1 Hour Song Challenge

Yesterday, I gave myself exactly one hour to write, record, edit (there is no editing), mix, and film a little musical snippet. I didn’t count the time rendering, uploading, writing this status. Why did I do this?

  1. I’m trying to get used to things not having to be super polished or perfect.

  2. I wanted to try to bring an idea to fruition without criticizing or thinking about it too much.

  3. I literally only had that amount of time as I had a hard deadline to leave the studio to go home and hang out with my 6 month-old.

  4. I wanted to do make something with NO pre-conceived concept.

  5. I’m producing/recording music full-time and I sometimes miss the messiness, improvisation, and quick decision making of playing with others. This felt like a simulation.

  6. Put all my tools to use.


Here’s what I learned:

  1. One hour is a short amount of time, but you can accomplish something if you have a deadline.

  2. It’s useful to do all the technical prep ahead of time so you can quickly access sounds.

  3. Cameras run out of batteries quickly.

  4. It’s okay for something not to be perfect.

  5. Sometimes quantity is better than quality.

  6. Song ideas can be written in 20 seconds (or maybe less). That state of openness is where the fun is.

In my wildest dreams, what happens next is that you try a one-hour challenge for yourself and post whatever you create. Tag me so I see it. Sloppiness/messiness/unfinished works allowed and encouraged.


  • Joel Schwartz

    Joel Schwartz

    Joel Schwartz is a seasoned guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and award winning producer.

    With 20 years of experience as a professional musician, he produces recordings for contemporary folk, Americana, roots, blues, and indie-rock musicians.

    Joel has toured and/or recorded with: Birds of Chicago, Amelia Curran, Matthew and Jill Barber, Great Lake Swimmers, Royal Wood, Jessica Mitchell, Aviva Chernick, Andrea Koziol, Dione Taylor, Lydia Persaud, Jadea Kelly and many others.

    The recordings he’s played on and produced have won, or been nominated for numerous awards including the Junos, Canadian Folk Music Awards, Western Canadian Folk Music Awards, Ontario Folk Music Awards, Maple Blues Awards, and Blues and Roots Radio Awards.

    Joel proudly endorses K&K pickups and Neunaber pedals.

    Folk Music Ontario

    Looking forward to attending the 2019 Folk Music Ontario Conference. I’ll be playing with singer/songwriters Desiree Dorion and Rob Teehan as well as checking out…
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