I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. -Estee Lauder

Category: I am a Self-Manager

Music: Graphic Notation Composition

At the beginning of my first music project, I had originally decided to choose the topic of cryptography. But when I started to plan out my composition, I didn’t know what to do and was lost. So I then decided to change to graphic notation and see if it would work any better for me.

The first thing I did was I went out around the school with a sheet of paper and my computer to record some sounds I heard. On the piece of paper, I would draw shapes and lines to represent how the sounds I heard would look like, and what they felt like to me. On my computer, I would record all the sounds that I heard around the school. For example, the sounds from a P.E. class, a printer, or the water fountain.

Next, I put some of the recordings into a program called Audacity, where I would edit the recordings and play with them so I could add them into my music later on. In Audacity, you can cut, paste, and copy clips, as well as changing the speed and pitch etc., of a clip.

Afterwards, I took the clips and put them into GarageBand to form a composition, and also add instrumental parts into my music. In my composition, I only have one instrumental part that sounds similar to one of my edited recordings, but it also ties all the different sounds together.

Overall, I thought that creating this composition was really fun but also challenging at the same time. I learned a lot from this project, and I look forwards to our next music project.

Ignite Week: Exhibition

Our project for Ignite Week was to create a “record player”. We used an old bike wheel and attached many wires to it. Those wires would be taped down by copper tape. In our scenario, there are two reasons why we used copper tape. One, so it wouldn’t insulate the wire, and two, when the spoon touched the bike wheel, the tape which is connected to the wire would make a sound. The wire would be programmed on Scratch to play a specific note, and the longer the copper wire would be, the longer the note. So we planned out our song, and supposedly, when the wheel spins and the spoon drags along the tape, it would play a song. But the wheel only has one pattern taped on it, so it will only play that one part and nothing else. 

Friday was the final day to put finishing touches on our projects, and we would have our first Ignite Week Exhibition of the year. Angel and I still had to finish attaching the wires onto the wheel, and we used the first two blocks to do that. But when we were finished, we discovered that the copper tape wasn’t very sensitive, so it didn’t work as well as we hoped it would. We had to slowly “scoot” the wheel along instead of spinning it really fast, and we would only occasionally hear a melody and rhythm instead of the entire chorus being played like we originally planned. The holder for the spoon didn’t really work that well, so we also just held the spoon with our hand. During the exhibition, we would play the song for them, but in the end, we just let our audience play and experiment with the wheel, even playing the notes with their hands. That worked out better because our audience could see where our project came from and our inspiration, and they would be able to experiment with it themselves which they thought was really cool.

Overall, I thought that this first Ignite Week project of the year was really fun and an enjoyable experience, and even though or wheel didn’t work as well as we hoped it would, I still learned a lot from this experience.

Make It: Create and Improve

Questions to Answer for Feedback:

-Are the notes being played clearly?

-Does the wheel spin smoothly?

-Do you hear a song being played?


Feedback from Other Group:

They can hear the specific notes, and they can sort of hear a song being played. But because we didn’t finish programming the notes, they didn’t hear the entire song. The wheel spins smoothly, but we should figure out how the notes will actually sound like a song when the wheel is spinning. They also told us how we could make something hold the spoon up so we don’t have to hold it.

Ignite Week: Day 3

Day 3 Block 1:

Angel and I continued to work on our wheel. I continued to tape on the copper tape pattern, while she would attach the wires to the tape. We have tried to play the first few notes, and they work, but the sensitivity when a note is being pressed isn’t that sensitive.

Day 3 Block 2:

Angel and I continued to work on our roles. A problem we’ve encountered so far is that the sound is delayed when we  press on the note, and we’re experimenting with looping in Scratch so the sounds won’t be delayed.

Day 3 Block 3:

Angel and I took everything off from what we originally did with the wires and tape because everything wasn’t ver organized and was falling apart everywhere. So we restarted, stripped everything off, and started to re-tape everything back on. Now, everything is much more secure, organized, and is staying on the wheel. We haven’t programmed the sounds yet, but we will do that when we are done with all the wires. Today we have made a lot of progress, and we are almost half way through with taping the wires on the wheel.

Make It: Develop and Plan

For this project, we will need to use the bike wheel, wires, the circuit board, copper tape, masking tape, a spoon, and a stand for the wheel to spin on. We will need to know how to connect multiple wires together to make a parallel circuit, so we only need to use 2 circuit boards for all the notes.

We got our ideas by first coming up with the idea of a piano on a wheel, but as we continued to brainstorm, we developed the
idea of making the wheel spin. When we complete attaching the wires to the tape pattern, we’ll first test it by just pressing on the notes, and when we create the spoon stand, we’ll spin the wheel to see if it will play the song.

Spring Rock Field Trip

Last week, FA went on a one-night overnight field trip to SpringRock.

I really enjoyed this field trip, and it might be my favorite field trip EVER! On typical field trips, we would always go on a Great Wall hike, but this time, all we did was rope courses, and I enjoyed it so much!

The highlight of my trip was the rope courses and the Jacob’s Ladder, which was basically the entire trip. Both of these obstacle courses were stepping into the edge of my panic zone, and at first it was a challenge for me. I thought I couldn’t do the Jacob’s Ladder, but my teammates encouraged me to persevere and to try my best, and eventually I made it to the top. For the rope course, I was really nervous on the first obstacle, because I was so high up. But I pushed through, and when I got to the double helix course, I was really really nervous. But I overcame my hurdles and made it through the double helix, which wasn’t that hard at all!

During the Jacob’s Ladder especially, we had to work as a team. My team was determined to make it up altogether, but because we were the first group, we were “on our own”, and there were times when we thought about giving up. But we worked really well as a team, encouraging each other and pulling each other up to the next rung. On the rope course, we were also encouraging each other and giving each other advice, so for this trip, I think I worked really well as a collaborator.

Being a Self-Manager

As a Self-Manager, something that I am successful at is choosing a good learning spot. The picture below is the table that I consistently work at, and it is a place that I can focus and actually work. This is a place where I’m not distracted by my surroundings, and I am comfortable to focus and work, whether that is writing, reading, or typing etc.

As a Self-Manager, something that I can improve on is to complete tasks and use my time effectively. This is because sometimes I am around tools I do not need, such as a whiteboard marker, which sometimes distracts me, and I start to doodle. What I will do to make sure I am focused and on task, is that I will only have the appropriate tools at the appropriate time, so I don’t get distracted by something that I don’t need, and I can get the work I need done.

I am…

Out of the 5 areas, I feel the strongest in communication because I feel like I am able to express myself and my thinking while being respectful to other’s and their opinions, and responding to other people’s comments. Something I think that I could improve on is my thinking, and to be more open-minded and flexible.


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