Sunday, June 8, 2014

This is the End!

1) Wow this year flew by! Can't believe Tedx was Saturday and I actually accomplished bringing my beginning piano skills back up to where they used to be, and even a little bit farther. It's been an amazing journey! I enjoyed 20 time once I realized it didn't have to be this massive impressive project. When I took on something too big it seemed to ruin my life, I had quite a few emotional break downs, and the overall stress was That may have just been me being weird but still. I think I was happier in the end with my little project and even though it didn't get me an article in the tower, or mentioned on CNN, or get me attention from my peers, who cares as long as I was happy right? 

2) I think one thing that should be adjusted next year is the use of the class time we are given. To be honest when we watched the Ted videos I thought it was a waste of my time because it seemed like every time we watched a video, those were the Fridays I actually had work to do. So for the future, see if the class collectively is interested in watching the Ted videos, because a lot of times our class (myself included) kinda zoned out during the videos, and I think it's a shame. If kids are truly interested in the Ted Talks, they will watch the videos on their own time. Another thing I think should be changed, is the requirement of having a mentor. Yes some projects require this but others don't. My piano project didn't really require a mentor because I learn better on my own. I get less frustrated when there's no one around judging me while I'm playing. So I think for the future, let the students decide if they will need an official mentor, if not they can always ask others for help, but otherwise having a mentor can be a chore and slightly unnecessary. 

3) I think the overall freedom shouldn't be changed, and I hope the overall enthusiasm won't be changed. I like how it didn't require a textbook or anything "schoolish" and I think that should remain because once it becomes a chore, students will check out, and I think the majority of people's passion for the project will diminish.

4) I'm kind of indifferent about this to be honest. I think 20 time was great to spur creativity and to help students find themselves. However there are aspects to the project like how you can't fairly grade everyone's project. They're all different, and to me they all deserve A+'s because students put their heart and souls into it and even if they fail at their project, a nice grade is a good reflection of their hard work. I think 20 time is good but it is an interesting concept that for sure would not work in all classroom settings. Traditional methods of teaching have been working for what seems like forever. Yes schools can kill creativity, but again with the grades, colleges like creativity and they also like good grades. Kids can't get into Harvard based soley upon their ability to be creative. Also it seems like some projects could be judged unfairly and "ranked" based on the teacher's liking of the project.

5) I would say to students next year do something you know you're capable of. Pick something you love and run with it. No matter how hard it gets don't cop out. I slightly regret giving up on cupcakes, I feel like it could have worked if I was on my own. A piece of advice, if they were going to work with a partner make sure the partner is just as passionate as you are, because it won't work if you are the driving force of the project and you have to drag the other person along. Basically I think working alone is better because you can do things on your own time without worrying. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Are We There Yet

This week I chose to play Are We There Yet by Ingrid Michaelson. I really like this song because its not something you hear on the radio, but its also not too far out there. It was a little challenging to learn some of the chords in the song but after 3 weeks of working on it, the song finally started sounding like music.

So my Ted talk is Wednesday and I'm really excited to present. From all the talks I've heard, they're all the same. They all talk about college, they all talk about how great 20 time is, but not that many focus strictly on their projects. I think mine is different because I don't have many slides and I tried not to focus on those things so as a class, it's not like listening to a broken record. Everyone is doing a fantastic job though, they're prepared and have good points and ideas, I just hope I can rise to the challenge of giving my talk. I'm not overly worried about delivery because I'm used to being on stage and having a spotlight on me, so hopefully all will be well when it comes time to speak.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


This week the song I did was Sad by Maroon 5. I've always liked this song, I didn't quite do it justice, but its for Drew. He was so young and I wish I had known him better, but to get to the point this song is for him and about regrets we have.

So my presentation is on hold until Wednesday because of the AP US AP test, I really need to study more... I'm also pretty confident in my public speaking skills, and my ability to get up in front of large crowds of people thanks to choir, musicals, and other things of that nature. I know exactly what I'm doing. I even have bullet points going on Evernote. I just haven't practiced yet. I have been practicing a few songs so I have the option of playing them during my talk since it was okayed by Mr. Provenzano. Hopefully the Ted X conference will come together more over the next few weeks, because I really want everything to go well with that! I don't really want to speak the day of the conference, I'd much rather just be stage manager and help things run smoothly.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


This week I chose Stay by Rihanna. I really like this song and the piano that accompanies it in the recording. Mine doesn't quite do it justice because my playing isn't there yet and my voice isn't like hers, but hey, at least I tried!

Over the course of spring break, I enjoyed my staycation and actually got some work done. I learned a few new songs that I'm saving because they aren't quite ready. I also have been writing down the chords I need to learn because certain songs require different chords I'm not familiar with like Fadd9, Gsus4, Cmaj7, F#m, and C#m. These are not chords I learned in piano lessons when I was younger and I am eager to master them in order to make my playing better!

My presentation is coming along. I have started writing my ideas down and I've been working on my power point. Thankfully while I was still doing my cupcake business I took pictures of the cupcakes so those will be nice to add to my presentation, we weren't complete slackers after all. I still have to select my song for the presentation, and see if playing during my presentation is actually going to be possible. I don't really know if it's a necessary part to my presentation, but I think the challenge of memorizing a song is one I can handle, and it would really show how far I have come during this project. I plan to talk about failure at least a little bit since my first project was a failure, but also the positive side to my failure and what it led me to do. I have to figure out what the heck relaxation and music have to do with each other which will require a bit of research but I want to know a lot about my topic so I come off as intelligent and well read.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

So the song I did this week is Oceans (Where Feet May Fily) By Hillsong UNITED. It is religious but I just really liked the song, and this project is about doing something you love right? I also sang in this video because it didn't sound right without the vocals with it so that's a new aspect to my recordings.

This week was the deadline to know what my TED talk is going to be about and I have officially decided on relaxation through music. The main reason I chose to speak about it is because I don't think anyone on a previous TED talk has talked about relaxing and music together so I'm at least original in my idea, but I also couldn't think of anything else to talk about so there's that. If all goes well I'm hoping to speak without slides or with only a few. My talk doesn't need visual aids because music is about listening so I don't want to bombard people with visuals and sounds and other distractions. I want my talk to be about me, but also be interesting, and somewhat educational. Hopefully people will walk away from my talk relaxed, and maybe even enlightened on a good way to unwind after a long day.

Last weekend I gave a speech in front of my church that was five minutes long, and about church related things. It wasn't memorized but it was just me in front of my entire church giving my thoughts, which was pretty scary. Although I didn't win the speech competition it was my fourth year doing it and I have won twice in previous years. I think that definitely will help with giving my TED talk at least in front of the class, and hopefully in front of the large crowd when we have TEDx Grosse Pointe South. I at least know how to deliver something and write out a script so I know everything I want to say and the message I want to convey which is half the battle of giving a speech.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When You Wish Upon a Star

So over the past 2 weeks I have been practicing how to play "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Disney's Pinocchio and it was not easy...There are so many sharps and flats and chords that were not easy to play, that even with two weeks it still sounds rough. I may replay that one in a few weeks when I practice it more.

I decided the next piece I'm going to play is Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong UNITED, because I really like the song, but instead of buying the sheet music for the song (keep in mind it's about 9 minutes long) I'm just going to learn the chords for it and use my Evernote notebook to write down the order the chords go with the lyrics. I'm also considering singing too but I haven't decided on that or not. It's really difficult to play and sing at the same time as I have discovered from just humming along while practicing. So I have to learn to play a B minor, C with A sharp, D major, G major, and E minor chords, and then figure out the order so I can play the song. Luckily it's slow so it hopefully won't be that hard but I'm still nervous. I'm hoping if I can figure out how to turn chords into the actual song, I'll be able to do it for other pop songs so I won't be restricted to my limited resources with sheet music.

B minor: E, D, F#
C/A#: C, E, A#
D: D, F#, A
A: A, C#, E
G: G, B, D
E minor: E, G, B

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Feed the Birds

This week I played Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins. I've never really liked the movie very much but I love Julie Andrews so I would always watch it with my older sister Sophia (it's one of her favorites). Its a pretty easy song but I will admit I didn't practice it that much because I was super busy...My time management skills are really lacking and I know that I should put this project before going on my phone, but sometimes it's hard to treat this like it actually is worth a grade. It doesn't seem like school in the traditional sense to me.

I'm thinking about playing Someone's Waiting For You in my presentation. I really like playing it and also I feel like its right at the level of difficulty I want to be at. It isn't final but it definitely is one of my front runners to play. I am kind of hoping to dedicate more time to my project now that we don't have to blog every week, but at the same time, soccer is starting. I know I can come up with all the excuses in the world to put this off, but one of the things I am learning from this project is relaxing and easing up on the stress about school because it seriously isn't worth it 99% of the time.