circle of fifths
picture courtesy of Karen Cenci on

The first two weeks of In-Depth have gone by like a flash. I’ve found a mentor for an aspect of my project and started playing around with a sound-editing program. I’ve been having some trouble coming up with a plotline for the movie, but I have some rough ideas of what I want to shoot.

Mentors: Yes! I’ve found a great person to mentor me in violin. She has taught me violin lessons for a couple of weeks before in the summer, but once school started and my schedule changed I couldn’t continue with them. I’ve been able to work something out so that I can meet with her around once a week so we can work on my playing skills. So far, I’ve begun learning part one of the Blue Danube Waltz and Tale as old as Time (from Beauty and the Beast). Growing up, my mentor had a family deeply associated to music, and was exposed to it at an early age. She gets her experience from being a wonderful violinist herself, and loves the oppurtunities she gets to play with other musicians and meet lots of new people through her music. Moving on to facilitation: she lets me figure out new notes and patterns on my own, which seems to work very well. We do an even mix of theory and music, which is also helpful in my flute studies – a transferrable skill. When teaching another student, I would try to use a wide variety of learning tools, from youtube video listening homework, scale and key studies on a piano to demonstrate theory, and playing by ear back and forth to letting the student discover their own scales and  how to alter them. Listening and trying to imitate what the mentor is doingbuilds muscle memory to learn notes and rhythms on the go. I’m working a lot more on my skills in violin than in filming, which means I’ll be focusing mostly on the musical aspect of this project instead of the film one.

However, just because the film will be simpler doesn’t mean the project won’t be as exciting! I’m planning to do some filming at Fan Expo this year (because I am a huge nerd) which will be a) Really fun to see for the first time and b) Really fun to share with everyone! My other ideas for filming were to feature my cat and some adventures in an activity that will remain a surprise into an entertaining montage; On the other hand, I was hoping to film some nature shots that could have really nice slower music to go with it (this is probably where the music would be original – at least, as original as my compositions can get when everything is a remix).

I started tinkering with a sound-editing program I have and I realized that I could layer my violin tracks on top of each other to form duets, and that I could also edit the pitches of some tracks to better suit the needs of a scene. I’m using Sony’s Sound Forge and Acid Music Studio programs to experiment with what I can do. Music always sounds better live than recorded, but I’m a beginner as well so that means most of my practice tracks are pretty…rough. This particular practice session to me forever to record because it was my first time trying to do something well while recording – so naturally the first 7 times I messed up horribly. What you’ll be hearing is my 8th attempt, 16th attempt (only slightly better), and then a short practice of a couple bars from the song Blue Danube Waltz (part 0ne of two on violin). I feel slightly better because the scale was in third position and I basically played it on the spot without having ever seen it on sheet music. That was one of the things my mentor taught me today, actually: how to play a major scale starting from anywhere on the fingerboard. But it still is pretty screechy so be warned. You can link to it on SoundCloud:

I’ll probably be uploading the best of a practice session on there every week, so I’ll include more links in my next posts. Thanks for reading and I’ll update in a couple weeks!

Educational Notes:

  • See the last blog post for what a “fingerboard” is on a violin.
  • Third position, unlike ballet, refers to placing your first finger where normally your third finger would go on a finger board. When playing violin fingerings, your thumb is not considered a finger so your first finger is the index finger and third finger is your ring finger.
  • For more about major scales, go to