Why would you do this to yourself?

People ask me this all the time. I figured I'd just bite the bullet and answer some of the more common questions I've encountered as I work my way through this project. So here you go:

Why DO you do this to yourself? You didn't answer the question before!
I have a lot of reasons, actually.
The short version: I got tired of not creating, so I needed to kick myself in the butt with a deadline I couldn't ignore or push off for the next day.

Aren't you busy? Where do you find the time?
You're right, I am busy. But I am so over using my schedule as an excuse for not creating, and I'm not happy when I'm not creating so really this is better for everyone. I do work between 60 and 70 hours per week, depending on how many private students I have at a given time on top of my full-time job. It's tough to fit this in. Mondays are the worst, and Thursdays are a close second. But I stay on top of my Google calendar and usually wind up with about an hour a day to write and post. So far, it's been enough.

Everything is going to be video? What are you using to record?
Yep, all video. My setup is pretty barebones. I have my trusty 6-year-old iMac, a borrowed iPad 2, and my iPhone 5S if I'm really in a bind. Like that one time I recorded in the back of my car, I set the iPad up on a cardboard box on my center console, turned on my phone's flashlight, and wedged it into the space under my drivers-side headrest. Phone spotlight, front-facing camera so I know what I'm doing looks okay...boom. Video.
I recently added an Akai EIE I/O to the setup on my iMac, along with an MXL 990 large-diaphragm condenser mic. I was recording into Photo Booth, but it's not compatible with an outside audio source and so now I record directly into iMovie. The videos look better there anyway. It's a really simple setup, and less than $300 worth of external gear. I already had the mic, so I really only sunk about $200 into it for the I/O. Totally worth it.

How the heck are you going to come up with a new song every day?
I guarantee nothing...but I'm in competition with myself, and I'm a pretty competitive person. I made some rules to help keep this challenge defined, though, and I'm being tough on myself. Here's what I'm following:
-Post every day that it's possible. Technical difficulties? Better have a video ready to upload ASAP. Schedule doesn't allow? Not an excuse. Make time.
-If a post is an unfinished song, there has to be enough of an idea there to develop. Two verses and a chorus, a whole A section, something like that. The idea has to have chords and a melody. I'm not saying it has to have lyrics, because I reserve the right to flip the script and write a flute solo if I choose, but it has to be a substantial musical idea that I could do something with at a later date.

So what are you doing with the songs you write?
Posting them on the internet for everyone to see!
Just kidding, that's a terribly incomplete answer. I'm going to pick my favorites on a quarterly basis and develop them into 4-6 song EPs. I'll release them on Bandcamp, and you can pick them up here at my website. I think it'll be slick, and an interesting glimpse into the journey a song goes through from first idea to final release. I always enjoy that auditory comparison and contrast.

How much time do you spend writing each song?
Usually between 30 and 45 minutes. I spend another 30 or so practicing and recording, then I post it. The longest I've spent was 2 hours start to finish. Shortest was 45 minutes start to finish. Every song is different.

How are you going to make sure they're all good?
They won't all be good. Some of them are going to be terrible. That's part of the project...I battle crippling perfectionism, and it's kept me stagnant for way too long. If I took the time to worry that every song-a-day was exactly the way I wanted it, I'd probably decide they were all terrible (even the good ones) and never post anything. You're not going to like all my songs. I don't even like all my songs! But I hope you keep coming back and giving them a try, because there's going to be something you like eventually.

Where did you get your light curtain?


















No but really though, it's available on Amazon. And they aren't even paying me to post that link there, I just keep getting asked so there it is. They're lovely lights.