Reflective & Goal-setting

Favorite texts and reflection from last year

1. My favorite was American Born Chinese, it was an interesting medium that combines text and visual. It also tackled the theme of cultural clash, which strongly resonates with me.

2. I enjoy texts that are completely literary, this includes ABC, “To Live”, “The problem with Apu”, “Propaganda Posters”…

3. I still need to work on analytical essays, I struggled with HL essay, Paper 1 – assignments where I need to prove a thesis. I think I was better at creative tasks such as the pastiche we did, I’m also ok at poetry.

3-2-1 regarding the year ahead

Three things
1. The onion is known for writing joke articles. They also have a youtube channel where they post parodies with satirical nature.

2. The odyssey is a long poem about a greek myth.

3. Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created “frankenstein’s monster”

Two things
1.  Who is ” Basil Gogos”

2. What is the “Baron of Botax”

One Thing

What is a common theme within these texts and why are we studying them?

SMART Goal for the coming year

Thoroughly read 3 books that interest me before Christmas.

 

Elearning Reflection

Coronavirus is certainly a novel experience for me. While being locked up at home certainly does feel restrictive, it is liberating in some way.

There is a lot of free time every day, this helps a lot with sleep, hobbies, and management of work. Before the lockup, everything felt like it was on a strict timer. Everything was planned for blocks of times with classes, extracurriculars… that everything felt tense and relentless. At the moment time just flows freely like a soothing stream.

Large chunks of time are wasted every day. It’s obvious when there’s no “learning environment” breathing down the students’ backs that every distraction ever will be attacking from every direction. It also doesn’t help that we cannot really stay active. Because I study in my bedroom, it is so easy to lie down and release the hold of my brain. It’s difficult to get into that focused momentum and be as productive as I would have been at school.

With that said I have started to improve myself. By setting my own time slots, timers and work out sessions I’m starting to make sure that most of my time is put to good use. I really hope the virus ends soon and I can leave my home-prison.

Carol Ann Duffy “Valentine” Pastiche

Not a dandelion or the brightest diamond.

I give you ________
It is a deadline for an eternal existence.
It is hope
That love will mend all wounds.

Bleed.
It rip you up from the insides
like a lover.
It will give pain,
an unshaking regret for the past.

I will stay with you.

Until eternity.

I give you a heart.
Its bond with yours transcends
all disease, all suffering.
For as we long as we live,
we’ll find a way.

Take it.
It is medicine for your soul,
For your spirit.
Despair.
I will chase it away
like a demon, like a ghoul.

The Little Prince

I read the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and I didn’t understand anything.

I recognized that the book was critiquing modern humans for their closed-mindedness and has many clear themes of coming to age but many questions remained unanswered. Why did the prince kill himself? What do the planets represent and how does he return to them? Regardless, I enjoyed the magical tone in which this story was told. The Little Prince describes his explorations in a way that brings the world to a new, interesting perspective.

Winter Break Reading

Over the Winter Break I read the Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson. The three books were long but definitely worthwhile. If anyone is looking for an exciting fantasy novel, this is very good.

The plot was very well developed. However, towards the end of the book, every conflict gets completely resolved. This made reading through the books feel less tense and the conflicts less meaningful. Compared to another similar series I have read – the Kingkiller Chronicle by Pattrick Rothfuss. Rothfuss makes the characters and stories more tangible and lifelike. His commentary on life is more brutal and impactful. While Brandon Sanderson is more focused on creating the world of fantasy, Patrick Rothfuss focuses on the protagonist’s life while fantasy elements act to support the arc of the story.

If you have a lot of time, read both books and tell me what you think in the comments below 🙂

Final Reflection for Passion Project Semester

This semester I worked on writing music. A completely new skill which I have always wanted to approach because of my familiarity with music and love for music.

I play guitar so I wrote a lot of ideas just with a guitar and singing. But I soon realized I need more instrument, layers and variety. That’s when I found digital musical software. My friend gave me logic pro x, a software where I can easily add in midi or recorded instruments and layer them together. It’s a great software, such a good way to record and put together ideas.

Logic Pro X is my platform for writing music, I’ve tried to make different types of music, electronic, rock, pop, even some orchestral. I’m still dabbling in different genres of music, even now, I’m still making different types of music. Unsure if I will settle into one genre.

Throughout this semester, I was never sure if I was making progress. It became common that I would make something, not like it, and throw it away. The first moment where I felt like I was making progress was when I made this

https://soundcloud.com/megaphone-man/playing-with-logic-pro

This was the first ever song I was satisfied with. I was unsure why I liked it even though it was so easy to make. I also knew I don’t want to be a producer. I tried to make something I liked but couldn’t, so why this song is “good” remained a mystery for me.

Until I asked Mr Long about music, where he told me that electronic music was very minimalistic, which is why my easy song was good. He also talked more to me about tonality and central idea. I realized around this time that I was getting better.

Even though I was more busy with schoolwork after this time, I became more able to put together full songs and actually make things. I was quite satisfied with this one, which is literally just random ideas that fit together.

 

My final Project is here,

https://youtu.be/YNU6fnPEU_0

This song was written to be performed.

I structured the song based on this, I wanted a Cello and I knew my friend would play Cello for me. So I wrote the song so that it would be performed solely with cello, guitar and vocals. I was satisfied with the song itself, even if I hated the lyrics. The Cello part I wrote fit well with the guitar and vocals, although I felt like an actual composer would have done much better.

After my performance, the feedback from Mr. Long and Mr. Redman were very positive. Mr Long also commented on how an actual three track recording would be very nice to have. I agree with Mr Long, during the performance, my tempo was not very well controlled, some mistakes were made. If I were to do this again, I would have more practice and make less mistakes.

Overall, I believe my final project was good. With more improvement and practice, I might be able to make actual music. This final product shows my improvement from the first day of passion project until now.

Throughout this semester, I became better at making music and gained a better understanding of music. In the future, I will continue to explore, experiment and make music. I will also work towards developing my own style of music. I will also try to work with other musicians more.

 

Week 10 of Passion Project

During the long break, I had time to write a full song. This is a song I plan to perform so I used three instruments, guitar, cello and vocals. (I have a friend who plays the Cello who is willing to perform)

Here is the song in its midi form, all the clarinet is representative of the vocals part.

Blue = Verse               Red = Chorus             Purple = Bridge

I wrote down the vocal part of my song by keying in notes with clarinet because I never had time recording vocals. I spent all the time I had practising for the performance instead.

Here are the lyrics

Oh leaves that fall and stay

Oh the rooftops that turn gray

Tell me where the creatures go

Go when winter falls

Oh who knows 

Oh the ravens come and play

Oh the clouds that fade away

What lies after this long road

Walk until we grow old

The doors of stone

Oh   leaves that fall and stay

Oh the rooftops that turn gray

Tell me where the creatures go

Go when winter falls

Oh who knows 

Leave and then end up where

Do we walk up the stairs

Or just stay right here instead

Well it doesn’t feel complete

And just falling asleep

Sinking down to the sea

Even though it’s supposed to retain the theme of questioning what is after death, my lyrics are mostly nonsense. I figured nonsense is fine because lyrics are often nonsense anyways.

The above is the Cello sheet music sent to my Cello player Curtis Wong, I’m very thankful of him helping me out on this because he had to skip swimming to perform.

Our performance on open mic night was pretty successful because we didn’t mess up and not many people came to watch. I made a few little mistakes but the end result was good and received positive feedback.

Here is the video of the performance.

https://youtu.be/YNU6fnPEU_0

The audio and video quality is not the best so in the future, we might do a three-track recording which put together is something very good for me to have.

 

Week 9 of Passion Project

This week I realized that I have too many abandoned ideas,

Scrapped beats, abandoned loops, melodies I couldn’t put together with anything else… I got tired of not being able to finish something completely, so I abandoned the structure and just put together a song with some ideas.

https://soundcloud.com/megaphone-man/ideas

This song has one recurring loop, and I just added some ideas on to it. The song has no chorus or verse, it is just ideas that fit.

Three different parts that don’t even feel exactly the same, they just simply fit under the same loop. To my surprise, this actually ended up as a satisfactory song. I still believe that individually, these three ideas could be fully developed into songs that are better apart. In the future, I will first study and see how other musicians develop a central melody in their song. Songs like Walk like an Egyptian or Darude sandstorm, I want to see how others change from verse to chorus. I will also try to go back to my pile of abandoned ideas and see if I can shape them into something complete.

This video I found is interesting.

I also realized that because this song ended up somewhat fine, maybe it is fine to ditch the song structure sometimes. Songs like Bohemian Rhapsody also don’t have that concrete of a structure so I will keep in mind in the future that I don’t always have to stick to the books.

I’ve realized that my goal has not been clearly stated in my reflections. My goal has always to make music.

Songwriting is quite a new skill for me so, during this semester, I have been trying different ways to create music and is better each week, I will eventually create a song to demonstrate my grown competence in songwriting and present it. Even though my goal is not that concrete, I believe I am making progress in becoming a better song writer.

IMPRESSIVE IMPROVEMENT

(Sorry this is not posted earlier, I misread the instructions and thought I only had to submit on dx)

 

My goal is to improve my tone quality.

 

I was unsure what kind of music to pick. I figured the best type of music for improving are long tones and scales. I also remembered that in middle school, we often used warm-ups to practice. So I went online to search for clarinet warm-ups, this is the one I decided to use.

Clarinet Warmups

Specifically, I used the long tones on page three, and the Klose scales on page four.

My first recording for the

Klose Scales        https://soundcloud.com/megaphone-man/c-major-klose-scales-p123-80-bpm/s-rvZBp

Lone Tones         https://soundcloud.com/megaphone-man/long-tones-chromatic-100-bpm/s-YVHXZ

 

I realized though recording this that my tone quality actually is better for the higher notes (B natural and above) than the lower C to Bb. I will especially focus on practising long tones for these lower notes. I will also improve my embouchure as much as possible.

 

I will practice

Two hours on Tuesday

Two hours on Thursday

Two hours on Saturday

(If any of these fail to happen, makeup on Wednesday)