In-depth Post #1

Welcome to the start of the journey of my chosen in-depth topic, piano. 


Why did I choose this field of interest as my in-depth project?When Should You Practice Playing the Piano? | Superprof

I believe that the piano is a beautiful classic instrument and I dearly admired people that are able to play the piano. I have a keyboard that I was going to learn to play from several years ago, however, I was never able to fully commit as I did not have a teacher; learning a whole instrument by myself required so much time and responsibility. But with this amazing in-depth project opportunity part of the TALONS program allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone to learn a new skill with an experienced mentor, Tiffany Su. I knew immediately that I wanted to learn some type of instrument and after some time to think, I decided to pursue piano. I think that learning piano will help soothe and relieve stress at home during the strange time of COVID-19. I am highly excited and cannot wait to see where this learning journey will lead me!


What will I achieve?

I will be able to read, play, and perform music with piano and music theory after learning and meeting with my mentor every 1-2 weeks for 1.5 hours and practicing daily for thirty minutes by May 25th, 2021. The objective is being able to read any sort of music I wish to play at a fast pace after enough practice. I truly wish to become a developed piano player within a span of five months. I will perform music at an intermediate level, playing any sort of songs that I wish to play within my limits. I aspire to reach a deeper understanding of the composition behind the scenes of what makes the songs “musical” by learning about music theory. 

Eventually, this will result in drastic improvement and understanding in my other musical extracurriculars such as choir. I hope to also be able to sing and play the piano once I have obtained all the skills needed because I have always watched the people play the piano for the choir. After talking to my mentor over the phone, I learned that she has over ten years of experience in piano and over five years in voice, so she is able to teach me some basic concepts of the relations of chords and your voice. 

I picture myself obtaining more confidence and diligence with a deeper knowledge of music and constantly practicing as piano requires hours of hard work and focus. Even if I do not reach where I want to be by the end of in-depth, with the fundamental knowledge that I obtain from my mentor and the project, I hope to continue to cultivate my piano skills even after the in-depth project.


What skills will I obtain? 

Some skills that I will learn are concentration, time management skills and perseverance. I will develop my focus because when I am playing the piano, I must focus on the rhythm, pitch, tempo, note duration and many other things. I will be able to improve my concentration while doing something that I truly enjoy.   

I aim to strengthen my perseverance. Learning new songs on the piano and practicing regularly takes time and effort. Until I can play a song fluently by heart, I will probably spend several weeks practicing it. Because I look forward to playing the song, I will stay motivated, learn to be more patient, resulting in increasing my perseverance. This skill will help me outside of just playing the piano but when I face difficult tasks in school or at home.   

Time-management will also be a large factor that I will improve in, although it might be one of the obstacles. The busy schedule might become a challenge, but I will learn to complete my tasks and duties in advance by prioritizing and organizing them in order to get used to practicing regularly.


What will I need help with? 

I think managing my time might be the hardest part of my in-depth project. Because my academics are starting to become more important and schools are faster paced, I will have less time for my in-depth compared to last year. But I think because my taekwondo, cadets, and orchestra are all on pause due to COVID-19, I will have the time that I would have spent on my other extra-curricular. I will have to also learn to manage my time effectively. Managing my time effectively can be achieved by setting priorities and organizing tasks to be completed. I could even ask my mentor how to manage time properly as she has also gone through the same learning process; maybe she has learned a lot of things and has some suitable advice for me.   

Even though playing the piano can feel like a lot of work and effort at times. Overall, I think it will relieve a lot of stress and become a relaxing experience with the soothing touch of music. This can affect my physical well-being positively, improving my mindset and throwing my stress away.   


How will I accomplish this?

I will have weekly meetings online with my mentor and will start learning to play the piano starting from basic scales to advanced songs. So far, my mentor has provided me with some music sheets to practice reading notes on the bass clef. I will also buy some books to learn from or look for some materials online to print and ask my mentor for more materials. 

Some other ways I can obtain my learning is from online tutorials and courses. When my mentor is not available right away, I can quickly use the internet to teach myself confusing concepts, watching online videos for demonstrations or signing up for online courses for further help and resources. I can listen to other people and compare for any differences and changes I can make towards my performance.

Moreover, I know that other students such as Mike, are also pursuing the same area of interest for the in-depth project. I will be able to talk to him about any questions or teach each other some things we learned. I can also talk to Grace Zhang or MJ as they are already very talented piano players.   


Timeline of tasks to be completed to achieve the goals:

Plan: An outline of methods, activities, strategies, people and resources you can use to meet your challenge   Timetable: The specific dates or times when you will accomplish the steps in your plan  
Contact mentor to complete criminal record checks    January 7th, 2021  
Watch some videos on my own to get a sense of what I will be able to achieve by the end of in-depth   January 9th, 2021  
Hand in criminal record checks  January 12th, 2021
Meet with Mentor on Zoom or Skype

Meet regularly (Every week)

January 13th, 2021  
Find people to provide additional help (People in class to ask questions)   January 16th, 2021    


Buy some piano books (Tom Lee or Long & McQuade)    February 12th, 2021  
Learn about some basic piano music theory while learning basic piano skills  

Should be able to play one song at this point

February 19th, 2021  
Start to research songs to play for final in-depth presentation (Practice! Practice! Practice)   March 26th, 2020  
Practice for at least 30 minutes   Daily or once every two days  


What is the progress so far?

My mentor has completed the criminal record checks on January 7th, 2021 and I will be handing them in as soon as I receive them. We also talked over the phone talking about when to meet every week and decided on the weekends, alternating between Saturday and Sunday. She provided me with some scale reading and note reading practices. I have not been able to do too much yet, as she just completed her criminal record checks but I am sure that my process will be much more fast-paced later. My mentor and I are very excited to see how much I will be able to accomplish!


Until next time,

Grace Lee

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