Dragons’ Eye

Title of the Photo: A Boy and His Horse

Photographer: Wayne Winkleman

Where I saw it: I saw it at the silent auction fundraiser for MS smile week (Dragons’ Eye). outside the cafeteria.

What about it connects to me: I connect to this photo because I really like seeing people in traditional clothing, and I think that it’s really cool and that you can learn a lot about a person by the way they dress or what they do, and this photo shows both aspects of that in this picture about the boy.

technical skill of the photo: I think the technical skill is good. It’s focused well, it’s framed well, It has color and they centered the the photo well. They also have good skills at editing the photo if they edited it because you can’t really tell if this one is edited. There’s nice contrast between the background and the subject (colorful and not colorful, blurry and not blurry.

artistic skill of the photo: I think that it does a good job of depicting the boy and who he is, what he’s doing and his culture. I think it captures the audiences attention because it is artistic the way that there’s a story to it and that it’s capturing a real person, and that that person is being themselves and yet because of the way their standing, and who they are they are captured as art in this photo.



Investigation of A Street Photographer

Eric Kim is a Street Photographer.

This is one of the street portraits that he did of someone. He usually takes more candid photos (like the black and white one below) but he also does some like this were he takes a portrait of a person (Below). These types of photos that he does are artistic like this one where he uses different colors and shadows.


This  is the link to his blog/website

This is a candid photo that he took in Black and white.

With his candid photos he documents normal life (like the lady below) but he likes getting different angles, he puts some in black and white.

He has a fairly wide variety of photos and separates them into Categories of “Only in America, Street Portraits” and other categories. Each category is slightly different stylistically.

Street Photography Day #1

On this day we went out into the field and took street photos in the park across from school (April 12th). We spent about 45 minutes and were free to wander the park from end to end in an effort to capture candid ‘day to day’ life in China at the park.


What is this a photo of? : This was a little kid being held by her parent at the exercise section of the park.

Why did I choose this photo? : I chose this photo because I liked how the subject was looking at the camera and that I was able to get it in focus (and also the baby is really cute).

How did I get this photo? :I was walking around the exercise section and I saw to my right this little girl being held and looking at me and so I took multiple photos and this was the best one.

What are the photos’ highlights? : I think that it’s framed well, the subject was looking at the camera, the lighting was good and she was in focus.

What did I learn from this picture? I learned that you have to be aware of your surroundings and have to be ready to take a photo at any time, because if I wasn’t paying attention, then I wouldn’t have been able to get this photo.



What is this a photo of?: This is a photo with a little girl holding a dog.

Why did I choose this photo?: I chose this photo because I thought she looked really happy and was looking into the camera.

How did I get this photo? I got this photo because the mother handed the dog to the little girl because she saw that I was taking pictures. And so I was able to take her photo.

What are the photos’ highlights? I think the highlights are the expression on the girls face (really happy), overall cuteness, and the pop of the color pink.

What did I learn from this picture? : I learned that its not scary to take street photography and that some people like having their photos taken (like this little girl).



What is this a photo of? This is a photo of a little boy in the farmers market holding his fathers’ hand.

Why did I choose this photo? I chose it because I liked the irony of that we’re in China, but his shirt has Dallas Texas on it. I also liked the patterns in it from his clothing and his separation from the blurry background.

How did I get this photo? I got this photo when I was walking through the farmers market at the park and I saw this man holding groceries and walking with his son and I quickly took his picture.

What are the photos’ highlights? I think the highlights are cuteness of subject (like the other 2) and the focus was good, I also liked the framing of the subject so that the first thing the eye is drawn to is his face, and that there are other details like his clothing and the background.

What did I learn from this picture? I learned that you only really have a moment to capture the picture, because then they’ll change they’re expression, they’ll



What is this a photo of?This is a photo of some old people hanging out together.

Why did I choose this photo? I chose this photo because I really liked that they were just doing what they do and I think it showed a lot of their character.

How did I get this photo? I got this photo near the exercise place in the park.

What are the photos’ highlights? I think the highlights are how casual the people are, they’re not really noticing that I’m taking their photo. I also like how the aqua blue adds pops of bright color to the photo.

What did I learn from this picture? I learned that I didn’t just have to get the subjects looking into the camera, but that I can get good photos of them just doing what they’re doing.



What is this a photo of?This is a photo of a little boy holding an inflatable ball.

Why did I choose this photo? I chose this photo because the little boy was cute and I also liked how the ball matched his outfit. I also chose it because of the framing of the photo and that he was in the middle and so the focus goes to him.

How did I get this photo? I got this photo when I was walking in between photo spots and  I saw him standing in the middle of the path in front of me and so I decided to take his photo.

What are the photos’ highlights? I think that the framing (because he’s in the center), color coordination, cuteness level.

What did I learn from this picture? I learned that you sometimes have to move yourself top get into position. For this one I ended up kneeling to get the right angle that I wanted, and I needed to get into that position quickly to take the photo.



What is this a photo of?This is the photo of two people playing the drums for the fan dancers in the park.

Why did I choose this photo? I chose this photo because they were really into what they were doing and were happy and I felt like it captured a part of life in this park that you don’t see everyday.

How did I get this photo? I got this photo when I was taking photos of the dancers and then I saw that they were playing the music for it and so I took a photo of them.

What are the photos’ highlights? I think the highlights are the lighting, focus, the way the subjects are focused on what they’re doing.

What did I learn from this picture? I learned that sometimes the most interesting pictures aren’t the things that are the center of attention, but that are off to the side, or that you have to look for them.


Final Reflection

I posted my final project in the last Blog post, which also had a bit of reflection and explanation in it but this is the ‘second reflection’.

Explain Passion Project, and why chose as passion project:

My passion project in essence was to learn piano. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to master it in a semester, but I wanted to start learning it because I knew it would help me with other stuff I was doing (Producing, songwriting, IB music etc.) and so for the final project I showed that I could play a song that I learned pretty quickly (Showing that I could learn pieces and that I’ve learned and gotten better at piano over the semester) I also produced a song, with one of the main parts being piano to show that I can now combine the piano I’ve learned with stuff that I was doing before (In this case producing).

How will you use what you’ve learned in the future?

I will use the new skills that I’ve learned with piano (sight-reading, chords, scales etc.) to make music in the future (kind of like I did when I produced the final project song, I will also write songs for piano, and can accompany myself on some simpler ones (which will be helpful in performing), I’ll also expand on what I learned and practice more along with learning more songs on piano.

Define some of your most challenging moments, what made them so?

My most challenging moment was (Can reference blog 6) is when I kind of lost track of why I was learning piano, I was so focused on that I had to learn piano, that I wasn’t enjoying it my goals weren’t helping me reach what I wanted to with piano and so I had to change them. But I got back from it, I reevaluated what I was doing and was able to  do better after that. I think another thing I somewhat struggled with was that it took a long time each week for me to compile a blog post, and I had to figure out how to have proof etc. but I did it, and I got better at it over the semester.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned personally?

I think the most important thing that I learned is that instead of focusing on just piano, I needed to also enjoy learning it and remember why I was learning it. I also realized that even though at times it didn’t seem like I was making a lot of progress, I was actually getting better in the long run, and looking back at older passion projects helped with that.

What did you discover as being your greatest strengths? Your biggest weaknesses?

My greatest strength was I kept going at it, even though it took up a lot of time and I was busy with other school work and that I had a plan and knew what I wanted to do (decisive). My biggest weakness was sometimes I wasn’t doing effective practice, but I got better at it over the semester especially when I could see the progress I was making.

What do you feel most got in the way of your progress, if anything?

I think some weeks I had a lot of Homework and other work to do and so even though I was practicing, it wasn’t always effective practice because I was thinking about homework or other stuff while I was practice. I think I got better at that though, and I kept improving.


Follow up from last week:


So I showed it to my mom and to a group of eight people from church (One of whom is a music teacher from another school) and I have it on youtube and it has about 10 views.

It got a good response, people seemed to like it, I did get some good critique especially from my youth teacher who is a music teacher at another school in Beijing. And he said that it might be able to be developed a bit more and although I couldn’t make any changes this time, it was good to remember for next time (to vary the chord progression a bit more etc.). People seemed to be impressed with how much I’ve learned about piano this semester and they thought it was overall pretty good.

Reflection/Final Project

So this is the final project and reflection. I made two videos. This is the first one:

I was going to play a different song for the final project, but I decided that I would use this one instead. It’s a hymn called “Choose the Right” out of a hymnbook. I first tried playing it about a week ago and because of all the practice I put in over the semester of playing the piano, reading sheet music, looking at theory and chords, I was able to play it all the way through the first time (With a few mistakes). The video was from when I played it about the 8th or ninth time and because I felt like I was under pressure I made some mistakes, but even so, it’s still so much more than I could do than when I started learning piano this semester. I decided to put it as part of the final project instead of something I memorized  because I felt like it was more impressive that in a few days and without much practice I was able to play something that I wouldn’t have been able to play at the beginning of the semester. In it, I’m usually playing 4 pitches at a time and I have to change positions pretty quickly. I felt it would be more impressive than something that I had learned over the whole semester that even though it was a bit more difficult, took more time to learn because I was doing it since the beginning. I’m proud of this one and the work I did with it, and how it shows the some of the skills that I learned throughout the semester.

Here’s the video of it:

I also made a song focusing on the piano. I decided to do this, because I wanted to learn piano and then be able to apply it to what I had been doing with music before the start of the course. Before the start of the course I had been getting into producing, creating songs, and writing music. I wanted to show that I could combine what I learned in the passion project with the stuff I had done before and how It would help me. I made a chord progression using the piano with different lengths and things (Like you’ll see in the video below) and I took some of inspiration for the chord progression from ragtime which I had done a little bit of research about in the semester and that I wrote about in a previous blog post (Especially the beat). Taking time to learn chords and what chords go in the keys this semester really helped with this.

I recorded myself playing the song in parts (chorus and the verse) because I wanted it to be  uniform and then I produced it with what I would normally do by adding bass, some percussion, a couple effects and a melody. I didn’t put any effects on the piano part because I wanted it to feel like it was being played (I didn’t want to chop it up too much or make it sound like it wasn’t a piano). I will say though, that it is not my best producing job, and the reason I say that is because when I was recording the piano, I forgot to be careful to get it the right distance while recording to make sure that there wasn’t any background noise, and so there are some parts of the song where there’s a little noise that seems out of place, however I’m still proud of it.

When I produce something again with piano, I’ll make sure to address those issues and maybe even just connect the electronic piano directly to the computer to create a midi file, but because it is my first time producing something with piano, I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect, and I’m proud of that I made it and that I can use it. Also the project wasn’t about how perfect the producing was, but that I got good enough at piano that I can record and use it to create and produce songs if I want to.

This is the video for the music I made:

Learning the piano this semester was fun and at times hard. I would have to continuously reflect on what I wanted to be able to do, set aside time to practice so that I could achieve what I wanted to do and at one point during the semester refocus on why I was learning the piano (That was in Blog #6) and changed some of my goals. I learned how to play chords that were triads, scales, sing while accompanying myself, how to sight read between an easy and intermediate level, memorized a couple songs and learned a lot about piano this semester. I’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m going to continue developing and working on learning piano so that I can play more things and learn things quicker. For an example I’m learning a couple new songs right now and here are some clips:

Even though the semester is over, I’m going to keep putting time into learning piano (although probably not the same amount of hours that I am right now) and I’m excited to learn more and improve!

I put my final product on youtube, and I’m also going to show it to some people at my church, my family and some people at school and I’ll probably have one final reflection based on the response it got (How much I learned/ what I made) and what critiques they have or what their reaction was.

Thank you for a wonderful Semester!



Blog Post #11 Almost There (and almost Done)

All I have left to do is put on a couple more touches on the song I made using piano and film myself playing a song.

Here’s a picture of the (about 20 minutes left until finished) produced song. You can see some of the layers, (They’re labeled) All I’m going to do is maybe tweak a couple things slightly and then add a melody or harmony over it (Or both).

And here’s a video with a clip of the song and with a little explanation of what I changed. There’s also a little time-lapse of some of the work I put into it.


So basically I rerecorded the piano part again (I recorded it by section (verse and chorus)) I felt like this would make it sound more real, because when I was cutting it up and putting it together, I realized I liked how it sounded when it wasn’t as produced in that part. (So that way I show that I’m actually playing it). I also added a bass line with some effects over it and some drum beats. (The bass, drum and effects other than piano I played on my computers’ Keyboard). And yeah, It’s almost finished, I put a lot of time in it, I had to fix things and reorganize a little bit, but it’s almost done.

I also did piano this week like I normally do and here’s a video of me practicing some new material (These are both from about the third or fourth time I’ve played these parts of the songs, so you can really see that I’m getting quicker at learning piano, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t been learning piano and practicing this semester.)


And so all I have to do this weekend is (1) finish producing the song and (2) take a video of me playing a song that I’ve learned how to play this semester. (And obviously keep doing the stuff I have been doing before like practicing every day).

And Yeah I’m basically done (Almost there)!



Blog Post #10: It’s Coming Along

So this week I’m leaving for the APAC Choir trip (on Wednesday morning) and I don’t know if I’m going to have internet or if I’m going to be able to work on it until I get back which is why I’m putting up the blogpost early.

I’ve been working on recording it/producing it. I took a recording of myself playing the piano (I didn’t get any pictures of how I did it because the recording stuff takes setup as well),  but basically I got my microphone and played the different sequences on the piano (I recorded it onto garage band) I then went onto garage band and isolated the clips that I wanted to use  and I show it in this video below (It might not seem like a lot but that is usually the most time consuming process for me in producing):

In the video I showed the samples that I put together, I also showed a couple clips of samples that I’m not going to use (the drums) these are just samples that I have selected for me to use for the song (It doesn’t have any effects yet or anything).

I also got the piano part into the ABABA song structure (pictured below in blue) (I put the samples in the order that I’m going to use them in).

It’s not perfectly in the timing I want, but I’m going to fix that. The important part is that I have the structure of the song in garage band, and I can now build off of that. The next part of producing for me is to put the chords in the timing I want (I will have to create two layers so they can overlap in the parts that I want, so that it sounds better) it will make sense when I have the next Blogpost and can show how I did that, I’m also going to add a drum beat, add a couple synths and melody. I might also add some effects to the piano, I’ll show what I do to that in the next blogpost.

It Is coming along well, I’m expecting to have the song done by next blogpost. (Since I have the structure in garage band, it will go faster). I’m also trying to make it so that the melody and other parts aren’t going to overpower the piano, since the piano is what the focus of this passion project.

I will also record myself playing one of the songs I’ve learned on piano next week as well. (So basically I’m finishing it next week so that I will have time for the reflection.). And yeah. 🙂  It’s going well. I’m in a place where I’ll be able to finish it, and can show what I’ve made and done because of the piano that I’ve learned as well as how it’s enabled me to make the song, and memorize the piano music.

Blog 9: Working on the Final Projects

I have done quite a bit of work this week. So the first thing is I finished my song (It now has the piano part figured out, so now I just need to produce it on garage band. I’m probably not going to do anything super fancy with the producing, but I’ll figure that out while I’m producing it.

This is when I decided to change the chord progression (I took out the fourth chord) because it doesn’t sound good these are the chords I have now (C major, f major and g major)

video of the new chord progression: ( it was taking a long time to upload them to dragonstube, and so I finally decided to just put them as unlisted on Youtube)

I took inspiration from when I was researching ragtime (a few blogposts ago). The chord form is different (for ragtime you would have octaves that weren’t the root chord) But I still kept the rhythm of it and instead for the lower left hand part I did octaves in the root of each chord (C, F and G). Below is a video of some of the times I was working on figuring out how I wanted it to go, (this isn’t the finished part, but once I produce and see how it sounds on there, I might still change some things or make it slightly different, but the main idea is there.

VIDEO of me working on song:

Now for the other parts I’m not as concerned with those now because my focus is on the piano, but once I produce it that’s when I’ll add voice (It might have words or I might not), some drums in the background and maybe one or two other effects. It ended up being really inspired by the ragtime that I did some research on earlier in the semester, it’s not ragtime, but it has some similarities in the beat and stuff like that so yeah.

And so basically I have parts of the song figured out I’m going to go with a simple ABABA form (Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus) and I’ll figure out how I want to do that when I’m actually producing (that’s what I’m doing now after posting this)

I also worked on Once Upon a Dream and this video is when I was working on a part of it that I was having a little trouble on.


And so yeah I’ve gotten a lot done and the next steps are:

Produce the song,

Keep polishing once upon a dream

Make a video for the song

(it will just be clips of me making the song or of piano etc.)

And that’s what I’m going to be finishing up in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it is progressing, slowly but surely 🙂 It’s going really well, nothing has really impeded the progress of making the song, and I’m going to start producing it today. It is really time consuming, but it’s coming along. 🙂

Blog Post #8: Getting Stuff Done

So the videos aren’t very good quality again, but you can see that I’m practicing and how I’m working on stuff. I went to the practice rooms or practiced on a real piano three times since the last blog post. (Along with practicing at home on other days).

In the practice rooms one of the things I worked on was the song composition and using the piano to write the song. (Here’s a video below where I work out what chord progression I want the song to have) By next week’s blog, I’m going to have more done on it, and will have at least the basic structure and rhythm of the song, if not more. I Might even start recording it onto my computer and then I’d be able to show where I was going with it.

Video: working on song composition

I also focused a lot on practicing for my music HL project (Which I decided to use piano for because of my passion project, I wanted to stretch myself and actually see if I could use it in a way that was useful for performing). I had the recording for it on Wednesday, and it went well. It was just in front of my class, and I don’t have the recording clip yet, but when I get it, I’ll see if I can put a segment of it on here. In the video you can see how I’m practicing, I also show a clip of me using the pedal. (Which I learned how to use last week).

Video practicing song for the MUSIC HL

The third thing I did in the practice rooms was play around with piano. In the clip of video below, I’m playing ‘mist’ which is a song I have earlier on here, but I’m changing some of the rhythm and playing around with how it sounds.

I did a lot of practice and I’m also getting better at the second song I’m memorizing. I’m having a lot of fun, and it’s been a good couple of weeks.

For this next week I’m going to

  • Work on my composition, and maybe get some of it into garage band.
  • Finish memorizing ‘Once Upon a Dream’
  • Review chords/scales (since I haven’t done some of them in a while)
  • Practice some other songs (sight reading/learning some)

So yeah, that’s the plan for next week 🙂

Blog #7: A lot happened Since last time…

Ok there has been quite a few developments and things that went really well and some setbacks since last time…

In IB Music I’m singing while playing piano for one of my pieces. (I’m singing Unsteady by the Ambassadors) and when I was showing it to Ms. Schapel, she showed me how to use one of the piano pedals and some of the technique for it. I hadn’t really considered the pedals before and it was really cool to learn about how that works and how to use it to make it sound good. I was going to upload a section of it, but then the audio wasn’t working on the clip I had taken, so I’m going to reshow what I was doing for the next time and use an electronic piano with a pedal or a real one from the practice room to show what I learned. And this is cool, because I’ll be able to use the piano to accompany myself, which i wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t been learning piano.

I compiled some videos of me playing around with chords and using the bass note of the root of the chord, and also doing different rhythms etc. (So similar idea to the song I’m doing for IB Music, but I didn’t use a pedal because it’s an electronic piano).

I also from practicing that song learned more about Dynamics (making parts of the song quieter, or some notes louder that others) and how to do that on a real piano (Since I’m usually on an electronic one and so I’m probably going to be going to practice rooms more often (whether in study halls or during the actual passion project block). I also learned about phrasing, and how to create more interest when playing a song with chords through changing the octaves or creating a base line using the root note (Like I show above). And can know apply it to other songs I’m working on such as the two I’m memorizing (Once Upon a Dream) and the one that I’ve already memorized (Bright). Below I have a clip of me playing Bright before and after knowing this).

Before: (This is the one that I put up on this blog before)

After: (So it’s not a very good quality video (due to audio etc.), but the things that you might notice to be different from the first one is that I’m trying to add dynamics (but it’s an electronic piano so you can’t hear them) I’m also taking more time that the first one because I’m attempting to add more emotion to it, but it’s hard to hear in this one. So if I were to actually perform this one I wouldn’t play it as slowly, I’m just trying to get used to playing it in a different way. (and also there are some wrong notes that I play in the newer one, but it’s because I filmed it on Thursday, after not being able to practice this song after about five days because of something I talk about later in the blog post)

For the ‘talking to an expert’ part of this blog post, I talked to my mom, who plays the piano and the violin and knows a lot about music. And so I was asking her if she thinks I progressed or not, and she says that she’s seen a lot of improvement from when I first started. I also asked her what she thought of my project idea, and she though it was a good way to combine it with the stuff I had already learned. I haven’t really developed anything with my project yet, so I couldn’t really ask her what she thought about a certain part etc.

I’ve also started on working ideas for the final project. I haven’t entirely settled on the rhythm or decided what that segment is going to be or what chords (chorus or verse, but I do know I’ll probably have it in an ABABCB (Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus) form or maybe a similar layout of verse, Chorus, verse, chorus, verse bridge, chorus (ABABACA). I might even add a drop or something similarly interesting at the end of the chorus leading into the bridge. I’m also going to be doing it on piano first, so I have the basis for the song (and so I’ll be able to put clips up on the blog of that).

The Setback that I was talking about this week was that I was unable to do any practice this last Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday because I hurt my left shoulder and so I couldn’t use my arm to play the piano’s lower notes but now I can so it wasn’t that much of a set back it just affected it for a few days and it kind of looks like I’ve gone backwards in my piano progression in the second video of me playing Bright, but it’s because I didn’t have time to record multiple takes of me playing the song, so that was my first time playing it in a week (and with out sheet music because I have it memorized, ).

But it was a good learning experience to see how not practicing for a bit (even though it wasn’t something I could control since it was an injury) can impact the performance of it.