The poem I chose is The Everlasting Voices by William Butler Yeats. I have taken time to figure out Flat and am starting to feel comfortable. A challenge I have had thus far is not coming up with ideas with good concepts that I’ve learned, but figuring out how to write them down in music has been tough. Nevertheless, this is good! This is why I am doing this final project, to get more comfortable with all the things I have learned.
At this point I have completed the Fundamentals of Music Theory course (except for the final exam). In reflecting on what I have gotten out of it, most of what I have learned has been solidifying music fundamentals. I began to learn actual music theory toward the end, and found it confusing and difficult. My title of my study is therefore a little bit of a misnomer, since it’s been mostly music fundamentals and less theory. There isn’t an issue with that— I really needed to get all the fundamentals down because my ultimate goal was to improve myself as a musician practically and I had a lot of holes in my fundamental knowledge. In order to truly learn the theory aspects, I will be beginning work on my final project, writing an original composition. I have found without practical application, I have trouble mastering concepts, so ending my coursework and trying to really put it into practice is definitely the best way for me to get the most out of this study. I will be trying to create a ‘bucket list’ of sorts of things I want to include in my final composition and will begin working on it. I have decided with Mr. Meyer that I will be writing a short composition for voice and piano using the lyrics of a poem. I have found a poem, which I will include in a separate post once I have surely decided it’s what I want to use. I will be using Flat.io to compose because it works a little bit like Google Docs in that it is easy to collaborate, so I can work closely with Mr. Meyer. I will have to spend some time learning how to use Flat, but I’m excited to get started with this!
What have you been learning so far? Give a brief summary.
I have been learning about key signatures, types of notes, note durations, chords, and about major and minor scales.
What has stirred your emotions? Anything delightful, intriguing, frustrating, shocking?
It has been a little frustrating to have a lot of concepts be things I just have to learn to memorize with practice; there’s no magic solution other than lots of practice.
Also, I didn’t expect so much math! There’s a lot of math involved with music theory concepts.
What new questions do you have about this topic?
I’m learning about how to create chords, but how do you deconstruct them?
How can the things I’ve learned be put together into songwriting?
What are you learning about your learning process?
Time needs to be set aside ahead of time in order to be most productive and efficient.
Review your blog posts so far. Have they opened up conversations or led to new learning?
I think my blog has been a good space for reflection and processing. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain things, but being forced to do so is helpful for processing.
What has been the most helpful thing that has come from meetings with your content advisor?
I really find the meetings helpful for hearing something explained in a different way, which really can help if I’m stuck.
What do you need to change?
I need to get better at scheduling my time for work, especially with how busy senior year is right now.
Do you need any help that you’re not currently receiving?
You’re officially a quarter of the way through your independent study. Time to consider how it’s going! Here are some questions to guide you. Respond in whatever form suits you best (blog post, slideshow, video, Google doc, other…) Please make sure to share it with your academic advisor, your IS advisor, and the IS Coordinator (Ms. Bessias).
What is exciting to you so far?
It has been really exciting to begin to see the things I’ve been missing in order to be a better musician. I hadn’t really realized before that I didn’t really understand key signatures, but now that I have learned more I know it’s just something I can practice.
What is surprising or frustrating?
Technological hiccups have been frustrating so far. I hopefully will be able to fix my issues by updating my computer, but if not I will have to keep trying different solutions.
What are you learning about learning?
I am learning that it can be hard to self-guide one’s own learning. It’s hard to maintain consistency and a schedule of work with so much else going on. I am really glad I did an independent study because it’s really forcing me to figure out the best ways to manage myself.
Where are you recording information, ideas, questions, resources, etc.? And how do you anticipate using this material, either in this project or in the future?
I am recording information in a hand-written notebook. I anticipate looking back on my notes for reflecting, refreshing, etc.
How is your time management working out? When and where have you been doing the IS, and have you been meeting the 5 hr/week expectation?
Time management has been working out pretty well but is still a challenge. I have been doing my independent study when I don’t have a lot of other work to do, whether that’s at home during the week or during a free free period.
Is there any need for change in the way you’re approaching this course?
Refer to the proposal you submitted for approval. In what ways does the reality match the proposal, and in what ways does it differ? How would you adjust the proposal to reflect what you’re doing and expect to do between now and the end of the semester?
I started my study late, so my work so far is very similar to my plan because I am just following an online course plan. For that reason, I really wouldn’t have to adjust my proposal at this point. Nevertheless, in the future, I might finish work early or late, so the timeline of my study might change and in addition the final product.
One of the most frustrating things so far in the process of this independent study has been not having access to my blog for a while and not knowing how to get in. Finally, it turned out that I needed to update to MacOS Montery, which was difficult to do, but once I did, I worked like a charm! The main issue is Montery requires up to 40 GB of storage, almost a third of what we get on our laptops. Something I found helpful was using the “Clear Disk Space” button in Self Service which instantly clears space, especially from the mysterious “Other” category of storage space which usually takes up a ton of room.
Last week, one of the most interesting concepts I learned about was the Circle of 5ths. It was a little complicated and difficult to understand at first, but with help from Mr. Meyer, I was able to figure it out. I learned that starting at C, every time you go up a perfect 5th, 7 semitones across 5 notes, you add a sharp to the key signature. This is because a major scale must have two whole steps, a half step, three more whole steps, and finally one more half step. If you were playing this on a piano, you could just start at middle C and use only the white keys and stay in C Major, however, for every 5th you go up, you must use an additional sharp in order to keep the major pattern. The order that sharps are added are FCGDAEB, which can be remembered with the mneumonic “Father Christmas Gave Dad An Electric Blanket”. When going down perfect 5ths from C, you add a flat, in the reverse order that you add the sharps (BEADGCF). This can be remembered with the mneumonic “Blanket Exploded and Dad Got Cold Feet”. The circle of 5ths helps musicians learn key signatures and explains how they are formed. Eventually, this should be something that is memorized and automatic, but in the beginning, this is a good aid.