In-Depth – Blog Post #6

Progress Report

Hello! Over the course of the spring break and time between my last blog post, I made a lot of progress on my In-Depth. I had a meeting with my mentor over spring break since we weren’t available to have one the weekend getting back to school. I’d say the skill I worked on the most over the break was song-playing. I had a lot of free time during the last week of the break and spent around thirty minutes every day playing around on the bass. There were a few little ways that I changed how I played as I practiced. For one, I changed the way I plucked the strings. Originally, I had been playing the strings with my thumb, which was an easier way to begin playing. As I watched more videos of others playing the bass, I noticed how instead of having their arm over the body and using their thumb to pluck the strings, they had their arm resting on top of the body and their hand hanging over the strings to pluck.  

“‘Are you using your pick or your fingers?’  ‘Oh I’m just using my thumb.’ ‘Oh yeah that’s how I used to play using my thumb, and then I switched to using my fingers. But I actually like using the pick better.’” 

 When I experimented with this method, I found that it was much faster to pluck one string after the other (like how using multiple fingers to hold strings on the fretboard made it easier to switch between notes). One of the other new ‘skills’ that I worked on this break was the song playing. At first, during the meeting with my mentor, we started with the song Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles.  

“‘You know that song that I asked you to listen to?’  ‘Yeah, that Harry Styles one?’  ‘You know that song right?’  ‘Yeah I remember it was on the radio a lot.’ ‘It’s a really easy song, it’s only four chords.’”  

We talked about how this song was easy to play because it was the same 4 notes replaying throughout the song.  

“‘So after every bar after every four beats, you change notes, so it’s (2,3,4)~ and then start again, that’s the whole song!”  

After this meeting, I was excited at the fact that I was able to play songs, so I had looked up a few tutorials for the song on youtubeAfter watching a few bass tutorials for Watermelon Sugar, I was able to play a slightly more complicated version. (What I was practicing with my mentor was a much simpler version  

“‘These are like the bass notes.’  ‘Like if you were to play the chords, they would be the bass notes?’  ‘Yeah we’re just going to be hitting the notes. He does a bunch of other fancy things but for now we’ll use it as our practice song.’”  

After learning the Harry Styles song, I was opened to the possibility of youtube bass tutorialsLater I tried a Phoebe Bridgers song (Motion Sickness) and a Lou Reed Song (Walk on the Wild Side). In the process of learning these songs on youtube, I had to learn how to read bass sheet music. While this might not seem interesting, I found it to be one of the coolest ‘discoveries’ I made during the project. Because I have the experience of being able to read piano sheet music, I was able to pick up bass sheet music pretty quickly. There were many small differences between the two, like numbers instead of note values and 4 (string) lines instead of 5 staff lines. These and many other smaller details made bass music so interesting to me. One other big part of learning any sheet music for an instrument means you can play any song if you have the music for it, which is super exciting to me. Other than all the sheet music and songs, I ‘ve also been working on my scales this week. I did more research on the other scales and have been practicing all the other normal exercises (semitone scales, arpeggios etc.) 

 Video

This is a video that was taken during the last week of spring break when I learned how to play Watermelon Sugar on the bass. I hadn’t felt comfortable enough to play with my other fingers at the time, so I used my thumb to pick the strings instead.

Video #4

How to Have a Beautiful Mind 

This year for In-Depth, we’re using the book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward De Bono to guide us through the project. The book talks about how to have a beautiful mind (as the title explains) and how to have beautiful conversation with others. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll learn about the skills talked about in the book and apply them to our In-Depth project. This week we read chapters nine and ten.

Chapter Nine

In Chapter 9 of De Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mindhe talks about concepts. Concepts is a word that I throw around a lot or use as a synonym for other words, but De Bono talks about it in a way where it holds a lot of importance. Concepts are described as ‘parent’ or big ideas to smaller more specific ones. For example, the books uses the example of a parking meter. The ‘concept’ of a parking meter is to gain money from the need of car parks, but the actual parking meter itself is a specific way that the concept is carried out. The big takeaway from this chapter was that as we learn a new skill, there will be many big concepts that will require you to navigate and figure out. For example, there were a lot of new concepts introduced to me as I learned the bass. Concepts like ‘getting a sound out of the strings’ and  ‘getting many different (note) sounds out of bass’ were some of the beginning ideas that I was introduced to. Recently, the concepts that I’ve been trying to wrap my head around are ones such as ‘playing bass along with a song’, ‘getting the right sounds/sound effects out of the bass’ and getting faster and more accurate when playing bass’ 

 Chapter Ten

In How to Have a Beautiful Mind Chapter 10, De Bono talks about what alternatives are and how important they are to learning/living. As the word suggests, alternatives are extra/optional choices or ways of doing tasks. They give you flexibility and room to do your own yet still getting you to the planned destinationOne of the important parts to alternatives is that none of them will be the ‘best’ way perse. Most of the time, the ‘best’ way is determined on what kind of person you yourself are and not the alternatives themselves. My mindset going into this project was very much based on my knowledge of learning an instrument classically, mainly because it was one of the predominant ways I had ever learned and instrument. My mentor, having learned the bass by himself, offered the alternative of a much more free and flexible way of learning. For example, when learning scales, we didn’t look at the structure of the scales or specific notes in the scale, but instead we learned the sounds of the scale and how close to do re mi scale it would sound like. I found this way of learning to be much more refreshing and free because it didn’t have a set structure to how you learned. If I were to look back to the other options I had for mentors, I can somewhat predict the alternatives to learning they would’ve offered. One of my possible mentors was a teacher, and I think the alternative they would’ve offered would be somewhere in between a classical and freeform approach. I feel like that also would’ve been interesting to experienceIt wouldn’t have strayed too far from my original approach, but given enough room for freedom still.  

 Final Project

For my final project, I’m planning to do a prerecorded online concert of some sort. I plan to choose 2-4 songs that I want to play/preform and practice my way up to a point where I feel comfortable playing them. In that specific part of the project, I plan to focus more on the playing songs/finger picking aspect of my learning rather than the scales/arpeggio and more theory/practical based parts. I also was thinking about the interactive and learning part of my final project. I want to put the online concert in a presentation where I can show and teach some of the theory/practical parts of my learning. I hope that when people see my presentation, they can see the different ways in which you can learn an instrument and what parts of learning an instrument can be exciting and worthwhile. 

Concerning Quotes

This week, I didn’t include as many quotes because most of the topics discussed in this post were about personal learning that quotes from a call wouldn’t back up/support.

In-Depth – Blog Post #5

Progress Report 

This week, I learned a lot and improved on what I could do on the bass. Last week, I was focused a lot on using multiple fingers instead of just my one to play scales or arpeggios. I had improved a lot that week, and even more so this week with that goal in mind. This week(s) during my meeting with my mentor, I also learned the major scale! I thought that this was a really big thing as one of my goals was to learn the ‘bass scales’ Tito Paul taught me a lot about the finger pattern for the major scale and how you can change your hand position up down and back and forth over the fret board to get different major scales. I figured out that depending on where you start on the fretboard (the frets move up and down by chromatic/half steps) you get the major scale starting on the note.  This gave me a lot of freedom to experiment with starting on different frets to see and hear what sounds right and what I have to adjust to the finger position if I start a string lower or a fret higher etc. So this week I had spent a lot of time playing around with arpeggios and the major scales seeing how I could improve with using multiple fingers and how I could change keys. I practiced way more then I usually do this week! Most mornings when I had extra time, I would be in the little music corner practicing bass before I had to leave. I think maybe it also had to do with the fact that I had more material to actually practice. Using the material that I got from my meeting with my mentor, I experimented with playing the same arpeggios in different frets (same key, same root note) 

 Video

In this weeks video, I play (in order) Chromatic (half step) scale, A, D and other random arpeggios , and 3 major scales.

Video #3

How to Have a Beautiful Mind 

This year for In-Depth, we’re using the book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward De Bono to guide us through the project. The book talks about how to have a beautiful mind (as the title explains) and how to have beautiful conversation with others. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll learn about the skills talked about in the book and apply them to our In-Depth project. This week we read about argumentative thinking vs. parallel thinking. De Bono explains argumentative thinking as a way of the statement “I am right, and you are wrong”. He then goes onto say that parallel thinking was what the basis of “the Six Hats” method of thinking was based on. The Six Hats method of thinking can be summarized as such: 

White Hat – information or facts. They can also be what is called ‘soft facts’ which includes information like rumors.  

Yellow Hat – values or positives. Yellow Hat information points out why an idea might work or the good parts of it 

Green Hat – creative thinking. This hat ‘asks’ for ideas and encourages creative thinking 

Black Hatcritical thinking or judgement. This information is usually described as the voice that helps you act safely 

Blue Hat – This hat is typically used to define the purpose of a conversation, and in turn guiding what hats should be used. 

Red Hat – emotions or feelings. Red Hat information doesn’t always have to be backed up by facts as it can sometimes be based on intuition 

These hats are put on and off (metaphorically of course) when discussing ideas with someone. They help make it so that everyone is looking at the issue/idea from the same point of view and at the same time. 

 

Conversation with Mentor + Coloured Hats 

Conversation (I don’t have my mentor’s permission to put a recording of him in my blog)

M – Mentor, Tito Paul

K – Me, Kalayla

~Somewhere in the beginning of the meeting~ 

M – Well okay, you know what, remember we said we were going to try the do re mi. 

K – Yep 

M – Like *plays major scale* 

M – Okay so we’ll do that um so I have the extra string on my bass, can you see, so let’s start with your lowest string, I’ll show you where to put the fingers, try your lowest string which is the e string  

K – Oh okay, so *repeats* 

M – Right and then the second fret for the next note then the fourth fret. Then you go to the a string which is the next string up. Open, then the second fret again. Right. And then you’ll go to the fourth fret. And then we’ll go to the next string. So, you’re uh third string. And then you go to the first fret go to the second fret. So that’s you’re do re mi. Again that’s *repeats instructions again* 

K – Cool! So like *repeats what Tito Paul just played* 

M –Yeah! So it should sound like *plays scale slowly* and then you can go backwards! 

K – Wow cool! 

M – You got the fingering, right? So it’s like *plays with fingering* 

K – *plays back with the right fingering* 

M – So. Once you go up and down, you can do the same pattern on the next string up. Remember you’re starting on the fourth string, after you go up. Go to the third string.  

Plays* 

K – Oh yeah yeah, I see so you can do the same pattern on different strings. 

M – Yeah, so you can practice that so you’ll build up speed . Go up and then go down and then you can go to the third string and go up and down. So like *demonstrates* 

M – So that’ll ‘speeden’ your fingers and um you know get you more comfortable playing on more strings.  

K – So then if you um like if you do it on the lowest string and you have three strings down you play on, what happens if you get to the third string down and you only have two strings below to play with? 

M – Oh okay when then you’ll have to go up higher on the neck. You’ll player higher up on your highest string. And then you’ll skip to the sixth and seventh fret 

K – Oh so like *plays* 

K – Ohh cool 

M – So you can practice that as well for next week and we can figure out something to do with that 

~Later in the Meeting~ 

K – *attempts to explain scale modes* 

KHmm I don’t think I explained that well, did that make sense? 

M – Oh ok, umm, a little bit ahah I’m not too good with scales  

K – Yeah I can send you the website I got it from 

M – Yeah, I’m not too good with scales because I just play from my ear, right? So I think yeah, that’s something I can check out too as well. 

K – Yeah I’ll try and find a good website 

M – Hahah yeah see I’m learning from you now too 

K – Haha, yeah we’re actually doing it in theory as well, yeah piano theory can suck sometimes. 

M – Ohh you’re still doing piano? 

K – Yeah so part of the piano lesson this year is that I have to take like the level theory? Uh and it can suck because its like a big huge amount of confusing scales, but, oh well 

M – Yeah that stuff is good to know 

~Somewhere near the end of the meeting~ 

K Is there anything else you want to talk about? 

M – Yeah no you’re doing really well. Every time I see you every week you’re improving 

KHa thanks! It is a lot of fun, it’s a lot of fun playing the bass 

M – Yeah, it’s fun, I like playing it too, Soon you’ll be an expert. You can teach me to play properly 

KNoo 

MIt seems like you can use your theory to help you, I’m just making it up as I go along, 

K – Oh no, of course not 

 

Conversation Organized into Hats

 

Red Hats

K – Cool!

K – Wow cool! 

K – Haha, yeah we’re actually doing it in theory as well, yeah piano theory can suck sometimes. 

K – Yeah so part of the piano lesson this year is that I have to take like the level theory? Uh and it can suck because its like a big huge amount of confusing scales, but, oh well 

KHa thanks! It is a lot of fun, it’s a lot of fun playing the bass 

M – Yeah, it’s fun, I like playing it too, Soon you’ll be an expert. You can teach me to play properly 

Yellow Hats

M – Yeah, so you can practice that so you’ll build up speed

M – So that’ll ‘speeden’ your fingers and um you know get you more comfortable playing on more strings.  

M – Hahah yeah see I’m learning from you now too 

M – Yeah that stuff is good to know 

M – Yeah no you’re doing really well. Every time I see you every week you’re improving 

White Hats

M – start with your lowest string, I’ll show you where to put the fingers, try your lowest string which is the e string

M – Right and then the second fret for the next note then the fourth fret. Then you go to the a string which is the next string up. Open, then the second fret again. Right. And then you’ll go to the fourth fret. And then we’ll go to the next string. So, you’re uh third string. And then you go to the first fret go to the second fret. So that’s you’re do re mi.

M – So. Once you go up and down, you can do the same pattern on the next string up. Remember you’re starting on the fourth string, after you go up. Go to the third string.  

M – Oh okay when then you’ll have to go up higher on the neck. You’ll player higher up on your highest string. And then you’ll skip to the sixth and seventh fret 

Black Hats

KHmm I don’t think I explained that well did that make sense? 

M – Yeah, I’m not too good with scales because I just play from my ear, right?

Blue Hats

M – Well okay, you know what, remember we said we were going to try the do re mi. 

Green Hats

K – So then if you um like if you do it on the lowest string and you have three strings down you play on, what happens if you get to the third string down and you only have two strings below to play with? 

K Is there anything else you want to talk about? 

M – Mentor, Tito Paul 

K – Me, Kalayla 

In-Depth – Blog Post #4

Hello! Welcome back to my 4th In-Depth Blog Post!

 

Progress Report

This week, I worked on improving what I was working on the previous week as well as do more research on what we would do next. When had a meeting with my mentor, we went over what I was working on the previous week, which was A, D and G arpeggios. We talked about using your first, second, third and fourth fingers to play instead of just your first (which is what I was doing originally). “Your scales or whatever you were doing were great like- that was perfect but I noticed that when you were playing, you like to use your index finger- the best thing to do is to try and use at least 3 fingers”

It turned out that this was much harder than I expected, as you had to stretch your fingers to reach the different frets. “Yeah you’re playing the bass spot on, but maybe just work on using your fingers instead of just one finger”

We also talked a little bit more about scales and the types of scales we could try learning next. I asked if he knew a bit about the other scales (Blues, Phrygian etc.) and we decided to do a bit more research on the scales before attempting to learn them. So, this week I did research for playing scales modes on the bass and worked on playing arpeggios with all my fingers instead of just my first. There were a few problems this week with practicing where I couldn’t practice past seven o’clock pm because of the bass volume. I also ran into the problem of finding a place to practice. The bass amp was plugged into the wall next to the piano, but recently it was getting in the way of the walking area so my parents asked me to move it. And so, since my guitar and amp were in a corner surrounded by other clutter, I found it hard to practice. However, this past weekend, we re arranged the music room and made it more convenient to practice the bass. This not only helped by making room, but since it was more convenient, I found myself practicing more. I really enjoyed trying the arpeggios with multiple fingers, it felt like I could actually play the bass! It also got me used to moving between the notes so that I could learn scales easier. I found that playing the bass is actually more difficult than I had originally anticipated, so I had to extend some goals a bot farther down the timeline. Instead of learning scales within the first month, I decided that I would need an extra month or a half to learn the first ones. I also made the decision to do more independent research myself for learning to the bass so I’m not as dependent on my mentor, waiting every two weeks for something new to do. Which is why this week, I did the research on scale modes for the bass. Oh yes! I also managed to record my meeting with my mentor for this week (two weeks).

 

Video

In-Depth Video #2

 

How to Have a Beautiful Mind – Edward De Bono

This year for In-Depth, we’re using the book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward De Bono to guide us through the project. The book talks about how to have a beautiful mind (as the title explains) and how to have beautiful conversation with others. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll learn about the skills talked about in the book and apply them to our In-Depth project. This week we read chapters six to seven.

 

Chapter Six

In Chapter Six of How to Have Beautiful Mind, De Bono discusses listening to others. This was something that seems very simple, but I was told once that there is a difference between hearing someone and listening to them. Listening involves soaking in the information that the other person is giving and playing around with that information in your head. Listening also involves letting the person you’re talking to know that you’re actually listening. One of the more specific points De Bono mentions asking questions after getting information to make sure what you were understanding was correct with what the other was saying. I did this when Tito Paul and I were going over using more fingers to play arpeggios. I asked if I was supposed to use my pinkie finger when playing because he was talking about using all of your fingers and I wasn’t sure if you used your pinkie finger while playing the bass. This sparked a mini discussion about whether or not you could or even would use your pinkie finger to play. We talked about how you usually don’t, but it’s really handy to be able to strengthen up your pinkie finger to play so that if you ever do need to, it will be easier. “At least three fingers. If you can do four fingers, that’s fine but I know sometimes the pinky is kind of weak right.”

Another one of De Bono’s points on listening was ‘what new information were you getting and what questions can you ask to probe further into the topic’. This kind of relates to the observation/point I made earlier about getting new information and playing around with it in your head, just this time, you’re playing around with an idea with someone else out loud. Near the end of my meeting with Tito Paul, we were talking about learning the major scale after getting faster with arpeggios. I took the information about major scales that he was giving me and asked about the scale modes (which was largely related to major scales) and what the whole idea with that was. We discussed it further and came to the conclusion that neither of us knew much about them so I decided to do more research on them and come back to our next meeting with information on scale modes. “like I said, I’m self-taught, so I don’t know all the types of scales, but we can check it out on YouTube, even if you just send me a link through text and I can check it out yeah.”

The last point I’ll mention from Chapter Six is the short paragraph under the sub heading ‘Repeat Back’. The paragraph plays with and explains the idea of reiterating points back to the speaker, not only let them know you are in-fact listening, but also helping yourself by making the ideas clearer in your own head. Mr. S has told us that by teaching/explaining an idea to someone, you are able to better understand the idea yourself, so it must be true! I often use this idea in conversations with peers or teachers as it helps me learn and helps let the other know I’m listening and learning.

Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven in How to Have a Beautiful Mind talks about asking questions. Asking questions is extremely important in conversations, especially meaningful conversations. One of the many points that De Bono made in this chapter was questioning the point of anything being taught to you. I used this again in the meeting with my mentor when talking about the multiple-fingers-for-arpeggios topic. I asked why you need to learn all these arpeggios using all your fingers. He explained that by practicing moving between the arpeggios with multiple fingers, it will make it easier to move with scales and in turn easier to move between notes when playing songs. “so that way it’s going to build up the strength in your fingers and it’s going to help you play faster instead of having to use one finger” “yeah so before we do doe re mi, we should just work on using all three fingers”

 

I found this to be really helpful as I gave a purpose to learning and gave me another reason to keep going. It also gave us a talking point as after that we moved onto scales and what scales we could play/learn. Another reason that questions are vital parts of conversations is that thy can start discussions as well. In the notebook I have with me for every meeting, I will write questions that I want to ask Tito Paul whether they be about learning bass or just small talk questions. For example, we had a meeting on Family Day weekend and I had written the question ‘how was your family day?’ in my notebook. When we were having small talk, I asked him how his family day went and since we were family friends, we got to the topic of talking about how each of our families was doing and what we were doing for the family day weekend. So, a simple question turned into a conversation that helped us get to know each other better!

In-Depth – Blog Post #3

Hi! Welcome to the 3rd In-Depth Blog Post!

Regarding Direct Quotes and Recording

I found that when I was taking notes or direct quotes, I felt bad as he was talking and I wasn’t really paying attention while writing. Sorry for the lack of quotes in this post. I am going to work on recording our meetings if I can figure out how to.

Progress Report

This week (or past two weeks), I learned a lot about actually playing the bass guitar! Since my last meeting mishap where I had neglected to remind my mentor about the meeting until the day of, I had learned to confirm the meeting a few days beforehand. I made sure to set a timer on my phone so that every Wednesday I would confirm that we were meeting On Sunday at 5:00pm. I had a meeting with my mentor and had prepared a few questions and conversation points in my In-Depth notebook. (I felt like I was extremely unprepared for our last meeting, so I tried to make up for it my preparing well). One of the topics that I wanted to ask him about was how we should progress forward. I had asked a few friends who were experienced in learning guitar how they went about learning their instrument. I found out that many of them learned by playing songs, while others had learned scales and arpeggios first. With this information, I thought it would be useful to ask Tito Paul how he thinks we should continue. He responded saying he thought it would be pretty useful learning arpeggios and scales before learning songs. Which we did. He actually told me that he learned more about arpeggios so that he could teach me about them better (which was very nice of him). He taught me A major arpeggios, D Major arpeggio and G Major arpeggio (which is what I play in order in the video below). After that, we talked about the do re mi kind of scales, in this case, major. He told me once I got faster at the arpeggios, we could start the do re mi scale next week. We ran into a few problems where zoom was cancelling out the sound of my bass and Tito Paul couldn’t hear it. But other than that, it was a good meeting! Throughout the week I tried my best to practice my arpeggios, getting faster each time. I did have a piano recital last weekend, so I wasn’t able to practice as I was spending time getting ready for the recital. In the video below, I start with an exercise to get faster at moving in-between notes, and then practice my arpeggios mentioned above.

 

Video

In-Depth Video #1

 

How to Have a Beautiful Mind – Edward De Bono

This year for In-Depth, we’re using the book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward De Bono to guide us through the project. The book talks about how to have a beautiful mind (as the title explains) and how to have beautiful conversation with others. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll learn about the skills talked about in the book and apply them to our In-Depth project. This week we read chapters four to five.

 

Chapter Four

In Chapter Four of how to have a Beautiful Mind, De Bono talks about being interesting. When I first read the title, it shocked me a bit, how and why should you be more interesting? But when I read through the chapter, it began to make sense. One of the points was to talk about your interests with another person (in this case, my In-Depth topic). This brought a quote into mind from one of my meetings with my mentor: “So, why did you choose Bass guitar as your topic for the project?” “Oh, well, I had heard the bass guitar in songs a lot and I really liked the deep and steady sound of it. Plus, I had tried playing it in grade 6 once and wanted to try again.” “Oh yeah? Cool”. I had actually practiced this answer before after doing the learning contract, so I was prepared when Tito Paul asked. It can also be hard sometimes to articulate how I feel about a topic I’m passionate about. Another one of the points made in this chapter was about ‘what if’ statements. It talks about how ‘what if’ statements cause ideas to sprout from the statement. I tried this when he was explaining arpeggios and how you go down a string to get the next arpeggio. I then wondered (and asked) what if you run out of strings at the bottom? How do you get to the next arpeggio? While this what if statement is not quite an interesting as ‘what if pigs could fly’, it sparked a whole other discussion about what you should do and how you should move to get to the next arpeggio so that you don’t run out of strings. That was how I learned that you keep the same finger pattern no matter the arpeggio key (major).

 

Chapter Five

In Chapter Five, we discuss and further build upon the goals of a conversation. This time we also talk about how to respond in a conversation. One of the points made about responding was supporting a point someone makes by using evidence or extra information. It reminded me of when we were in the meeting and my mentor said something about arpeggios being the notes of a triad plus the root on top again. He asked if that made sense and I said yes and supported his point by saying the notes of an A major triad were a, c# and e and we discussed together how the specific notes made up the arpeggio. Another point made about responding during conversation was about sharing a personal story that would relate and illustrate the topic at hand. I used this when we were talking about procrastination during practicing. I went on to mention how I used to (and sometimes still do) procrastinate on homework and would often set timers or reminders to remind myself. This lead to the timers I have set now to remind myself to practice and ask about meeting times. By bringing up a personal story, I was able to use that and improve the situation and topic being discussed, which I thought was really interesting.

In-Depth – Blog Post #2

Hello! Welcome to my Second Blog Post for My 2021 In-Depth Project!

Progress Report

Since my last blog post, I’ve had much progress on my In-Depth Project. The weekend after my first update, I got a bass guitar and an amp. I learned how to adjust the amp and the bass, volume wise. I had some trouble at first as there were so many dials on the amp as well as some on the bass itself. But after my mentor told me what the dials on the bass meant, it began to make more sense. Oh! I also had my first meeting with my mentor! A week after my first blog post, I set up a meeting with my mentor, Tito Paul. As it was my first year doing anything similar to this project, I was adequately nervous for the meeting, even if I knew him beforehand. I hadn’t known what to prepare so I had a notebook to take notes, but that was about it. During the meeting I asked some of the questions that I wrote in my learning contract and attempted small talk. Key word attempted. But near the end of the meeting, I panicked and my mind blanked while looking for another question to ask. So, I ended up ending the meeting earlier than I had originally planned. (Later to make up for the meeting, I asked if mentor was available the next week for a meeting) However, despite the short meeting I as able to learn a lot. Because I had a few questions prepared on the learning contract, in the beginning I ended up learning a lot about the bass guitar itself rather then playing it. I learned how the bass guitar differed from the piano and how it was similar. I also learned how notes progressed on the fretboard, which I thought was really mind-blowing as I had never known what notes on a fretboard moved up by semitones (half steps). I also found it interesting when Tito Paul told me about the ‘role’ of a bass in a song. He told me that in a song, the bass plays a melody that is usually repeats and is constant. He compared it to keeping beat, like how a drum does. Near the end, I asked him if there was anything that he thought would be easy to learn or practice for the next week(s). He taught me an ‘exercise’ that I could do with the different styles of plucking the strings to get fast at moving between strings.

 

How to Have a Beautiful Mind – Edward De Bono

This year for In-Depth, we’re using the book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward De Bono to guide us through the project. The book talks about how to have a beautiful mind (as the title explains) and how to have beautiful conversation with others. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll learn about the skills talked about in the book and apply them to our In-Depth project. This week we read chapters one to three.

 

Chapter One

Chapter One was all about how to agree with someone. One of the points that de Bono mentions in this chapter is to try and put effort into finding bits of what the other person is saying that you agree with. When I read this part, I thought that it was a pretty smart thing to think about. It causes you to really listen to what they’re saying and try to look for positives. I tried this when I was with Tito Paul when he was trying to explain how a bass works in a musical piece. I wanted to genuinely agree with what he was saying, but I didn’t understand where he was coming from. So I tried to look for points where he and I could both relate, him being self-taught and me being classically trained (both equally great ways to learn an instrument by the way). Eventually we got to a point where I could understand what he was trying to imply and therefore was able to agree with it. This happened multiple times during the meeting such as when he was trying to explain how the notes progressed. I was able to relate it to a keyboard moving up by semitones (half steps).

De Bono also mentioned in the chapter to not agree all the time with what the other is saying. He talked about how that doesn’t make the conversation interesting. While I agreed completely with what he was saying, I realized that that’s what I’ve always been doing for a large portion of my life. I was always too scared to disagree as to avoid conflict. Realizing this I decided that I would try to step out of the box I’ve pushed myself into. During the meeting, I didn’t just always nod along to everything he said. I tried to ask questions and ask why he thought one way was better or one exercise would help etc.

 

Chapter Two

In Chapter Two, de Bono talks about how to disagree with someone. I found this chapter to be really interesting as I think learning how to disagree with someone is something I ought to learn. I found this topic much harder to use when with my mentor. My mentor was so nice it was difficult to disagree with him! However, though there was nothing said that concerned my ‘truth’, I was able to recognize some of the points de Bono talks about concerning disagreeing during our conversation. One that I noticed was the point he made about different experiences. I mentioned before that I was classically trained in piano and Tito Paul was self-taught bass guitar. Because of this, we had different views and knowledge based on our backgrounds and experiences. However, despite this, we made an effort to understand where the other was coming from. We also tried to make an effort to learn what the other was talking about. For example, I was talking about scales because that’s part of how I learned piano, and Tito Paul didn’t really know much about scales. But he made the effort to look it up so that we could talk about something that we’d both understand (which was very kind of him).

 

Chapter Three

In the book How to Have a Beautiful Mind, de Bono dedicates a chapter to learning how to differ. This chapter was really interesting because I didn’t know ‘differing’ was any different to disagreeing. He mentions preference in this chapter, which I thought was pretty cool. I will often think about how preference would influence your Big Truths and how you view the world. So, seeing it put into words was very informative and taught me a lot about how preference can cause you to differ. I noticed this when Tito Paul and I were talking about how to pluck a bass guitar string. There were four different ways. Slapping the string, Plucking the string (with thumb and pointer finger), strumming the string (with your thumb), and using a pick. Tito Paul told me that he preferred the pick because that’s how he learned it and he felt more comfortable with it. Me on the other hand preferred using my thumb to strum or thumb and pointer finger to pluck. Maybe this had to do with me playing a little bit of acoustic guitar before or using my hands when playing piano? But in the end, Tito Paul said whatever works best for you is the one you should stick with (unless you’re learning how to slap the bass as a style of playing). That was what part of the exercise he gave me earlier was for. I was to try out the different style playing to see what worked the best for me.

 

In-Depth – Blog Post #1

Intro – What is In-Depth?

In-Depth is a big part of the TALONS curriculum. The project is done annually and takes place over the course of five months. The project requires the students to pick a skill or topic that they want to develop over the time given. (ex. ASL, computer programming, rollerblading etc.) It’s also good to mention that when choosing your skill, it’s important that you choose a topic that you’re passionate about. As no one wants to spend 5 months over a skill they find boring! Before starting the project, they also must choose a mentor. Their mentor is an expert in the skill chosen and will help the student if they have any questions or if they need help.  Students then learn as much as they can about their skill in the best way they can. Throughout the five months, they document their progress with blog posts and at the end they’ll have a final product prepared to show their learning.

 

What is My Skill and What Will I Learn?

For my In-Depth skill I chose to learn the bass guitar! To start, some of the basic information that I want to learn will be the parts and string names of the bass guitar. This will provide me with a foundation to learning how to play the instrument. After that I will be able to learn how to hold the guitar and play the strings. Later, building off of that, I can learn how to play along to songs and play scales. (such as the blues scale, dorian scale etc.) Some extra information that I thought would be interesting to learn about would be how bass guitar contributes to a song and how a bass line is decided or made.

 

Why Did I Choose My Skill?

I haven’t always liked music. But when I really started to get into it, I REALLY tried my best to know as much about it as I could.  Part of that was me wanting to learn about and how to play as many different instruments as I could. The steadiness and rich sound is what drew me the most towards the bass. I’ve always wanted to try learning how to play but I always put it off, so now I have an excuse to learn!

 

Who’s My Mentor?

My mentor for my project is tito Paul. He plays the bass guitar as one of his hobbies as well as a band that my dad is also in. He’s passionate about playing the bass guitar and I think that’s really important when playing an instrument.

 

What Can Others Do to Help?

The people around me most when I’ll be practicing will probably be my family. So hopefully my family can help remind me to practice when I forget or be my mock audience when I need to perform in front of someone. I’m also working with my mentor, tito Paul, so I can ask him questions that he can hopefully answer (thanks tito Paul!) Luckily, I’ll also be around my other classmates who are also doing the same project. Albeit not the same skill, we can still remind each other about practicing or getting a blog post done.

 

Resources

When you’re learning to play an instrument, it’s probably a good idea to have a variety of resources in case you don’t understand a concept explained one way. Some of my resources are going to be books I can borrow from the library or buy somewhere. I’m also going to use a variety of online resources such as websites, blogs and YouTube videos as they’re easy to access and if I need a visual I can use YouTube to watch someone. To get a better idea of how pro bass guitarists play, I was thinking of looking for videos of some famous/professional bass guitarists. For example, these videos of George porter playing bass (which I thought sounded very funky and very cool) and Thundercat who’s bass guitar style I found really interesting. I could also listen to some songs that demonstrate bass guitar in a great way. Of course, I also have tito Paul who I can hopefully ask questions if I have any.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIkrdg18Ngc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8FBaYlOkEA

 

My Timeline

I made a timeline for my In-Depth which I can hopefully stick to. I left lots of room near the end for more practice or in case I need extra time to learn something.

 Find a mentor, tell them the details of the project and get the forms done  Before January 10th  
 Rent/borrow/purchase a bass guitar as well as find possible resources such as books or videos  Before winter break ends (or even a few days [3-4] days after)  
 Learn the parts of the bass guitar  During first week of learning  
 Learn how to care for it (storage, how to plug it in, when to change certain parts)  During first week of learning  
 How to pluck the strings and how to hold my hands on the fret board  Second week of learning  
 Learn how to play notes and how the notes progress along the fretboard  Third week of learning  
 Have the first meeting with mentor  Second week of learning  
 Learn scales (10)  fifth week of learning  
Learn arpeggios  ninth week of learning  
 Learn the different styles of playing the bass

(can relate it to musical theory or piano)

thirteenth week of learning  
 Try playing along to songs (look up the notes online for the song)  fifteenth week of learning  
 Practice practice practice  All 5 months!  
 How to tune a bass guitar  First week of learning  
 How to read sheet music for bass guitar  Fourth week of learning  
 Have second meeting with mentor  Fourth week of learning  
 Have third meeting with mentor  Sixth week of learning  
Have fourth meeting with mentor eighth week of learning
Have sixth meeting with mentor Twelfth week of learning
Have seventh meeting with mentor Fourteenth week of learning
Have eighth meeting with mentor Sixteenth week of learning
Have ninth meeting with mentor Eighteenth week of learning
Have tenth meeting with mentor Twentieth week of learning

 

What I’ve Accomplished So Far

So far I’ve done some research on the parts of the guitar and saw some videos of people playing the bass guitar to get used to how they hold or play it. I’ve focused my time on getting a mentor (which I did yay!) So now I’m just waiting for the paperwork before I can start planning the meetings with him. This week or next I want to get the bass guitar and amp from Long and McQuade. Over the winter break we looked at renting them and I did some research on what guitar would be best. So hopefully I can look and maybe rent one this week!

 

Core Competency Activity – Grit and Resilience

During Quarter 1, what went well for you? Explain. Examples: being back in the classroom, having only two courses, seeing my friends, keeping up with homework, playing volleyball, improving math, helping plan a virtual assembly, becoming more fit.

Being more social this quarter was something that I think went well for me. During quarantine I rarely talked to anyone outside of my family, and I think that that made me a lot sadder than usual. Because I was around more people, talking and interacting with new people, I felt significantly happier than I did in quarantine. Another aspect that I think went well for me this quarter was being in a classroom and learning again. During online learning I had a hard time listening and focusing on what we were learning, so I found it really difficult to learn in an online setting. When I got back into the classroom, I was able to learn better and actually enjoy myself while learning as well.

 

During Quarter 1, what did you find challenging or disappointing or stressful? Explain.

For me, I found that the challenge of having 2 courses packed into one quarter was really stressful. When my courses started, I was always stressed about learning a language as well as focusing on science at the same time. Even though we had 2-hour classes and only 2 subjects, I always thought I needed more time to let everything sink in. Though near the end of the quarter it got a little bit easier, I still am a little worried about forgetting everything until next year.

 

Think of ONE thing you really want to improve in Quarter 2 (and Q 3&4). Examples: a school subject, a sport, time spent on homework/studying, playing a musical instrument, leadership skills, a language, photography, a relationship, general fitness.

Next quarter, I want to improve on my balancing skills. Not the literal one-foot balancing, but giving equal time to all of my interests and needs. Sometimes, I found myself spending too much time on schoolwork and neglecting my need for other needs or at other times, spending too much time on the computer and neglecting my schoolwork. If I were to give one specific example, I want to try and spend more time on playing and practicing my instrument (the piano) because it makes me happy and I like that. Overall, I just want to practice more because I tend to not make time for it at all.

 

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?

  1. I can set a specific time where I stop and sit at the piano to practice or just play around. And I can make sure I don’t overdo it by setting a time when I have to get off to work on other work. For example, I can start at 5:00pm and end at 6:00pm.

2. I can choose or make a list of songs that I want to learn or learn by ear on the piano. This way I can keep motivated and always have something that I look forward to playing. I can keep                     this list by the piano or keep it as a list on my phone so I can remember it and I can use it whenever I set a time to play.

 

If you experience challenges, what might you do to work through them? Examples: ask help from a friend or parent; break the task into smaller chunks; “google” how other people may deal with similar problems.

I if start to start ignoring the time I set for myself to play, I can ask my parents or brothers to remind me when my timer or whatever I’ll use goes off so that I’m more motivated or reminded. I can also ask my brothers to play along with me when I start to feel less motivated to play. Sometimes when my brothers play along with me to a song or something, I feel more motivated and excited to practice. I can also set tiny goals like preforming in front of family so that I have something to work towards.

How to be a Real Success

R – Relationships

Relationship rules are rules that basically rules to having good and healthy relationships with yourself and the people around you. When I first heard the term relationship rules, I thought that relationships didn’t need rules and that it was too restricting to have rules. However, as we learned more, I was surprised to realize that the rules were in fact not limiting at all and were actually some really good advice! One of the first things that surprised me about the relationship rules was that number one on the list was to love and accept yourself. I was kind of surprised because that last thing I expected on a relationship rules list was something about yourself! The rules stated that since the only relationship that will last forever is with yourself and that you have to be able to have a good relationship with yourself before having a healthy relationship with others. Which when I think about it makes complete sense. If I were to sum up the next few things on the list, I would say that you had to really put energy into knowing the other person and value them and your relationship. This seems really obvious at first glance, but to me, it actually gave me some really good pointers when having and maintaining relationships, something that I feel like I struggle with sometimes. A few good points that I want to remember are remembering someone’s name and focusing on the other persons interests.

The reason I chose this little piece of information to write about was because it was something that I found really helpful. I found myself referring back to these rules and making sure that whoever I’m talking to, I’m giving my full attention. Something that I found really helpful was the rule that said to focus on their interests. Though it seems a little self-conceited, (and probably is) when I would talk to someone and the conversation would dwindle down, I would panic and start telling them about myself as it was the only thing that I knew that I knew a lot about. So, by having this rule of focusing on their interests, I’m able to remember to slow down and ask them a question instead.

The relationship rules will prove very helpful during my grade 9 year, and any year in that matter. I think that a very big part in school and TALONS in general is relationships. Whether that be making them or maintaining them. So as I’m starting to meet more of the grade 9’s in my class, I think that these points will help me become more confident in my skills in meeting new people as well as making the person that I’m talking to feel comfortable For example if I were to start talking to a grade 9 in Science that I haven’t met yet, I would remember to remember their name, ask them about themselves and their interests, and to really value them as a person and my relationship with them.

 

E – Equipping

One point that really stood out to me during the Equipping lesson was the actual equipping itself. The book explained equipping as preparing someone in a way to complete a task. I never really actually considered or I guess realized that equipping someone was really important to leadership. For the longest time I had thought that by doing all the work myself, I was helping the other person. So finding out that equipping others was important and that doing all the work myself didn’t actually help them was really interesting and cool to learn about. But since that is a really broad topic, I want to focus on the Why People Fail to Equip Others section and what I want to do to not do those things. To me, the purpose of this list was to show the reader what they were doing wrong. You can’t really fix your mistakes without knowing what to fix. A few things on the list included failing to equip others because you enjoy doing the tasks yourself, wanting to keep control and underestimating the general potential and leadership potential in the people around you.

I chose this as something that I wanted to focus on this year because it reminds me of what not to do. As I mentioned before, I didn’t really know about equipping others, so when I looked at this list, I got a clearer idea of what I should be doing instead. It kind of made me realize my mistakes in a way.

I think that I can apply this list to many things in my grade 9 year. I can use it to remind myself of what not to do when working with others so that the other people in my group learn something and I don’t end up stressing myself out with unnecessary work. For example, if I’m in a group project that involves research, typing out information and making a model, I can remind myself of the rule to not underestimate others and I could give someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with making models a chance at doing it. I could also use the rule to not be in the habit in doing all the work and use that to remind myself to let everyone else do work as well and that everyone deserves an equal chance to do and learn something.

 

A – Attitude

One of the things that I remember from the A section is from the Attitude Inventory. It was the fourth question that asked “Do you foster a healthy attitude in yourself for your family, friends, co-workers?” When I saw this, it forced me to see how my attitude can affect others and their attitudes. You could reword it as “Do you have a positive attitude inside yourself and do you try and help others around you have a positive attitude as well.”

I chose this as a focus this year because it was something that actually caused me to stop and think. When I saw this question, it made me stop and wonder if I did cause the people around me to have a good attitude as well. It also reminded me that my attitude has an affect on others as well, as sometimes I can get caught up in my emotions that I forget that it can affect other people.

I can incorporate this into my grade 9 year in many different ways. I think that by reminding myself of this rule/question every so often, I will be able to be more aware of myself and my attitude with the knowledge that it can affect other people. This way I can have a better attitude myself and help other people around me develop a healthier and more positive point of view. For example, If I’m feeling more down than usual, I wouldn’t put that on others knowing that it will affect their attitude as well.

 

L – Leadership

The Law of the Process is something that stayed in my head a while after the lessons. This law was something that said that leaders take time to develop, and that it doesn’t just take a day to become a good leader. Or to put it into the books’ words “Leaders develop daily, not in a day” Something that John Maxwell said after this also stuck with me. He mentioned something along the lines that good leaders can be made and not just born. This stuck with me because I often hear that good leaders are born, and that can discourage me sometimes because I’ll often think that I wasn’t cut out to be a leader or I wasn’t born as someone who could be a leader. So it’s reassuring to know that you can still grow to be a good leader.

I chose this because, as I said before, I often don’t think I was “born” or made to be a leader. So This quote stuck with me because it reminded me that I can grow to become one and that it takes time and effort to accomplish it.

I can use this throughout my year and throughout the rest of my life. By knowing that leaders take time to develop, I can work towards becoming a great leader and put effort into reaching this goal. I think that it will also help me become less frustrated with myself when I make a mistake in a leadership position. For example, if I were to attend another leadership conference or info session, I will be able to retain the information that I was given and put it to use throughout the years to come. This way I won’t just forget or stop doing the information that was given to me just a day after.