Another two weeks since the last in-depth post. I’ve been learning how to play the song “Beauty and the Beast” on violin and a part of a song called “Illusory Light” that has a violin, piano and voice part. Jessica S., my friend who plays piano, is learning it as well and her younger sister might sing the vocals. (On SoundCloud, my practice:  and ). I learned the first few major keys that have flats as well:

  • F major (B flat)
  • B flat major (B flat, E flat)
  • E flat major (B flat, E flat, A flat)
  • A flat major (B flat, E flat, A flat and D flat)

I’ve played in each of these keys on my flute before, but I never had known what they were called, so this is an interesting development for me. The flats will be easier to learn now that I know most of the sharps because they overlap. In music, an F sharp is one semitone up from F. There is one full semitone between F and G, so since G flat is one semitone down from G, it is also one semitone up from F. Therefore, F sharp and G flat are the same notes. Some of the notes I’ve never played before, like A flat, are going to take a while to get used to, but I’m really happy to be able to play in so many keys now.

Filming is finally getting under way, come this Friday! My original schedule got kind of reversed because of locations I had to be in (volunteer training) which weren’t good for filming. Anyways, the first short (and experimental) film I’m going to do will be a basic montage. A montage is a technique used in editing that condenses a lot of short shots into one long sequence, usually a kind of time-lapse idea. There isn’t much talking during a montage, aside from the odd scene if plot needs to be added, so the track is usually either one song or a mash-up of songs for the entire duration. For more info: This won’t be edited until at least next blog post, but quite possibly later as well. I may put up a short, unedited clip with a cinematic technique such as an over-the-shoulder shot, pull back zoom or voiceover.

This week in TALONS, we are focusing on the context in our mentorship. The three questions I chose to answer were:

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

I have been consistently learning loads of new, sometimes unexpected information with each lesson. The quality of information and knowledge that I have been receiving is relevant to what I am playing or sight-reading, but I am also learning different keys and scale patterns that are applicable to any kind of music, on any instrument, which is pretty cool. My learning is going at a much more rapid pace than I would have thought, and I really enjoy learning more about my topic.

3. What learning challenges emerged?

a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?

Well, it was definitely a challenge to take violin back up while I am still playing the flute in band. I have been prioritizing between which one to practice with the time I have, but it’s really difficult to keep it even, especially when band occurs 2-3 times a week and I have violin lessons only once a week. I feel a lot of pressure to practice my flute more, but I didn’t want to fall behind in violin, so set myself up a practice plan: because I have more school time to practice my flute, I practice after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights I practice violin (which is nice because on Wednesday I preview for my next lesson, and on Friday I go over what we did on my Thursday lesson). Choir doesn’t give me a lot of time to play my violin so I only record my practice sessions over the weekend, and then I usually post them in soundcloud on Sunday or Monday night. If I get to school earlier than usual in the morning and I don’t have any unfinished homework, I go down to the band room and practice my flute as well.

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

a. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

The main challenge that affects my communication with my mentor is contacting each other outside of a lesson. She comes to Coquitlam and does her lessons here, where most of her clients are, but she lives in Maple Ridge. So we have to find ways of being able to contact each other without actually meeting face to face very often! To get around this, we use emails and call/text each other; however, she only checks her email once or twice daily, and I have 15 texts per month on my phone. Using my parents’ phones isn’t an option because I am not around them for most of the day and both of their phones are used mainly for their work. So far I have been making sure to email my mentor a couple of days in advance to avoid any communication problems, and unless there is a drastic change of plans (in which case we call each other) that takes care of our needs.

The  most common factors that affect my ability to interact effectively are distance, scheduling errors or unexpected circumstances, and (rarely – this used to happen more often as I didn’t know my mentor very well in the beginning) being to shy to ask for something or tell my mentor what I wanted to do. As I got to know my mentor better, over several practice sessions and numerous emails, it was easier for me to open up to her and talk about what I liked about different pieces and what I wanted to learn more about. I wasn’t really sure how things would go since the last time I had seen my mentor for a lesson was the first of October, but she was still very friendly and open with me. We talk about what our favourite kinds of music are and different pieces I might like to learn (for example: I never knew she had the sheet music for Skyrim until she asked me if I wanted to learn it when she heard how much I liked fantasy and dragons); it is a lot easier to interact with my mentor when we have a casual and supportive environment. I find that it helped me a lot to have private lessons because I feel a lot less exposed and vunerable when it’s just me and my mentor. I used to think it would be the opposite way around, until I realized that I had nothing to fear from making a mistake in front of my mentor.