Hello everyone and welcome to my grade 10 In-Depth Night presentation.
This year I decided to pursue learning the guitar for my In-Depth Project. I am very new to playing the guitar, and when I started the project I had to begin with the basics. I learned chords, short riffs, and just played around on the guitar.
To share my progress over the last few months, I decided to learn to play Bohemian Rhapsody on the guitar. I chose this song as it was challenging, to the point where I needed a lot of practice, but it was doable. The video below shows my attempt at playing the song. I only learned to play the beginning of the song for now, and the ending is slightly different, but I hope to learn the rest in the future. (Note: near the end of the video, there was a loud sound in the background so I redid one small part of the song, thus why there is a cut to a different clip).
Before you watch/listen to the video, I just want to thank my mentor Ewan (Grade 10 classmate) for guiding me through my journey of learning the guitar. If you wanna hear really good guitar, check out my mentor Ewan’s blog post where he learned about songwriting on the guitar.
The recording below is far from perfect, with many mistakes, but I am still happy with what I accomplished. After watching the recording back, I realize I never smile while playing the guitar… that must be my concentration face. Anyway, without further delay, here is me playing part of Bohemian Rhapsody on the guitar.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave comments, concerns, or questions which I will be answering.
For this interview, I decided to speak to my dad who is a director of marketing. I decide to interview him, as I have always considered going into the field of business, and perhaps I could learn more about the field by asking him some questions.
The first piece of advice I received from him was to pick a job you are interested in. I figured this out when asking him why he decided to go into business. He said because he was always interested in economics and that he liked that in his field he felt like he was making an impact on the company. He also told me that when thinking of a job you want to do, think of a field rather than having your mind set on a specific job.
Another piece of advice was about University and high school. He recommended it is good to take a class about economics in high school to learn how the economy works and such. He also said to learn about people’s values, wants, and needs, as these are important topics in marketing. Additionally, he said in University, the main purpose is to get a higher level of thinking, rather than to prepare you for a specific job.
Finally, he gave me insight into how having a job in marketing is like. Skills you need to have are you need to be willing to lead, willing to expand and grow skills, and most of all be flexible. This is because in marketing there are many changing ideas in the world and in companies, so you need to be able to adapt. He also said it is not the most secure job, as it a very competitive field, but on the other hand it is exciting, you can make an impact on the company, and you can work with many people. Therefore, if you like these things, which I do, going into a job in marketing might be something for you.
Overall, I learned a lot through the interview. It is important you enjoy your job, and that when deciding what you want to do, decide on a field rather than having your mind set on a specific job. Through this experience, I am still interested in going into a job in the business field.
“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young
My in-depth journey has been very related to this quote. Practicing the guitar can be very tedious and frustrating. In my experience, getting better at chords, specifically switching between them quickly, has been very difficult. Sometimes it does not sound right and I cannot play them quickly enough to play many songs. However, I look at my improvement every time I practice and I realize I am getting better.
With in-depth quickly coming to an end, and this being my last blog post before the final in-depth night post, here is an update of my progress from the past weeks. Recently, I have still been practicing my chords, until I get better and better at them. However, until I am quick enough at switching between them so I am able to put them into songs, it is not the most enjoyable to practice. To keep more engaged, I have also been learning some songs without chords, such as “7 Nation Army” by The White Stripes, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars. Learning these simple songs without chords along with practicing my chords, has been keeping me motivated to keep practicing.
Now, to move on to Edward De Bono’s, “How To Have A Beautiful Mind.” I have not yet had a meeting with my mentor since the last post, so I will use examples from our previous meetings to discuss chapters 9 and 10. In Chapter 9, De Bono discusses the importance of concepts. Concepts are very important in terms of thinking. “If you want to be able to have a beautiful mind you need to be able to handle concepts” (107). Concepts are essentially the beginning of practical ideas and are where these ideas come from. They allow us to come up with new ideas which may or may not be logical. When listening to someone you should be trying to pick out the concept which could be thought of as “the underlying essence of what is being said” (110). It is also good to clarify what the concept is. An example of a concept that I picked out in a previous meeting with my mentor Ewan, was when he was teaching me how to get better at switching between chords. I have talked about the method he told me to use to get better in a previous blog post, but it was basically to put my fingers in the right places and then lift them to build up muscle memory. The concept of what he was teaching me was how to get better at switching between chords. This concept was not too specific or too broad, which is very important. Furthermore, he then gave me an idea that bridged off to the concept and alternatives to it as well.
Alternatives are also very important when trying to have a beautiful mind. In chapter 10, Edward De Bono discusses alternatives’ importance and says, “being unwilling to look for alternatives indicates a very rigid mind that does not seek a better view of the world or a better way of doing things” (122). Additionally, “progress, energy, change, improvement, and simplification” all an outcome of finding alternatives (122). Alternatives are all about finding different ways to complete tasks or to fulfill ideas, and even if these alternatives are not better than the other options, it is always good to have other options just in case. Once again related to when Ewan was teaching me about ways to switch between chords quicker, he also gave me alternatives rather than just one solution. As I mentioned earlier, he gave me a technique that built up muscle memory, but he gave me a different way to do the same. That was simply to just practice. Play one chord over and over again and play another chord over and over again. This isn’t the technique I used, but it was good to have it to use in case the other technique did not work. In conclusion, alternatives and concepts are key factors to having a beautiful mind.
Finally, to discuss what I am doing to present my learning. My idea is not 100% flushed out yet, but I am going to start working it this week or next week. Basically, on my blog, I will have a written piece that discusses challenges and my learning throughout the year. Then I would have a video or audio recording of me playing a song I learned on the guitar. Another option is to have it as sort of a timeline of my learning progress. I would have recordings posted of my previous practices which build up to me playing a song on the guitar at the end of in-depth. However, I am not sure if am going to do this, as this is sort of what all my blog posts have been doing. Either way, people will have the opportunity to post questions and comments on my blog to make it more interactive.
These are some recordings of me practicing songs and chords.
“There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory.”
This couldn’t be truer for the phase of learning the guitar that I am in right now. Currently, practice is my number one focus. Learning to switch between chords faster is a very time-consuming practice that is necessary to be able to play songs. To be honest, this process is not the most enjoyable. I want to be able to play songs on the guitar, but until I am able to switch between chords faster, I cannot really do this. However, when practice, I remember that once I get better, I will be able to play more songs which keeps me motivated.
I have had one brief meeting with my mentor Ewan since the last post. Here we mainly talked about techniques to get better and faster at playing and switching between chords. In this meeting, I tried to connect to Edward de Bono’s How To Have A Beautiful Mind. In this chapter, de Bono discussed the six hats. These hats are:
The white hat, which means information.
The red hat, which includes emotions, feelings, and intuition.
The black hat, which includes critical thinking and judging information.
The yellow hat, which looks for values, benefits, and why something should work.
The green hat, which is productive by asking for ideas, alternatives, possibilities, and designs.
The blue hat, which helps organize other hats.
The six hats were devised as “a method that will help you enhance your conversation and so develop a beautiful mind” . A reason for the hats is to have all members of the conversation looking in the same direction at a given time. It is important that everyone is wearing the same hat at the same time. In my opinion, the main benefit of the hats is that “the hats provide a quick method of switching thinking” and “the hats provide a means to request a particular type of thinking” .
In my meeting with Ewan, we used these hats during our conversation. In the beginning, I told Ewan that I was struggling with getting faster at switching between chords and that it was quite frustrating. This is the red hat because I have emotions. I then asked if Ewan had any tips for improving in this area. This is the green hat as I am asking for Ewan’s ideas and possible alternatives for the ways I am practicing. Next, he responded by giving me a good way to practice switching between chords and getting the chords cleaner. He told me to have my fingers in the right position for the chord, lift my finger, and then place it back down again, followed by playing the chord to see if it still sounds right. This works because my fingers would get used to going to the right places to play different chords, and they would practice moving around. This could have been either the white hat or the yellow hat, or possibly both. It could be the white hat because he was giving me information, but it could be the yellow hat because Ewan was giving me something that would benefit me and explaining why it would work. He also told me “it took me months to get good at switching between some chords”. Here we were using the red hat, as it made me feel better about myself. Throughout our entire conversation, we were using the blue hat, which was ordering our hats in a sequence for our conversation to move smoothly. “The blue hat puts together the outcome”, which it did at the end of the meeting between Ewan and I .
Overall, the past two weeks have just been practice practice practice, and the next weeks will continue likely continue to be like this. However, I look forward to when I can play lots of songs and am able to switch between chords quicker.
This is a recording of me practicing the chords the way Ewan told me to in our meeting.
“There is nothing so stable as change” – Bob Dylan.
Right now I am trying to change a lot when it comes to playing the guitar. I am trying to change how often I practice. I am trying to change the skill by improving it. I am trying to change how I listen and learn from my mentor Ewan. I am doing this all because I am really enjoying playing the guitar and hearing myself play. I think I have improved a lot since my last post. I mainly have been practicing switching between chords. The chords that I have mainly been practicing are the A minor, C, G, and D. I have been using these chords because they are used in the song “knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, which I am currently learning. Last week, Mr. Salisbury told me that playing the guitar gets a lot more fun and engaging when you start learning songs, and after starting to try that, I completely agree. Plating the guitar has been great and I am practicing almost every day now. I have also met with my mentor, Ewan, twice since the last post. He has been doing a great job teaching me and answering my questions.
HOW TO HAVE A BEAUTIFUL MIND
Listening is a very important part of being able to have a good relationship with someone. As De Bono says, “you cannot have a beautiful mind if you do not know how to listen”, which I completely agree with . If you are not able to listen, then how are you able to learn effectively. In my meeting with my mentor, Ewan, I was given some sheet music for the song “knockin’ on heaven’s door”, which I am currently learning. I am still new to learning guitar and haven’t really used sheet music before. When my mentor was explaining to me what the sheet of music meant, I asked “what does the 2 dots at the end of the line mean?”. My mentor told me that it meant to repeat the line. This question helped me gather new information and learn further about the topic. In my meeting with Ewan, I also learned slightly about different styles of music on the same song. The teacher in the room, Mr. Salisbury, heard Ewan teaching me “knockin’ on heaven’s door” and asked us if we were more of Bob Dylan guys or “Guns n’ Roses” guys, as he is also an experienced guitar player. Ewan said, “I am actually a bit more of an Eric Clapton guy”, and I didn’t really know what all of these names meant, as I only knew these were artists/bands. Although I did know that I like Guns n’ Roses. I then learned that these different artists/bands all played the same song, but slightly different based on their styles of playing the guitar. So, we both had different views/values that we discussed. Ewan’s opinion also slightly influenced mine, as after this discussion I listened to different variations of “knockin’ on heaven’s door” and I did like Eric Clapton, but I think I’m a bit more of a Bob Dylan guy now.
Asking questions is also very important when it comes to generating interaction. According to De Bono, questions “show attention and interest [and] they allow for the further exploration of certain points”. De bono also discussed shooting and fishing questions. Shooting questions are questions that are looking for yes or no answers while fishing questions are very open-ended. In my meeting with my mentor, power chords were brought up when talking about Guns n’ Roses version of “knockin’ on heaven’s door”. I didn’t know what power chords were, so I asked, “what are power chords?”. I asked this question because I was curious, I had heard of them before, and they sounded cool. I was taught that power chords are used to intentionally add distortion or overdrive effect and are a key element to styles of rock music. They sound best on electric guitars. Ewan then taught me a small intro to power chords and quickly how to play TNT with power chords, although I cannot do this quite yet. Overall, asking questions has been very useful for me to be more engaged in learning the guitar.
Overall, I am very happy with where playing the guitar is taking me and I will continue practicing. My main focus will be to play the chords much cleaner and get much faster at switching between them. Below is some audio of me practicing playing the guitar. The first is me practicing “knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, and the second is me practicing some power chords.
Over the past 2 weeks, I have been continuing to make progress with learning the guitar. I am still very engaged in learning the guitar and am excited to keep progressing. Since the last post, I have only learned 1 new chord. This chord is the A Minor. Now I know 4 chords (A Minor, C, D, and G). Although, I have not learned that many new chords since the last post, I have mainly been practicing switching between these chords quickly. I still have a lot more practice to do, but I am slowly making progress.
There was recently a new quarter change at school, which led to a few changes with learning the guitar. Before the quarter change, my mentor Ewan and I met twice a week at lunch, as we had all our classes together. However, now we only have one class together, so we are now meeting once a week at lunch. Ewan has been doing a great job mentoring me. As mentioned above, he has taught me a few chords, which are some of the most important as they are used the most. He also gave me a chord sheet where I can learn more chords when we are not meeting. The last meeting Ewan and I had, we went over switching between chords and making sure I am not muting other strings when I am playing them. Ewan told me a technique to get the finger placements of each chord into my brain. I would put my fingers on the correct placements for the chord and then lift one of the fingers and put it back down again. Then I would play this chord. I would do this again and again with different fingers and with different chords. This reinforces good habit for the finger placement and helps me practice moving my fingers quicker. Overall, Ewan has been a great mentor.
When talking about learning the guitar with my mentor, or with someone else that has less knowledge of the topic, I have been practicing how to be interesting and how to respond. Doing this is different between different people I am talking to. When talking to my mentor, we are obviously both passionate about playing the guitar. We can make connections about this which generates interest. Also, Ewan and I have other interests that are similar, and other topics that we can connect with each other with. Sometimes we talk about school or hockey, as those are both topics that we can build a conversation with each other. Although I think I am able to have interesting conversations with Ewan, and I still need to work on replying with more “what if” statements, or “that is interesting”. Additionally, I am talking a lot with people who have less knowledge of my topic. This is mostly my family, but also my peers. This is a rewarding experience for me because it makes me feel knowledgeable and I get to share my experience.
When Ewan and I are having a conversation during our meetings, we subtly use certain objectives in conversations. These objectives are to reach an agreement, to agree on the points of difference, and to have an interesting time together. I tend to agree with most things that Ewan says, as he does know more. We also agree on the points of difference. For example, when Ewan was teaching me about ways to build good habits with finger placement on chords and switching between them. This was mentioned in the 2nd paragraph. Anyway, Ewan told me that he wished he would have done this when learning the guitar, so our difference was that we learned different ways to build good habits. Finally, Ewan and I do have interesting conversations and have enjoyable meetings. We share many similar passions and interests, which helps the meetings be more engaging.
Overall, I am happy with the progress I have been making, and I will continue to practice the guitar. Ewan has been a great mentor, and we will continue to have interesting conversations and I will continue practicing learning to reply. Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you Ewan for being my mentor.
Over the past few weeks, I have jumpstarted my journey of learning the guitar. I have practiced quite often (around 5 times a week for roughly half an hour) and I’ve really enjoyed myself. John Frusciante said, “As long as you’re excited about what you’re playing, and as long as it comes from your heart, it’s going to be great“. This has been true for me. Although I am not currently playing original music, just strutting new chords and playing small parts from songs, it has been great. When I hear a recording of what I have just played, I realize the many mistakes and places to improve, but when I am playing the guitar, it sounds great in my ears because I know that I did that myself and have learned something. This is an exciting experience for me.
Over the past few weeks, I have also managed to meet, learn, and discuss with my mentor Ewan. As my mentor is one of my fellow classmates, we have been meeting up together in class twice a week at school and practicing at lunch. This has really helped us interact more with each other and has helped me learn more from him. However, with more interactions comes times where you agree, disagree, and differ. I have been agreeing with my mentor a lot. Ewan is much more experienced than me, thus why he is my mentor, so agreeing with what he teaches me is logical. However, when I agree, I do try to ask questions to try to further expand my understanding. For example, when Ewan was teaching me some of the basic chords. When doing this he also told me that these were also some of the most important chords and that they are important to practice. I agreed with him but wondered why, so I asked him why they were some of the most important chords to learn. He told me that it was because they are very popular and used in many songs, and I then agreed with him.
There are also times where my mentor and I disagree. In these cases, I disagree respectfully and curiously to try to get his side of the story. For example, Ewan said it was important to start using my pinky finger to reach frets of the guitar that are further away. I disagreed because I believed it was easier to simply move my ring finger, as I found using my weak pinky finger to push down on the string very challenging. Ewan agreed that right now for simpler music it is easier to use my ring finger, but in the future when playing more difficult songs where you must reach even further with your finger, it is a big advantage to be able to use your pinky finger here, thus why it is good to start early with using your pinky finger. I then agreed with him, but if I wouldn’t have disagreed in the first place it is likely I would have not learned this.
Finally, there have been times where my mentor and I have different opinions. When we have different opinions, we try to figure out what the difference is based on reconcile. For example, when playing the guitar, my thumb on the hand that is pressing down on the different strings/frets always slips up behind the neck of the guitar. It is bad to do this because you then have less reach over the guitar with your other fingers. I found it very difficult to keep my thumb underneath the neck of the guitar as it should be. Ewan and I had different opinions on the difficulty of keeping your thumb underneath the neck, but we reconcile that it was just a matter of practice before I got more used to keeping my thumb underneath the neck. However, we did note that this is something I will need to keep an eye on, or else it will become too much of a habit.
Overall, I am very happy with my progress with learning the guitar, and I am really enjoying it. Ewan has been a great mentor and he has been really easy to learn from and connect with. Below is a small recording of me practicing a bit to show some of my progress. It is me playing small parts of some songs (can you guess which ones), and me practicing some basic chords. There is still a lot to improve on, but I will keep practicing to become a better guitar player.
Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you Ewan for being a great mentor!
My name is Ben Kaufmann and this year I have chosen to learn how to play the acoustic guitar for my in-depth project. Throughout the course of the year, I hope to have learned how to properly read music, how to play some chords and notes, how to play some songs that I enjoy, how to experiment with the guitar and put together some of my own sounds and to have an understanding of the guitar and how to play it. The end goal is to have a good understanding of these concepts and to stay passionate about this and continue to play guitar in the future.
I really enjoy music, so I have always wanted to learn to play an instrument. I thought this year would be a good time to try this out. I have chosen to learn to play the guitar because of multiple reasons. Firstly, the guitar is an instrument that I really enjoy the sound of, and often when listening to songs I pick out the guitar sound and focus on that. I also have tried out the guitar before. I have picked it up a few times and just played around with it, which I enjoyed. Lastly, it is a convenient instrument for me to learn as I already have a guitar in my household.
How are you going to learn this skill?
I am going to learn how to play the guitar with lots of practice, help from people around me, and with objectives/goals to work towards. When learning the guitar, I will try to practice multiple times a week, or even every day for a little bit. This will help me develop my skills over time. I will also have online meetings with my mentor, Ewan, who is a classmate who has play guitar for many years. I will hopefully learn a lot from him. Finally, I will learn how to play the guitar with goals that I will try my best to accomplish. These goals are the following:
To learn how to read music
To learn how to play basic chords and notes
To learn at least five songs to play on the guitar throughout the year.
To experiment a lot with playing the guitar.
To be proud of what I accomplished in the year.
Over time, I may add more goals to this list as I accomplish them, but those are the main ones I have for now. Using the objectives and the other steps above, I will learn how to play the guitar.
What can others do to help you?
I will get the most help for learning the guitar from my mentor. My mentor is a classmate, Ewan, who has played the guitar for many years. He is relatively experienced when it comes to playing the guitar and I am hoping I will learn a lot from him. I can also receive some help from my sister, who played the guitar for multiple years. Additionally, my classmates, teachers, and family can help me learn the guitar by supporting me and giving me the motivation to keep practicing.
So far, I have not done too much when it comes to playing the guitar. Over winter break I practiced a little bit. I played around with the guitar a little bit and learn to play the riff of smoke on the water and another one bites the dust. It is not much, but a good start for me to go on and learn the guitar.
I kept up with my homework (no assignments were handed in late).
I like having only 2 courses, as I didn’t have too many different courses/assignments I had to do at the same time.
It was good to see my classmates again.
I learned much better this quarter than when we had online school. Learning online was very difficult for me.
I became more confident with my speaking ability in presentations and such.
2. During Quarter 1, what did you find challenging or disappointing or stressful? Explain.
I found not procrastinating challenging. Although I got my work done on time, it was usually last minute and not done efficiently because I procrastinated.
It was a bit stressful and challenging to figure out the alterations due to COVID-19.
Also, balancing school work and having enough time for myself, and keeping up my mental-health was challenging, but I think I figured it out.
3. Think of ONE thing you really want to improve in Quarter 2 (and Q 3&4).
In quarter 2, I really want to improve on my time management and not procrastinating. Last quarter I had English and Spanish, which was not too difficult, but this quarter I have science and math, which is a lot more difficult. I am going to need to stay on top of my homework, so I don’t get overwhelmed. To do so I need to make sure I manage my time well.
4. What are two specific actions that you can start doing every day to get closer to your goal? How long will you spend on this action each day? What part of the day?
a. I am going to do my work as soon as I get it, rather than waiting for the last minute. I don’t want to have to do all my homework during the last few days, so I am going to work on things right away. I will do it after school, for a bit each day, rather than a lot on a weekend.
b. I will create a checklist to make sure I know all the work I have, so I don’t fall behind on anything. As soon as I get the work, I will write it down and then work on it after school.
5. If you experience challenges, what might you do to work through them?
If I experience challenges, I will take a break. I have discovered this works very well for me. When I am very inefficient and I am not getting my work done, I will take a small break, and then get back to work after.