Here we go, once again. But this time, it is the last time. My final update. To let you all know, my largest problem was my persistent and rather annoying writers block. This little problem stuck with me since the middle of the project, and took a large toll on my work ethic. I caused me to get frustrated, bored, and to lose motivation for it all. I did eventually. It just took way too long. I had gotten over it when we had gone into the last few weeks of the project, making it impossible to finish my song on time. The way I had gotten over this road block of the mind is that I had just waited it out. I had no tools in the box inside my head to break down the wall, so I just waited it out. Now that I have come up with some ways that would have kept me busy, I seriously regret my decision to wait out the massive amount of time that sat ahead of me. I wish that I had looked at more pieces of music so that I could have gotten more ideas. I wish that I would have looked up ways to get past writer's block faster. I wish that I would have listened to music to try to find more inspiration, but I did none of that. I only sat down at a piano and practiced. Day after day. I did nothing be practice and wait until I had gotten past my writer's block.
To be completely honest, I think I will not remember more than one or two things from this project, 10 years down the road. I think I will only remember how to play the piano, and read and write music. Everything else, I will have potential and sadly forgotten everything else. I will make the same mistakes I did with this project 10 years down the line. I will still be playing piano 10 years down the line. I will be playing music 10 years down the line. I will be procrastinating, getting frustrated, getting bored, having writers block, doing nothing 10 years down the line. I won't learn from my mistakes and I will suffer from it 10 years down the line.
Finally; Do I think that schools around the country should have 20% projects? Yes. I do think that schools should have some sort of 20% project. This project does need a lot of fixes and changes, but over all it is a good idea. This projects allow students to explore some of their interests and allows an expression of creativity that some schools don't even give students a chance to explore and feel. This projects gives a student a break from usual work and lets them work on things that they would much rather do.
Since my last blog post, I have done nothing on my song. Quite literally nothing. I have barely even touched the piano since my last update. I have been way too focused on the up-coming TED talks. I have written about three pages of things to talk about during my TED talk. It is more of a script than a list of things to talk about. All that is there is just word on a page about what I have done and learned during this project. Kind of like and extended full project blog post.
My major challenges since I last touched this website were limited, but the few obstacles that I had, they were rough. The largest one I had was my struggle to continue working. I am at a point where I am over this project and everything we have to do starts to seem annoying and tedious, sadly. I am also having a hard time staying on task. Also do to me being over this project. Both of these problems make it incredibly hard to get work done. I really wish it weren't that way, but I guess it has lead me to learn something about myself. I cannot last six weeks doing the same thing for two hours a day without a break. I need something to break up the project every once and a while so that I can stay engaged. It would even help if I were able to work on something every other day so that I don't get burned out on the project. Some sort of brain teaser or puzzle or work sheet would be perfect for breaking up the long distance piano playing. It may even help keep me out of my writers block.
Well, here we are. One week left to work on our projects and an DP update has come to hit u once again. So much has happened since the last update. I have learned so much and struggled to accomplish anything at the same rate.
I have learned so much when it comes to the music writing process and how it works. Music doesn't always just pop into your head like an add on a YouTube video. It take a lot of hard work and time to even get close to write a good quality line of music. Let alone a whole song. These last few weeks have pushed my music know-how and creativity to the limit. So far in fact that I have hit a major mental block that is currently preventing me from furthering my work. Not only is this project pushing me, it is wearing down on my ability to stay focused. As this project has progressed through the thing we call time, I have had a much harder time staying focused. I often find myself staring at the keyboard. Just thinking. Not playing. Not writing down ideas. Just thinking.
Even with my struggle to stay on task, I have been able to get some things done. I have completed four more lines and have a few ideas on what to use in my song. I now have a little melody that I am going to be using through out my song. Even with these changes, I probably won't be able to finish with everything on time. I may be able to make the song about 2 minutes long, but at this point, I do not have enough time to make my goal of 5 minutes long.
During today's little gallery walk, I was struck by one certain thing. The fact that people seemed to be bothered by the idea and actions I have taken for my project. There were only two people who were somewhat interested in it, but the only feedback I had gotten from them is that I should get a few other perspectives from other people who have been struggling with depression so that I can get a few more angles on what depression can do to people and not just my point of view.
Since my last blog entry, I have practically restarted. I wanted to keep my intro because it was the best part, but the major time scale screw up that I had done has forced me into a situation where I have to rethink my song. I am still going with the Raising awareness for depression, but it is going to sound a lot better than my first and really rough draft. I have also talked to a college professor about my song and I am still patiently waiting for a bit of feedback.
I have faced the major challenge of rewriting my song but still keeping the first line or so. I am in a sort of creative rut, but I am slowly working my way out of it. I am also still struggling with my melody. I have a slight clue about what I want to do for my melody, but I am going to have to talk to my mentor if it is okay because I am using a variation of a melody from the song "Where is my mind" by the Pixies.
My next course of action is to meet back up with my mentor and try to see if my melody will work for 3/4 time and if I can even use it. Not only that, but I need to see how I can upload the song to places like sound cloud and I tunes. I also need to start working on digitally editing my cover art so that it will fit on a CD case.
Since my last blog entry, I have learned that part of my song is way off. What I mean by this is that I have written part of my song in 2/4 and not 3/4. This screwed up everything else and threw off the felling that I had. I have also learned that I am in desperate need of a melody. Something that the audience can take away and remember . Something that leaves an impact on the audience. I will be going through a lot of my notes and try to figure out a little melody for 3/4 time that I can apply to my song. I also will be focusing on the rhythm so that it all makes sense and so that the audience can tell that it is a waltz. Not just any waltz, but a waltz with my depression.
As for what I have done, I have had a meeting with my mentor and I had looked over my 50 measures of song to see what I can improve on. So far, I have gotten tons of feedback. All of which is helpful. I have also learned up to measure 35 of my song. Although, with that, I am having a few troubles with timing and the such. Just regular problems I have with music. Now, when it comes to the cover art for the album, I have done three drafts and have finished it. It is ready to be scanned and used as the cover art.
Several things have gone wrong for me. I have made a major mistake with timing within my song. As mentioned earlier, I have written a large chunk of my song in 2/4 and not 3/4 like intended. I also have been struggling to find an appropriate melody to fit into my song. Considering how it is going, I may just end up putting a key-change from F to F minor. I will also be meeting with my mentor to try to brainstorm a few more ideas for the song and straiten things out.
As of this point, I have learned a lot about writing music. I now know how to use the program Muse Score 2. At the start of this project, I had absolutely no idea how to even insert a note onto the screen, but as you can see in the picture above, I have really gotten the hang of it. I have also learned a lot about the 3:4 time. I now easily read music within the 3:4 time which I couldn't do before. I had always tried to play it as if it were 4:4. Such a rookie mistake, right?
Now what have I accomplished? I have written the first 25 measures of my song. This was my goal for this week. I had sat down one afternoon with a piano, Muse Score 2, and a little music know how. At the end of that afternoon, I had written 25 measure of the song. Out of those 25, you can see the first 20 in the image above.
So far, the things that have gone wrong are that the piano I had been using is out of tune and that the keyboard in the commons is non-functional due to the fact that the power cord is on its last... scratch that. It has no legs to speak of at this point. It doesn't give it any power and renders the poor keyboard useless. I now have to find a keyboard to use while I am not in Aliza's room.
My next course of action for this project is to ask if I can move the keyboard in Aliza's to Stephen's. After that, I need to start working on my cover art. I have a few ideas for the cover art, but I can't start working on it until I go out and take a few pictures for reference. By the next update, I shall have the cover art either completed or well on its way to being completed.
For this past week, I have only been at school for two days due to me being sick. While I was resting up at home, I had learned that I will have to change my schedule in order for it to work for me. My old schedule just won't work for me now because I have lost a lot of work time, which had thrown everything I had already planned off.
Although I have been sick, I have managed to start on my explanatory passage planned out and found out how long it really needs to be so that it will fit on a jewel disk case. Not only that, but I have started planning my cover art, how large it is going to be, what will be placed on the disks, and last but not least , I have started playing around with several Jazz styles to find the perfect match for my message. But, this has not come as easily as I would have liked it to. It took me three whole days to start planning four things because I have been sick. This would have taken me only about two days if I hadn't been resting and recovering from my illness.
At this current point, I believe that my next course of action will be to focus on the music, pick out the sub-genre of Jazz, and to start writing my song so that I at least have 20-25 measures of my song written my the end of next week.
I am planning on writing a long piece of music that tells a story. A story about a young man whom struggling with depression and anxiety. A story that expresses the emotional roller coaster forced upon people who struggle with the mental illness. A story that lets people know the real effects depression has on people. A story on how the intervention of medication helped save a life. This story is my story. But this song isn't going to be just telling a story. It is going to help raise awareness of what people with depression and anxiety have to go through day by day.
I will also burn about 20 disks, apply labels, create cover art, and write an explanatory passage for this one piece of music.
Because this project isn't student centered learning, it is audience based learning, it gives a major sense of freedom and control over our projects. To be honest, I still felt as if there wasn't as much freedom as we wanted, but I was being closed minded and had my idea set before I had heard everything. After I gave my original idea some more thought with the parameters required for this project I instantly realized that I had tons of option and paths that I could take my project that would effect some sort of audience. I am now really set on continuing this audience-centered learning and can't wait to truly get started.
So far, I have righted the wrong within my understandings and also set my original idea to the parameters so that I could still be passionate about this project, and so that I really understand where Stephen is coming from and where he wants us to go with this project. As for what is required for me to do next, I desperately need to start the song and figure out what genre will be the most effective at conveying the message that I desire to convey. I also need to start working on the passage so that I can have a few drafts done in order for me to focus on the song later.