Sunday, March 11, 2012

Heard of 'Thing a Week'?

In September of 2005, Jonathan Coulton, a computer programmer and part time musician, decided he was going to quit his day job and become a full-time professional musician. Wondering how to break into the scene and create work for himself immediately after the switch, Coulton decided he was going to start a project called 'Thing a Week', where he would write and record a new song every week for a year.

A behemoth of a task which really tested both his writing and time management abilities over 52 weeks, Coulton succeeded in his goal and more. Gradually gathering a following through his project, his audience increased greatly after writing Tom Cruise Crazy. After that point (the 33rd week), Coulton's music was increasingly wrote about through blogs and news sites, as well as played on a variety of podcasts.

Each of his songs were posted onto his website with every blog post in the series and was also available through itunes as podcasts. Today, his music is available in every database accessible freely to the public (that he knows about) and are available for purchase through his website.

Though keeping the quality of the performance up would be a behemoth of a task for a classical musician, a project of this type could yield interesting results. Admittedly, Coulton noted that after he finished Thing a Week he could now "find the time to actually learn how to play the songs on guitar," which proves that even for a singer/songwriter learning a piece to a performance standard every week for a year is close to impossible.

Whatever the frequency, this type of project would not only force a classical musician to work harder than they have ever done so, but, after a certain point, they might even be forced to discover music beyond the standard repertoire for their instrument (depending on the instrument, of course), maybe even beyond the genre.

Of course, there are other issues like where and how the works would be recorded, as well as the expense of any other musicians who might be needed for a given work, but the potential for both attention and personal development is enormous.

So, have you heard of 'Thing a Week'?

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