Sixth In-Depth Blog Post
This will be my final In-depth blog post dealing with the How To Have A Beautiful Mind book. I will also be summarizing my more recent learning and going over my plans for my final presentation. Enjoy!
Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from learning more new things for my in-depth, and rather just practicing my singing and slowly expanding my musical horizons. I have set up a YouTube channel where I will hopefully start posting covers in the future, long after the project’s completion, if I’ve gathered enough confidence from my project. My mentor still wants me to practice critical listening in a variety of genres, so I have been trying my best to do some of that each week as well. I’m looking for songs with long phrases so I can improve my phrasing, and I’m doing a lot of thinking about my final project, including considering the purchase of recording equipment and the consideration of songs for my final setlist. I have written a few new songs, where I can hopefully apply the critique my mentor gave me on my first fully-polished song (in terms of key and structure) in the near future. I am continuing to practice with the warm-ups and exercises I described in my last post, and they’ve helped tremendously with slowly building the more tedious skills in my arsenal. I plan to take this skill-building and knowledge and kick it into gear this month and the next so I can put together my final project, but first, my final Beautiful Mind tasks.
The first chapter I’ll be tackling today is Chapter 9, concepts. My task is to discuss some concepts I have gone over with my mentor, and I’m pretty glad that this is a task because I love working with concepts and have used that idea to structure my project. This chapter goes over the different types of concepts and also practical ideas, as concepts are described as the ‘parents’ of them. A recent concept I have learned about is consuming music for educational purposes. Practical ideas I consider under this umbrella are the practice of active listening, diversifying my music taste, seeking out artists I can learn from in an area where I’m still learning, etc. Another concept I focused on with my mentor recently is the concept of what she calls the production of the voice, or technical skills relating to air support. It was one of the first things we talked about together, but we returned to the subject with our recent meetings about repertoire (repertoire means pieces an artist/actor can sing/play/perform), and this concept includes a lot of practical skills, including phrasing (knowing when to breathe in a piece), proper breath technique (yes, you can breathe incorrectly), projecting your voice, properly executing volume, dynamics and long notes, et cetera.
Next is Chapter 10, alternatives. My task is to discuss alternatives my mentor has offered me and alternatives another mentor may have potentially offered me. In recent memory, my mentor has provided me with some excellent alternatives to my ideas for my final project. She told me about some very unique and creative project ideas she had in high school, including puppet show history projects and a concert for another. She also says that in her perspective, “the more engaging, the better the project”, so I should add in some interactive components. and that my presentation should also be a little bit more humorous to keep the audience engaged, and I agree. My original plan was a short concert demonstrating my learning, but she suggested that I do a concert and lesson instead. My original concert seemed to have a more karaoke vibe, but she suggested I make it seem more like I’m busking (see below for more details on all of this). She also said a good alternative to a live audience is an audience full of plushies, so I didn’t have to just talk at a camera for 5 minutes or try to do something live last minute. Some of these, like the lesson, are ‘action’ alternatives, asking what else we can do in a situation, while others are ‘perspective’ alternatives, like the humour or interactive activity notes. Another mentor, maybe one who’s more logical than creative, may have suggested a different route based on their high school or other experience, perhaps deciding individual song covers or some written commentary would be more effective. They could have come up with alternate solutions to my “it’s hard to teach a class to no visible audience” dilemma, like a webinar, or the like.
Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, I’m going to go over my plans for my final presentation/learning centre.
As mentioned earlier, my mentor helped me form more concrete and engaging ideas for my project. It will be in two parts: An online concert, uploaded to YouTube and linked to my blog post, and a mini singing lesson, also in video form. The online concert will be a demonstration of my personal improvement, featuring a repertoire designed to challenge me to go out of my comfort zone in some areas while still being entertaining and engaging for my audience. Each song will demonstrate a particular technical skill or skills I worked on over the course of my project. I will probably have some interactive audience games sprinkled in and my mentor suggested I make it funnier by pretending I’m busking (that’s the word for performing in the street to collect money) and have my parents put money in a hat. I’m a bit more fond of the karaoke aesthetic, but I’ll figure it out. The runtime of this concert seems a lot longer than I think I’ll have time for, so I may have a shortened version to watch during the in-depth night and an extended version that I’ll live stream a day in advance. This portion will demonstrate how I’ve improved my critical ear and performance skills. I also plan on making a small, perhaps 5-minute video where I teach the audience a few tips and tricks to quickly improve their voice, featuring my plushies as my demonstration students, just demonstrating different aspects of technique and performance the audience may want to know about. This video will summarize more of my technical vocal skill learning, and impart some of my knowledge to my classmates, which will make things much more interactive. I will also provide some notes and commentary in my post to tie it all together.
I hope you enjoyed reading my sixth in-depth blog post. To summarize its content, in case a tl;dr is needed, I have been slowly skill-building over the course of the past four weeks and setting up for my final project and beyond, I have learned about concepts and alternatives from the How To Have A Beautiful Mind book, and I have a pretty extravagant final presentation planned. See you all soon!