Journey to final growth

I have been trying to practice more consistently during these last few weeks before my final growth evidence to build my technique and improve on the things that I listed for my midterm growth. For the Rachmaninoff piece, I am focusing on making my chords and runs more clear and to add more dynamics and musicality when I play. Memorizing this piece was never a problem to begin with, and I definitely thought it would take longer for me to remember it again as I haven’t played it in so long. This is a comforting realization and a motivator for me to re-learn pieces I have played in the past for fun.

I’ve been having more difficulty with the Pathetique Sonata as it is my first time learning it and it is also much longer. I played up to the end of the exposition for the midterm, which meant I had a lot more to learn in order to play the whole piece from start to finish. As of right now, I feel a lot less comfortable playing the second half of the piece, and I am a tad worried that I will not be able to reach my goal. However, I will stay optimistic and keep on practicing to achieve my original goal of playing the whole piece with little or few mistakes. With a positive mindset and a consistent practice routine, I believe I can do it!

Final class

In the last class of this course, we talked briefly about virtual reality, augmented reality, and QR codes.

Virtual reality allows for students to experience different places and worlds without actually being there. Google cardboard is an example of a virtual reality headset by simply putting a smartphone into the viewer and opening a virtual reality app that can be downloaded from the app store. The virtual reality options are endless and it is a great way for kids to be engaged and suits all learning types especially for those who are visual learners. However, some people may experience nausea and it is not recommended for children under the age of 13 as it could disrupt certain parts of the brain.

QR codes are codes that can be scanned by a smartphone which leads to additional information in the form of a URL link. it is a super convenient way to share information and can be used by students and teachers for assignments and projects, on a bulletin board, worksheets, and helps to form professional develop connections. Augmented reality takes the idea of QR codes a little further. An app called “HP reveal” allows teachers to create hot spots on a piece of paper. When they are scanned, a 3-d object pops up and can bring students to audio files, pictures, and videos for deeper understanding of a concept.

Final music growth reflection

Since the midterm, I have managed to sing and play the ukulele at the same time and even learned another song! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be, as I was already thinking of the lyrics in my head while strumming the chords. With consistent practice, I was able to work on the following for the song “Can’t help falling in love”:

  1. Having a more relaxed strumming hand. Before, I was focused so much on what my left hand was doing and what chords to play that I didn’t pay much attention to what my strumming hand was doing. Now that I am more comfortable with the chords, I have a more relaxed strumming hand. However, there is definitely room for improvement especially during the bridge section with single downward strums.
  2. Smoother transition between chords. I had trouble with my chord transitions in the beginning, specifically shifting from one chord to the G chord and making sure that all the strings sound. With practice and better positioning of my ukulele, I am now able to move faster and more smoothly between different chords.
  3. Using different strumming patterns. For my midterm, I did a simple D-D strum for each chord of the entire song. I thought it would be good to change up the pattern so I did a D-D-U-U-D-U pattern for the second verse of the song.

Here is the link to the video of me playing this song:

The second song that I chose to learn is called “happier” by Ed Sheeran. This song only involves three chords (Am, F, and C) and they are on the easier side, so I decided to fingerpick the beginning part to make it sound more interesting and to make it more challenging. I like how this song lets me focus more on singing because the chords are simple and repetitive. One thing that I can work on for fingerpicking is making sure I don’t play the C string too loud. This can be hard to do because I use my thumb to play this string which is stronger than the rest of my fingers.

Here is the link:

Some things that I still have to work on include my thumb placement on the back of the fingerboard and making all my chords sound especially the transitioning to the G chord in “I can’t help falling in love.” I also want to experiment with using a pick for strumming. I will continue to work on these songs and fully memorize them so I can perform them to friends and family!

Music reflections

My greatest professional strength as an educator who will teach music is my natural ability to help and empathize with people. With my past experiences in taking music classes, I can apply the knowledge that I have learned into my teaching and help me to understand what my student’s needs are. I was once a student who knew nothing about music, but I remember a lot of the techniques my teachers have used to help me understand musical concepts that I can adapt and also use in my own teaching. Having these resources and my former teachers to ask for teaching advice will allow me to effectively help each individual student and meet their needs.

When I think about myself as a future educator teaching music, I picture having a piano in my classroom and playing the accompaniment to songs while my students sing. I feel extremely happy and excited to be sharing and teaching music to others, as it is a huge part of my life. I think that music is so important for the development of a child and for me to be a part of that is a wonderful feeling. Through my passion and enjoyment for music, I hope to create fun lessons that children will remember and impact students in a way where they will enjoy music too. I have a lot of ideas that I want to try out that I have developed through my many years of taking music lessons, my piano lesson teachings, as well as from this course and from my peers.

My greatest area of growth during the year/course has been in the area of integration of other subjects into music. Music is a universal language and can be tied into language arts through poetry and lyrics, math by counting rhythm and note values, science and socials through different song topics, and PE by playing active games with music or moving our bodies to create music. Before this course, I saw music as its own subject and wasn’t aware of all these different connections. By making cross-curricular connections, learning becomes more meaningful and purposeful for students’ learning.

Distributed Learning

In high school, I took a course online that was very self-paced and I had trouble staying motivated to complete what needed to be done. Because there wasn’t a specific teacher or supervisor that I was assigned to, there weren’t any guidelines for me to follow and it was up to me to set goals for myself and to determine how much time I wanted to put into it. Personally, I prefer face to face lectures as I feel more connected to the course material and the teacher. However, I can definitely see how some students may benefit from other ways of learning.

In this class, I have had the opportunity to be a part of two video conference sessions which was new for me, but they were very informative and it comes to show that learning can be effectively delivered in different ways other than a face to face lecture.

I think that distributed learning adds a new dimension for learning and it is nice to have a change from face to face lectures. Blended learning involves both face to face and online lectures. Not everyone can be present so distributed learning can help fit the box for those individuals. This way, they are able to be present and be able to learn. Not everyone has to go down the same path- there are different learning pathways that fit different students’ needs. Distributed learning can also help students with anxiety or those who live in a rural area who can connect with teachers online instead of having to travel for hours to school.

Coding with Microbit

This week, I decided to try out a different program called microbit. Although it is similar to scratch, it has the benefit of being able to switch to javascript which shows the actual coding that is happening. This feature helps me to understand the relationship between the blocks and the written code.

Similar to the module that we completely last week on scratch, I created another game using step-by-step instructions. This was called “rock, paper scissors“. There were many other lessons to choose from to program the microbit however you want, as well as a section for educators that contains curriculum materials and resources to teach students.

For the most part, the instructions to the lesson were easy to follow. However, because it was not the most descriptive and mainly showed where to put the blocks through pictures, it took me some time to find which blocks to use. There was one section where I had to create a new block that wasn’t already provided for me, so I spent a while trying to figure this out as the instructions did not state to do this. Overall, I had fun with this program and it’s a great way for students to use their creativity and develop skills in coding to make different games and animations. Click here to watch a video of us playing the game we created!

Password: microbit