NaSoAlMo (National Solo Album Month) is a challenge to write and record a solo album (defined as 29:09) of original music in one month. It was inspired by NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, during which writers attempt to write a novel in 30 days.
The intention behind the challenge is to encourage musicians to create new music, and to go for quantity rather than getting bogged down by trying to produce a polished piece of work. The deadline of November 30th forces participants to persevere: creating, performing, and recording without censorship or second-guessing. Determination counts more than talent. With the short time frame, not all of what is created will be good, but that’s OK!
The only goal of NaSoAlMo is to produce an album. By silencing the inner critic and focusing on playing and creating, participants can turn their attention to just getting something made. A liberating experience for perfectionists, and a fantastic playground for experimentalists.
Even though quality is not the goal, some participants have found that the intense and time-limited structure of NaSoAlMo has actually helped them to produce some of their best songs.
You do not need expensive sound recording or musical equipment to participate. You can make your NaSoAlMo album by singing and banging on pizza boxes with a toothbrush while recording on your answering machine. If you have million dollar musical instruments and a recording studio then go ahead and use that. The mode is up to you, the effort is up to you, and the result is up to you.
Participants can make the kind of music they want to make – previous album genres range from electronic to folk to rock, and from experimental to self-identified guff to absolutely and completely unclassifiable.
The key to NaSoAlMo is participation, and learning to have fun just creating with abandon. It is a unique opportunity to turn your ambitions into achievements, and to learn a great deal in the process. As an adult, there are not enough excuses to play and try new things, and too much perfectionist pressure that keeps many of us from playing at all. NaSoAlMo is the perfect antidote to the way of the busy world, a tonic for your musical soul, and an opportunity to enjoy creativity for its own sake.