Bite-sized songwriting assignments.
Three parameters. Two weeks to create.
write • record • share • listen • discuss

Fifth Element

  • Due Apr 9, 2023
  • 7 Submissions
  • Created by NCBC
  1. Introducing them one at a time, create a stack of four equal-length, non-drum loops.
  2. With the loop stack running, add a fifth element on top—lead line, melody, whatever you please.
  3. Allow the fifth element to end and remove the loops, avoiding the reverse order in which they were added.

Screen Dream

  • Due Mar 26, 2023
  • 7 Submissions
  • Created by NCBC
  1. Write a theme song for an imaginary TV show.
  2. The show’s premise is equal parts your real life, and very much not your real life.
  3. Feature an instrument you have never featured before.

First Words

  • Due Mar 12, 2023
  • 10 Submissions
  • Created by NCBC
  1. Borrow a phrase or line from Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day.
  2. Before considering any music, write all of the lyrics, including the borrowed line.
  3. Include at least one a cappella moment in the song.

Earth Tones

  • Due Feb 26, 2023
  • 18 Submissions
  • Created by NCBC
  1. Set a drone note to B2 (the resonant frequency of the Earth transposed up 5 octaves).
  2. Write over the drone—allow it to sustain throughout the piece.
  3. Derive inspiration from a specific geographic location on Earth.

Re: Theme

  • Due Sep 13, 2020
  • 5 Submissions
  • Created by ryan
  1. Write a new main theme for any well-known movie (replace the score)
  2. Use a freakin’ huge dynamic range (quiet quiet parts, loud loud parts)
  3. Have the main melody appear in at least 2 distinct ways

Cookbook Cover

  • Due Aug 30, 2020
  • 9 Submissions
  • Created by Ben
  1. Cover another chef’s NCBC song from weeks past, and do not tell that chef.
  2. Identify what you think the main instrument is, and replace it with something else.
  3. Use a piece of the song’s lyrics as your title.


  • Due Aug 16, 2020
  • 9 Submissions
  • Created by peter
  1. Fictional product
  2. Fictional brand
  3. Must include a phone number or website

Word Warps

  • Due Aug 2, 2020
  • 7 Submissions
  • Created by Carseat
  1. Write in a mode other than Ionian or Aeolian
  2. Use the rhythm of a vocal refrain to influence the rhythm of the instruments.
  3. Include at least two alliteration groupings of three [for instance: “bad backyard barbeque”]

Brain Dig

  • Due Jul 19, 2020
  • 9 Submissions
  • Created by aubspeeps
1. Find the inspiration for this piece in a childhood memory that affected you emotionally in some way
2. Lyrically, write a metaphor or an allegory to represent this memory
3. Musically, include a hypnotic element


  1. Compose your piece backwards (i.e. from outro to intro)
  2. Incorporate walking sounds into your piece—footsteps, stomping, etc.
  3. Include a modulation in either key or tempo.

Once Upon A Time

  • Due Jun 21, 2020
  • 7 Submissions
  • Created by agasthya
  1. Retell an existing fairy tale
  2. Use a Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
  3. Only use instruments that don’t require electricity to function


  • Due May 24, 2020
  • 15 Submissions
  • Created by nurphgun
  1. Wiki: On this page, click the random article generator three times, and let one of those articles inspire your piece.
  2. Wind: Incorporate a non-vocal instrument that uses air to generate its sound.
  3. Waltz: Write this song in triplet time.


  • Due May 10, 2020
  • 13 Submissions
  • Created by peter
  1. Write a lullaby
  2. Keep it under one minute
  3. Include a melody from a song that came out the year you were born


  • Due Apr 26, 2020
  • 16 Submissions
  • Created by ryan
  1. Feature a palindromic melody
  2. Make the title of your song a palindrome
  3. Structure your song as a palindrome (ex: verse, chorus, chorus, verse)

Home Body

  • Due Apr 21, 2020
  • 18 Submissions
  • Created by nick
  1. Use only one chord
  2. Feature sounds made with non-musical objects found in your home
  3. Write about a place you miss