfComposing.
  3. Announce your project on Instagram using your hashtag before your start date. You can follow me on Instagram @musicmegga
  4. Begin on Sept. 22. Share each day’s activity on Instagram. Use your own hashtag plus #The100DayProject. I’ll be posting either a photo of the music notation or a video of me playing the music on one of my many instruments.

The More The Merrier

Talking about this tonight with some friends, two of them are going to join me in the project. You can too! Explore your creativity. Exercise your creative muscle. Most of all, have fun!

The original post where I learned about it is gone from the internet nowadays [2022].

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