Another two weeks into our In-Depth project, and time is flying by. The links from the last little while on soundcloud are in a playlist here: https://soundcloud.com/125-giannopouness/sets. I’ve been learning the E minor scale, and also that you can get blisters if you play violin for an extended period of time. E minor has the same key signature as G major, which you may remember from the Circle of Fifths  image in an earlier post. My favourite kind of minor is the harmonic minor which has a kind of “Egyptian” style sound, as my mentor puts it. I’ve also been memorizing “Tale as Old as Time”, because I may be performing it (with my mentor on the piano part) at a informal recital in sometime near April. If it goes through it’ll be my first time performing on the Violin for an audience, which is a bit scary. The last time I performed on an instrument I was still beginning to learn was in sixth grade!Speaking of mentors, the questions for this week are:

1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

The most difficult challenge actually sprung up yesterday. So far, I’ve been playing mostly on my own because unlike in an orchestra or band, there is no conductor. However, now that I am playing with my mentor for one song, I am having a lot of difficulty keeping a constant rhythm that matches up with my mentor. I’m used to letting either the conductor or my own preference determining the length of a note, but when you’re playing without a conductor, the counting is essentially the only thing keeping two performers together. My mentor and I both came up with the same solution to this: Play with a metronome (a device that ticks for the measure of one quarter note) to get a feel for the counting. Once I am confident, I’ll switch the metronome to double speed or even half speed and see how well I stay in time with less support. Although playing in a band teaches you how to manage your balance and blend in accordance to other instruments, there is something to be said for the independence you gain from learning to play all alone.

2. What is working well? Why?

Something that’s working out really well is the timing of our lessons. I go once a week, but I quickly realized that having one static time to be there wasn’t going to work after being late twice and early once. Instead of one specific time, I asked my mentor if my lesson could start within a fifteen minute range, giving me a lot less stress and lessons that always started on time, though not necessarily all at the same times. This has also made it easier for my family, because they have more flexibility in their schedules.

3. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

What I need to improve on doesn’t have a lot to do with my mentor. As I said in earlier blog posts, I used to have trouble finding time to practice on my violin and flute. Well, in the past two weeks, I’ve realized it isn’t just having to practice my flute that was affecting me. My family always complains that they don’t see me enough, and I’ve felt that often, I don’t see myself enough. What I mean by that is, since I spend much of my time around other people pursuing common objectives, I don’t get much time to be alone and do my own thing. Being able to sit by myself in a quiet area of the house, or listen to the washing machine talk to the dishwasher in our house – it makes me feel calmed, energized and generally leaves me feeling better.

Me, doing my own thing - if I was a cat, that is. A cropped version of user "dryfhout" greeting card at zazzle.ca
Me, doing my own thing – if I was a cat, that is.
A cropped version of user “dryfhout” greeting card at zazzle.ca

I’ve been doing so much talking, planning, discussing, clearing up, and checking for problems with groups of people lately in Social Studies, Trip Planning, Me to We and my social life lately that when it comes time to go home, I’m exhausted just from having to be “on” when around other people.

It’s been said to me before that I take on too much when I get involved in projects, and I brushed it off as silly the first time someone told me that. But now that I don’t have as much time to myself anymore, it’s been affecting my in-depth project.

I usually play my violin when I’m alone, or screen write random snippets, or doodle or sketch whenever I have spare time. I’m cutting into my spare time, my ideas and creativity time, by bringing home more work than I can handle, especially when it’s to help other people out. One of my IEP goals was to get better sleep this year, but when I’m organizing three different projects in the same week it doesn’t work well. Long story short, because of all this I haven’t been able to film, screenwrite or compose anywhere near as much as I wanted to in the last month. Maybe it’s just a busy time for me; but I think it’s time to draw the line. I can’t say yes to everything my friends want me to do and it is a good idea to let other people have a chance to take leadership of a project. By taking some time away from everyone else and their work I am better respecting and taking care myself – and in accordance, better facilitating my own learning by making sure I am healthy, rested and ready to do quality work.

So I’ve planned to dedicate 15 minutes of time before I go to bed each day to unwind a bit by thinking about my in-depth project and where it could take me. My screenwriting process is a lot like dreaming: I visualize what is happening, and from what viewpoints, and imagine all of the endless possibilities that shot could lead to. Some days I might spend that time playing random notes on the violin, or transcribing my favourite songs, or humming out a few bars of melody that I haven’t heard in a song before. Escaping to the basement or my room also often lowers the amount of times I get disturbed from an explorational dive into the editing programs.

 

On a different note, I’ve decided to make a montage of a typical school day instead of my earlier idea. It’s something that I have never done before, while I’ve helped edit a baking montage once already. I think it’ll open up more opportunities to experiment with shot levels, too so that’ll be really fun! When I get free time to do it, that is. Which should occur on a weekend in spring break if my plan is approved by the ultimate authority of my mother.

For more information about minor keys: http://idiotsguides.com/static/quickguides/musicperformingarts/music-theory-101-natural-harmonic-and-melodic-scales.html Note: The melodic scale I use in the above playlist brings the 6th and 7th notes up one semitone ascending the scale, but brings them back to the natural position descending. I’ve also tried keeping them the same going up and down as mentioned in the link, but I prefer the flow that comes with moving melodic minor.