New Nature Music Project

The last music project I was working on with my music teacher was the song that we started working on a while ago. Around a couple of weeks ago, we pretty much finished the whole song and I just need to fix a few minor things, but now my music teacher suggested starting something new.

After the song was finished, my music teacher mentioned how much time it took for us to finish it and said that he wanted to try making something a little bit faster. The new project is taking around a minute or so of nature B roll footage and writing music to fit the different settings’ themes.

To start, we took a few free stock videos from YouTube, and he showed me how we can upload videos into Logic Pro and work with it alongside the music. The next thing we did was work on what kind of feeling we wanted for the first setting. Our first setting is a tree in autumn with the leaves falling. We went with an open tuning for this project since it gives the chords a larger feeling that standard. The first week was just making a simple melody and layering the chords we chose. We had a set of main acoustic chords and also a set of high chords that we each record twice in order to be able to pan them from one ear to the other.

Next, we started thinking about our following setting which is a closeup angle of raindrops falling on the ground. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to use the harmonics of the open tuning so we went with those. After coming up with a repeatable section, we started thinking of ideas to fill other areas of the frequency spectrum since harmonics are quite high. In the end, we decided a palm-muted sort of baseline would fit well by contrasting the harmonics.

We’ve actually left around a bar or so of space in between the two settings that we haven’t written yet since we want to get down the main ideas of each individual setting first. Eventually, the plan is to go back and write some transitions since the feel of each setting is pretty different.

Overall we’re still working on the rain setting so far and still have two other sections to go, but it shouldn’t take as long as the other song did. I think that working with the video helps with coming up with some more original ideas that all fit into a certain theme.

Learning More On The Violin

After around two weeks of practicing the violin for school, I think that I’ve learned a few more things that have contributed to my progress in playing. This week I’ll write about some of the things I’ve learned in the past week.

One of the first things that I learned was that I’ve been tightening my bow a bit too tight when I played. A senior student in my class mentioned it to me while I was playing in class. The way you’re supposed to tighten the bow is so that you can fit a pinky in between the bow hairs and the stick. I thought that it meant that you could fit your pinky in between without moving the hairs. But apparently, the hairs should move a bit as you put your pinky in giving it more slack. It’s made the bow less bouncy when I play making my tone sound less scratchy.

I also learned how to play two octaves of the G Major scale from the open G string up to the first G on the E string. The teacher went over the fingerings for the notes in the scale. This makes it so that I have a better understanding of where each note is on the fingerboard so that I don’t have to rely on fingerings to play songs.

The last thing that I’ve been learning is slurring between notes. Right now in the practice book the songs are starting to use slurs, so I had to learn how to do them at least between two notes. Slurs are when you play more than one note in one bow stroke. For me, the hard part isn’t the left hand since it is pretty much just hammer-ons and pull-offs in guitar. However, coordinating the bowing hand so that I bow far enough to hear the second note is still kind of difficult.

Overall, those were the main things I’ve learned/been practicing. I’ve tried to do some vibrato, but it’s still pretty hard for me to implement it into actual playing. However, I think I’m still making some good progress in my playing, and learning the violin hasn’t actually been too hard so far.

Learning How To Play The Violin

My first period of the day this semester in highschool is music, so for the past week, I’ve been learning how to play the violin in class. I’ve never played an orchestral string instrument before, so here’s what my experience has been like with the violin so far.

When we first got a chance to play around with our instruments I kind of knew how the instrument worked, but I didn’t know any of the proper techniques or how to hold the instrument. The senior students and the teacher helped me with the proper way to hold the violin and bow, and I feel like I didn’t have too much trouble pressing notes down on the fingerboard though. Even after a few days I still have a bit of trouble keeping the bow straight in between the bridge and the fingerboard though.

Once all the new students had gotten a chance to get to know the proper way to play, we separated between the more experienced students and got to practice in a different room. Most of the pieces at the beginning of the practice book the teacher gave us were pizzicato pieces where you don’t use the bow, but you pluck the strings instead. For me, most of them weren’t too difficult since for fingerstyle guitar you’re already plucking with your fingers anyways. However, once we moved on to bowing notes I found it difficult to not only keep the bow straight but also only playing one string at a time. A lot of the times I end up unintentionally bowing the strings around the one I actually want to play on.

After a few more days we ended up attempting to play an easy piece along with the rest of the class, but the piece had a few notes that I didn’t exactly know how to play. Later I got one of the senior students to show me. The day after that we tried again with an even easier piece, but the teacher wrote out the notes in a different way from standard notation so I kind of got confused at certain spots.

For now, my other friends in the class and I have taken the practice books home to try and work on our basic skills. There are still a lot of techniques that we don’t know, but learning the fundamentals comes first. Overall, it’s been pretty fun playing and practicing. I’d say it’s a lot harder than guitar though since there aren’t any frets and bowing is a lot more difficult than plucking in my opinion.

First Week Of High School

This week was the first week of my first semester in high school, and I found it quite a bit different from elementary school. Last week I wrote about what I thought of my courses, but here’s what it was actually like.

On the first day of school, it was just the new grade 9 students. The schedule was kind of all over the place, so we started with an introductory assembly in the cafeteria where the principle and other staff told us all of the rules and things like that. After the assembly, most of the classes were just going over the course outline and getting forms that needed to be signed. When everyone finished visiting each of their classes we all did a scavenger hunt to get to know the school building better, and we also set up all our school accounts on the different websites teachers use.

The second day was when all the other students had their first day, so there was still not much work. Since my first-period music is mixed with other grades, it was still more forms going around. My second-period teacher for geography just put on a few videos for us to watch. At lunch, I got to see my brother’s friends which I mostly talked to online, so it was nice to see them again for a little bit. Third-period math was when we actually did some stuff. We took a diagnostic test on integers and fractions which we all learned about last year. When I got home I hade to brush up on how to divide fractions, but other than that I remembered everything else. My last period was gym but it was still mostly giving out forms and uniforms.

After the first two days, most of my classes started doing some more work. In music, we started trying out some of the instruments. For geography, we started with a little assignment regarding the videos we watched before. Math has mostly been problem-solving random puzzles, but starting Monday we’ll be reviewing more of grade 8 math. In gym, we did a few physical fitness tests and played a game of dodgeball, but that’s about it.

For the past few days I’ve mostly been catching up with my brother’s friends, but on Monday I plan on going back to having lunch with my other friends. After the first day of school, I haven’t had any problems finding my classes which I know some people had trouble with. Most of my teachers are alright, so I haven’t really had any problems yet. There still hasn’t been much talk about clubs besides a few sports team’s announcements, so there’s still that.

Overall, high school has been alright so far. I’m not struggling too much, but we still haven’t really started any work yet. I’ll probably update on the high school life once winter break starts, but for now, it hasn’t been anything special to me at least.