In-Depth #4

My in-depth has been progressing well over the past few weeks, and the extra time during spring break allowed me to practice and progress more than usual. I selected a final piece to work on: Girl from Ipanema, and I’m beginning to add more to my other two pieces. Although my last meeting was only yesterday, and I haven’t had much time to practice this new piece, I’ve attached a short recording of a simple adaptation of the first verse below.

 

My mentor agreed that it’s a good idea to practice simple ideas while I get used to the chart and then later add more complex parts.

As for the other pieces, we discussed some more complex rhythms that I could add. Since each of my pieces is in a different style, there are different things I can try with each of the pieces.

During the session, I realized that I struggle to put together the piano part and the vocal part. For the purpose of this project, my mentor and I decided to focus on adapting the piano parts specifically to accompany voice. When I practiced on my own time, I didn’t focus on adding the vocal part, since that isn’t the main part of my study, and I assumed that it would be simple to put together. However, during our last session, I realized that I struggle to play both parts simultaneously; in the future, I will be sure to practice the piano and the voice together.

What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

Recently, social distancing measures have made it difficult to have traditional meetings, so we’ve transitioned to video call meetings. Although this transition went pretty smoothly, there are certain aspects of our meetings that are difficult to conduct over a call. Most notably, we used to play along with each other to work on chording/ rhythm up to tempo, but the delay on video chats makes this difficult. At our last meeting, which was conducted via video chat, I was struggling to get some of the rhythms correct in one of the pieces, and it was difficult to fix this issue without being able to play together. To aid this, my mentor suggested some things I could try on my own time to help me. 

What is working well? Why?

I feel like the general style of learning and discussion we have in our sessions works well for me. I do my own practice at home, and during our meetings we spend less time on review and more time on moving forward. In the formal piano lessons I used to take, we spent a surplus of time discussing issues that I now can fix on my own time. This way, we spend more time during meetings moving forward and discussing new things that I can try. 

What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

Personally, I feel like my most prominent issue so far has been lack of communication during meetings. I often avoid asking for clarification when needed, and although I’ve always been able to figure out the missing information, it would be easier for me to simply ask for the information to be repeated. This issue can be easily resolved; I’ll be sure to be more aware during our next meeting in order to ensure that I’m asking for clarification when necessary.

During the past few weeks, I’ve begun to see my pieces come together more and more; I’m really excited what else I can accomplish in the coming weeks.

In-Depth #3

My In-Depth project has been progressing well. In addition to Isn’t She Lovely, I’ve begun to work on a new piece, Fly Me to the Moon. My mentor said that she feels like these are both very good selections for me, as the chords are somewhat simple, and they both have repeating sections, which allows me to try a few different approaches throughout the verses. She also mentioned that these pieces, although containing similar elements, have a different enough style that it allows me to try a few different types of techniques. I haven’t selected my final piece yet, but we discussed some potential options.

What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

During my sessions, I’ve noticed that my mentor has an effective way of teaching me this specific skill; since the point of my project is to be able to improvise piano accompaniment, I need to learn what kind of chord structures, patterns, etc will be effective in certain situations. My mentor helps me by giving me suggestions on certain chords and rhythms to try, and then gives me the freedom to adapt and try new things as I get more comfortable. I also enjoy the fast pace of our sessions, as it allows us to get a lot done in the short time we have together while I can do my own self directed learning on my own time. 

What learning challenges emerged?

So far, my biggest learning challenge has probably been re-adapting to an effective practicing schedule. Since I took piano lessons in the past, I know what kind of schedule is necessary to build muscle memory and make progress. After taking a break from actively practicing piano, I’ve noticed that I’ve struggled to re-establish a consistent practice schedule.

What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?

Although this isn’t a strategy to use during a session, I feel that I could learn more effectively if I further improved my fundamental knowledge of scales, chords, sightreading, etc. During meetings, I occasionally feel like I’m held back by the time that it takes me to read the charts, and if I spend some more time working on fundamental technique, I’d probably get more out of each session. 

I also feel like I could get more out of each session if I wrote more comprehensive notes on the music I’m playing. Most notably, my teacher gives a lot of suggestions on potential elements to add to certain parts of the piece, and I could probably have more to work from if I more clearly recorded each suggestion and why it would be effective. 

Finally, I also feel as if I more clearly articulated my ideas for each piece. Since a lot of my project is improvisation-based, my mentor and I often talk about different things I could potentially incorporate. Often, when I’m at home, I try lots of different approaches, but I don’t keep a record of them, so it becomes difficult to recall them during a conversation. To aid this issue, I can write down certain things that I tried and liked. This way, I can discuss it with my mentor, and I also have a good way to see that kind of thing I like to incorporate. 

I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished so far on my in-depth, and I’m having a great time re-exploring a skill that I let become “rusty”. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of my project!

In-Depth #2

My mentor, Liz, teaches all levels of piano and music theory professionally, which evidently, are crucial aspects of my project. Liz also specializes in Jazz, and although I’m not studying Jazz specifically, keyboard improvisation and Jazz piano are closely related, and many of the concepts in Jazz piano are applicable to keyboard harmony/ improv and vice versa.

During my first meeting, I brought 1 lead sheet to begin working on: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. We discussed common aspects of keyboard harmony, but focused on distributing the chords between the left hand, right hand, and voice part. We also looked at the music that I brought and discussed some ways I could approach it.

So far, we’ve been looking at various chord structures/ patterns that are commonly used, and hopefully, I’ll soon be able to utilize these seamlessly, but for now, I’ve been predetermining several ways that I could approach each piece. I’ve been practicing my pieces at home, and I’ve been making an effort to try playing it differently each time. I’ve also been trying to practice basic techniques like scales/ chords, since I have to relearn a lot of fundamental knowledge.

 

In Depth #1

It’s finally time to start In-Depth 2020! After enjoying last year’s project so much, I’m looking forward to what these next few months have in store.

This year, I’ve decided on studying keyboard harmony/ composition on the piano. Even as someone with piano experience, I’ve often struggled to play music off of leadsheets in an interesting way. Even while technically playing the chords and the notes, there is so much more that can be added to the music through improvisation and embellishments. Hopefully, these skills can also be applied to my own chord progressions, and the skills gained during this study will eventually allow me to write more complex and interesting progressions.

Although I haven’t found a mentor yet, I’m actively searching for a qualified person who’s willing to mentor me. Until then, I’m still practicing the minimal skill I have, and doing some research online to find some basic skills that I can hopefully begin applying soon. I look forward to really beginning my project in the next few weeks!

 

Eminent Introduction

It’s in your DNA to be a Filipino; how can you just turn your back on it?

Lea Salonga is widely regarded as an iconic figure in Filipino culture, as she was one of the first Filipinos to become a widely recognized musician in North America. Born in Manila in 1971, Lea began studying music at a young age. At age 7, she made her musical theatre debut in a local production of The King and I. At age 10, she recorded her first album, Small Voice, which was certified gold in the Philippines. After years of gaining fame in the Philippines, Lea’s big break was in 1989 when the producers of Miss Saigon London expanded their search for leads into Asia. At age 17, Lea moved to London to play the lead in Miss Saigon, a musical which would eventually lead to her winning a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, making her the first Asian woman to win a Tony award. After Miss Saigon, Lea went on to play roles in Les Miserables, and eventually voiced protagonists in both Disney’s Aladdin and Mulan

Throughout her career, Lea has advocated for the preservation of Filipino culture through music and has yet to forget where her roots are from. In 2007, Salonga was awarded the Order of Lakandula, one of the highest honors in Philippine culture. She earned this award due to her “outstanding dedication in fostering mutual understanding, cultural exchange, justice and dignified relations among persons and nations”. This simply goes to show that her efforts to promote her culture don’t go unnoticed. Growing up partially Filipino, I often see her influence on many Filipino individuals, especially on musicians. She’s an idol to many who often feel underrepresented in their profession. 

Post-Secondary Options Research: Secondary Education

University of British Columbia

Costs

  • $12,810.23 for 11 months
    • 11 month program total
  • $5100 – $7000 residence

Prerequisites

  • Secondary School
  • 3 year degree (Bachelor) in another subject
    • 6 credits in English Literature or Composition
    • Specific Credits in at least one teachable subject
    • 65% average

Timeline

  • Any 3 year program before entrance into this program
  • 11 month program

Reputation

  • 51st best university in the world(QS World University Rankings® 2018)
  • 3rd best in Canada (Huffington Post, 2019)

Structure

  • Co-op option
  • No part time study option

Location

  • Approximately 1 hr drive from my house
  • Approximately 2 hr transit from my house

 

McGill University

Costs

  • $8,964.26 per year 
    • 4 year program
  • $3,700 – $11,500 for residence

Prerequisites

  • Secondary School (no additional degree required)
    • English 12 or French 12
    • Four additional academic high school courses

Timeline

  • 4 year program

Reputation

  • 35th best university in the world (QS World University Rankings®)
  • 2nd best in Canada (Huffington Post, 2019)

Structure

  • Co-op option
  • No part time study option

Location

  • Montreal
    • $3,700 – $11,500 for residence

 

University of Victoria

Costs

  • $6,266 for 8 months
    • 16 month program
  • $5,500 – $9,000 for residency + meal plan

Prerequisites

  • Secondary School
  • 3 year degree (Bachelor) in another subject
    • GPA of at least 3.0
  • 3.0 credits of English

Timeline

  • Any 3 year program before entrance into this program
  • 16 month program

Reputation

  • 35th best university in the world (QS World University Rankings®)
  • 2nd best in Canada (Huffington Post, 2019)

Structure

  • Co-op option
  • No part time study option

Location

  • Victoria
    • $5,500 – $9,000 for residency + meal plan

 

Another option:

Concurrent Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education at McGill (also offered at Windsor University)

Costs

  • $10,429.04 per year
    • 5 year program
  • $3,700 – $11,500 for residency

Prerequisites

  • Secondary School
    • English 12 or French 12
    • Four additional academic high school courses

Timeline

  • 5 year program
    • Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education are integrated throughout the 5 years

Reputation

  • 346th best university in the world (QS World University Rankings®)

Structure

  • No co-op option
  • No part time study option

Location

  • Montreal
    • $3,700 – $11,500 for residence

 

Career Research

Secondary School Teacher

Education

  • Bachelors Degree in Education
    • Undertaken after another degree (typically in the arts or sciences)
  • Specialized training in their specific subject
  • Provincial teaching certificate

Salary

  • Median Salary in BC is $74,277
  • Hourly rates:
    • High: $51.92/hr
    • Median: $35.71/hr
    • Low: $21.54/hr

Tasks

  • Prepare course material and teach it to students effectively
  • Teach students using various mediums and methods
  • Mark assignments, projects, and tests
  • Assist students in and out of school hours as necessary
  • Attend meetings, workshops, etc

Stability

  • 61% of teachers work full time
  • No work or pay over summer, winter, and spring break

Hours

  • School Hours during the week
    • Marking, lesson planning, and extra activities are all on personal, unpaid time
  • Recent graduates are TOCs for several years until they are considered for permanent positions

Skills Required

  • Clarity in instructing
  • Knowledgeable
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication

 

Composer/ Arranger

Education

  • Degrees in composition are extremely beneficial but not necessary

Salary

  • Median Salary in BC is $34,695
  • Often self-employed

Tasks

  • Create original compositions for TV shows, movies, video games, artists/ specific groups, etc
  • Change and adapt existing compositions

Stability

  • Predicted 1.5% market growth by 2028
  • Often self-employed/ by commission
  • 39% of workers working full time

Hours

  • Often self-employed

Skills Required

  • Technical musical ability
  • Judgment
  • Communication
  • Coordination

 

Clinical Psychologist

Education

  • in BC, you need a doctoral degree in psychology to get registered as a psychologist 
  • Must be registered with the  College of Psychologists of British Columbia (CPBC)
    • Have a doctoral degree in psychology
    • Pass a written test
    • Fulfill practical experience requirements 

Salary

  • $71,490 median salary in BC
  • High hourly rate: $56.95/hr
  • High median rate: $34.37/hr
  • High low rate: $12.65/hr

Tasks

  • Analyze behavior and diagnose issues
  • Help patients through various health issues (mental, physical, and more)
  • Coach patients to reach their goals
  • Utilize therapeutic techniques in order to help patients

Prospects

  • High demand in BC
  • 200 new job openings in BC expected by 2023

Stability

  • 36% of workers are working mostly fulltime

Hours

  • Hours vary wildly from person to person

Skills Required

  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Reading comprehension
  • Decision making

 

All statistics from WorkBC