A New Hobby

Around the start of the pandemic I discovered that there are few things that bring me more joy than playing and creating music on my electric piano. I was reunited with this instrument after a long hiatus and I’ve had a wonderful time getting back into it.

Skill-wise I am somewhere around low-intermediate, knowing enough to read music and annoy roommates with the same ten songs. I enjoy playing keyboard immensely as a hobby and I find it very rewarding as I continue to improve.

The Idea Graveyard

Around the same time I rediscovered electric piano, I also started to recognize a very persistent and all-too-common thought pattern of mine; I have an idea for a new piece of software that I deeply want to exist, but I don’t pursue building it because of lack of time + XYZ. Let me know if any of these sound familiar to you

“Someone else has already created something that’s vaguely similar”

“Nobody will use it except for me”

“The project is too big for just one person”

“It’s difficult to monetize and therefore it’s not a worthwhile endeavour”

This is where my brain typically fought itself. I’d come up with a few of these reasons and shut down my idea. Sometimes my idea would even turn into a bit of code before my brain shut it down, ultimately putting the project to rest among a slew of other abandoned github repositories.

Novel Inspiration

It was about six months ago when I first got the inspiration for Midi Matches. I can recall a specific time when I was participating in a favorite activity of mine; turning on an old funk song and playing my own keyboard over it, making it up as I go.

I was having such a great time jamming out by myself while sheltered in place that I had a very memorable thought; Improvisational keyboard is such a blast. I want to have a shared experience with others around this activity that does not require being in the same physical space.

I got a warm and tingly feeling realizing that I can build such an experience myself, and I can build it with software! This kicked off a long brainstorm session of how to implement such a project through the most compelling, accessible, and approachable software medium possible.

After a good bit of thought and research, I concluded that my best bet for creating the experience I desired would be a web browser-based online multiplayer game where players can plug their MIDI keyboards into their computers and play scored games with each other in realtime. Thus, Midi Matches was born.

So Far So Good!

While there is plenty of work left on this project, I have made significant progress six months in and I am still feeling compelled to work on it. I believe the key difference this time around is that I am building a software project in a domain that I’m passionate about that I can’t wait to use myself.

Since working on a project that inspires me in this way, all of those pesky arguments against building a project seem more like excuses, and I find myself spending contemplative time asking constructive questions about the project itself rather than talking myself out of building it. Thanks for reading!