Assignment #21
  1. 1
    Choose a chord progression with no more than four chords in it and never deviate.
  2. 2
    Create three distinct song sections by focusing mostly on melody.
  3. 3
    No hiding! No effects other than EQ and compression.
  • Due Mar 17, 2024
  • 12 Submissions
  • Created by juliapiker


Ben March 18, 2024 4:43pm

lol y’all cheated

Ben March 19, 2024 1:57pm


nick March 20, 2024 1:35pm

Cheating might be a harsh way to put it, and “y’all” might be a bit broad. I understand the frustration of challenging yourself to adhere strictly to the parameters while others may be less inclined. I think there’s probably a touch of verb on the tambourine sample I used, but that’s a compromise I had to make while balancing my sanity.

Ben March 14, 2024 9:24pm

I wish there were capos for my vocal chords

nick March 17, 2024 9:28pm

if only this assignment allowed for pitch correction

Ben March 5, 2024 1:32pm

I haven’t even started thinking about my song, but i really do already think this is the most quintessential ncbc prompt yet, and here is why:

It’s prescriptive, yet not narrow.

It’s highly accessible for all musicians at all levels.

It gets everyone out of their comfort zone, while not remotely asking them to do something that’s beyond their abilities.

It has the ability to generate both: songs that sound like an NCBC submission; or songs that sound like regular songs. Or both at once I guess, too!

It has some well-defined hard and fast rules, and while there is certainly plenty of room for interpretation or bending (as always!), the essence of the point of the prompt is abundantly clear and understandable.

If someone asks what NCBC is, I’d use this assignment as my example.

Ben March 5, 2024 1:34pm

oh @@juliapikeri see you submitted this one. hell ya, good thinking. can not wait.

Ryan March 4, 2024 11:57am

Let’s see how this goes 😎

stonewindow March 4, 2024 7:35am

No reverb?

nick March 4, 2024 10:54am

no sir!

nick March 4, 2024 2:44pm

right, @@juliapiker?

juliapiker March 4, 2024 2:46pm

Correct- No Reverb. No hiding behind effects or using them to enhance the quality of your track.

What happens when we strip down to the basics?

Like nick said- follow your heart.

stonewindow March 4, 2024 5:53pm

All good for me. I’m stripped down anyway. Just wanted to clarify.

Carseat March 3, 2024 9:43pm

What aboooouuuuuut….. guitar effects…??? o_0

Ben March 3, 2024 9:59pm

Haha same question! If I turn my amp up too high and my guitar begins to OVERDRIVE is that an effect?!?

nick March 4, 2024 10:57am

Though there’s generally wiggle room with the parameters, I try to identify the spirit of the parameter and work within that. Others may be more compelled to look for loopholes, which is completely allowed. Follow your heart 💫

Rmal March 4, 2024 7:17pm

I’ll take waaaayyyy overdriven amp as a no effort, just as god intended when he created tubes

nick March 5, 2024 10:33am


Ben March 5, 2024 1:34pm

well said nick

Other Assignments

Assignment #20
  1. 1
    Base your song off of a dream you’ve had—recurring or otherwise.
  2. 2
    Feature two interweaving musical elements.
  3. 3
    Involve your subconscious by including some amount of improvisation in your recording.
Assignment #19
  1. 1
    Set your song at a motel during a meteor shower.
  2. 2
    Feature a “cascading” melody.
  3. 3
    During your process, spend some time outside at night alone.
Assignment #18
  1. 1
    Pulling from any three songs on the all-time Billboard Year-End Chart, borrow a lyric from one…
  2. 2
    A melody from another…
  3. 3
    And the vibe from a third, to bring a new original song to life.