Challenge #1: melodic figures
“Play around” with two figures in the same way that you’d play with “musical Legos.”
The two we focused on the most in this video: the 3-note scale and the neighbor figure (also 3-notes) .
Get a sense for what it’s like to work with melodic figures.
Work on your melody for about 10 minutes. Put it down, then come back and tweak any parts you don’t quite like.
Choose a key. Major or minor; up to you. Either jot out a simple chord progression you know, or just ad lib the harmony as you go.
Examples A and B represent rhythms we heard from Bach, Sheeran, and Richard Rogers. I’m also giving option C, even though in the video, I emphasized that figures start on a beat. In my book, I explain effective ways to resituate figures metrically, and this is one. (I call this a "ligature.") Try it (or your own rhythm) if you wish
about 4 bars; 8 if you’re ambitious.
Keep in mind that I haven’t given full instructions for how to control harmony and how to connect figures together. So don’t fret if your first attempts sound a little wonky in spots. THAT IS OK! Stay loose! Have fun!
One final thought.
Guitar players, violists, and singers all have well-established
warm-up exercises to do before they practice.
Why don’t composers have warm-up exercises?
This challenge makes a pretty good one, if you choose to use it like that.