In-depth Post #4

 In-depth post #4

Hello everyone! This is my fourth in-depth progress report for weeks six and seven.

Since my last blog post, I am happy to say that the scheduling challenges with meeting times have been fixed. If you have not read my previous blog posts, I have struggled to meet with my mentor at the specific planned dates due to the busy schedules we both have. When we found a set time for meeting every week (Sundays at 11:00 am) and thought the problem was resolved, my mentor, Tiffany, had to attend debate tournaments every weekend. However, now my mentor and I regularly meet at the same time every week and even set up alternate dates every week in case one of us is not able to meet during the set time. For example, this week, my mentor and I usually meet on Sundays at 11:00 am, but we also set an alternate date to meet on Friday (Pro-D day) if someone could not make it on Sunday. By using this method, we would always have a plan B and would always be able to meet every week.

The meetings are mostly asking questions, playing pieces and asking for feedback. For the past two weeks, I have been focusing on asking more questions and trying to listen attentively. I realized that it was very challenging to show that I am “genuinely interested in what I hear” or show that I am “paying attention to what is being said” online, especially because you cannot show lots of body language or make eye contact as you do in real life (66). I try my best to look into the camera when my mentor is talking and always try to respond to what has been said in some way. 

My meetings are held on Zoom. I have a laptop by my side in the meeting for my mentor to see me and also for me to see my mentor. I also have a phone over the top of me with a camera showing my piano for my mentor to see what I am doing. In my previous meetings, I either only had my laptop beside me which made it hard for my mentor to see what I was doing, or my phone over me, restricting me to only hear my mentor. But finally, I have found the best set-up for my meetings that allows full interaction and connection with my mentor. 🙂


Here is a short video of what my meetings are like: 

The video has been cut down to less than 10 minutes, but our meetings are usually around 50 minutes. I have only included specific parts where I was asking questions, listening to my mentor, and learning from my mentor, because you may not want to listen to every single part of my entire meeting. 


Some questions I asked were about the correct fingerings, strategies to play more smoothly, and posture. I have covered the concept of “more detail,” “explanation” and “clarification” by asking for demonstrations on how to count the music before playing to understand the rhythm (83). It is not included in the video, but I counted through the entire music sheet to check whether I have understood the concept correctly. From this conversation, I was able to obtain more knowledge and learn about different strategies to understand the rhythm of a song better. When I play the violin, I used the strategy of clapping my rhythms before playing instead of counting them out loud, but through this conversation, I was able to learn the different perspectives of reading the music. I will now be able to use both strategies to even deepen my awareness of the music’s rhythm. 

Another example of when I was able to see two different perspectives was when I was asking Tiffany, my mentor, about how my posture should be. I thought that I was supposed to move my wrists around to move from one note to another note. This was completely false; because when you play the piano, you are always supposed to move your arms. You also have to make sure that your wrists aren’t bent down as it creates a bend in the wrist preventing the hand and fingers from moving with required dexterity.

Moreover, my mentor and I went through the music together to go over the fingerings and possibly find alternate modifications to play even more smoothly. This conversation allowed us to “generate possibilities” and for me to either accept or turn down the modification (84). I learned that was able to make a lot of drastic modifications to my fingerings especially by learning to cross over my fingers even when I am pressing on two notes. I was not able to ask any multiple-choice questions. I am still quite unsure of when I am supposed to use the different types of questions such as the “fishing and shooting questions” and the multiple-choice questions (79). Hopefully, I will be able to ask more advanced questions as I continue to advance my learning in piano. 


Now, here are some songs to show you my progress (click on the links!): 


F Major Scale – Practice for Brahms’ Lullaby

D Major Scale – Practice for Canon in D

Canon in D – Short Progress Video


This week, I have been working on the song “Brahms’ Lullaby” by Johannes Brahms. I was initially going to learn a piece called, “Canon in D” however, I realized the song was quite advanced and I felt as if I was not ready enough to move on to a more advanced piece. So far, I was able to complete “Brahms’ Lullaby” and started playing the first page of “Canon in D.” I will continue to work on playing “Canon in D.” I also learned that playing the scales of the song helps prepare you for the actual song and helps you get used to the key signatures.


Thank you for  reading & listening through my in-depth post and see you next time!!