AROUND THE WORLD
Sharpen your focus and rapid production workflows by making music in 10 minute sprints.
For many artists their best songs are the ones that “just came together quickly” – but rather than leave that to chance, this is one of the exercises we do to build that as a skill. “Around The World” is like a game of pass the parcel for producers, where you have just 10 minutes to improve on the project you’ve been given using Ableton Live.
This isn’t about making the best song – it’s about building creative response times. But why is this useful? Whenever a great idea pops into your head – if you can produce it quickly, your ideas will keep flowing and the whole project will unfold before you. Likewise, this skill can be make or break when you find yourself producing another artist – the faster you’re able to respond to what they’re creating, and the longer you’re able to sustain that focus, the more productive the session will be.
HOW THE “ATW” SPRINTS WORK
We’ll kick this off with a random BPM and other constraints so we’re all working with as random a project as possible. To ensure focus, each producer has just 10 minutes to write as much as they can without stopping – then pass it on to the next producer, who also has just 10 minutes to develop it further.
We normally do this with 10 projects at once, with 10 producers and 10 random BPM’s. But so you can join in, we’ll keep it simple – we’ll film each 10 minute sprint, and include a download link in the video description so you can jump in at any point and do your own 10 minute sprint.
150 BPM AROUND THE WORLD
This playlist contains 6 x 10 minute Sprints, featuring Sakr, Ninijirachi, Cop Envy, Hed Ardennes, Setwun and Made in Paris all building on the same project at a randomly-drawn BPM.
Each video has a download link in the description so you can do your own sprint at the end of any (or all) episodes.
Step 1: Watch the sprint videos. At the end of any sprint you can download the project, ready to do your own 10 minute sprint.
Step 2: Set a 10 minute timer on your phone.
Step 3: Have a quick listen through the project first. Then start the timer.
- Work on it without pausing until the timer ends.
- Try not to get lost in detail or endless experimentation.
- Make progress by changing, removing or adding – whatever you think needs doing to help improve on what’s already there.
Step 4: This step is optional. If you want to keep your thread going send it to a friend with the same instructions.
- Choosing an early sprint to branch off from can (sometimes) be easier as it gives you the widest range of creative options.
- Choosing a later sprint to branch off from means the track will be more developed which can (sometimes) restrict your options, as there will be more elements to fit in with and to manage in the short time available.
- Avoid watching the later sprints until after you have done yours to avoid those ideas influencing yours.
- If you wish to compare your work, do a sprint branch after every episode then watch the next episode to see what they did by comparison.
Did I do it right?
- Take comfort in knowing that the results can sometimes sound absurd – you’re inheriting a very random track after all.
- You’ll know you did it right if you were able to stay focused for the whole 10 minutes and the result has somehow improved on what was already there.