In-Depth Post #2, Bonding as a Band

On Saturday the 24th of January, Tim, Kody, Nicole and I met at my house for the first our first band practice. It wasn’t so much of a practice as it was a bonding experience, because we were all still trying to understand and learn the basics of our instruments. We each took turns playing for each other and demonstrating what we had learned so far. Aside from that, we did a lot of planning. The main issue was choosing a singer, which is still a little up in the air, but I think we have it narrowed down to two options. Either, all of us will sing a song, or tim will pose as our lead singer. As it turns out, Rock Band proved to be very useful in choosing a singer. We had each person sing one of the songs from our list which the others attempted to play along on their instruments. This also really helped with team bonding, which I think will be very good as we delve further into this project.

Band Practice

As for myself, I think I am grasping onto the basics of drumming pretty well. I have started to get the feel for the drum kit and I can now play ‘Today’ by the Smashing pumpkins at a VERY slow tempo. My parents still run upstairs and hide in their bedroom while I practice, but for the first time my sister stayed downstairs, so I think that means I must be improving. I’m still working out the rhythms of the other four pieces. Who knew Green Day would end up being the hardest piece to play? From the start I was under the impression that it wold be Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ that would the trickiest for me to play, not that I can play that one yet either. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a mentor. However, my younger sister’s piano instructor knows a drummer that she thinks would be a great mentor. His band isn’t super popular, but I was able to listen to his music on his band’s sound cloud page and I really like their pieces. My sister’s piano teacher has contacted him and she said she will get back to me shortly. Fingers crossed he says yes.

Moving along to the ‘How to Have a Beautiful Mind’ portion of the blog post. As I said above, I still have yet to meet my mentor, but I do believe that I can make some assumptions as to what will happen.

How To Agree:
I believe that it will be very easy for my mentor and I to agree, as we share the same interest (drums) and hopefully will want to hear what each person has to say. As the student I also really want to understand his point of view on drumming and be a teachable student, which requires me to be agreeable. At this point, I also lack the knowledge to really disagree with anything my mentor says unless it is something opinion based and not a cold, hard fact. I think, in the end, the real key to agreeing with someone is listening with them and and being open minded and not being condescending or negative about their opinions. Its easy to be agreeable, you just have to stay positive.

How To Disagree:
I don’t believe that there will be many disputes or disagreements between me and my future mentor because, as I said above, I really want to put an effort into being a teachable student. I strongly believe that being a teachable student will allow me to learn and gain the most out of this experience. However, if or when a disagreement occurs it’s always good to approach the topic delicately. It is unnecessary to cause an argument over something that can be solved by talking through it and sharing both sides of the story till you can come to a compromise, or simply agree to disagree. In other words, stay calm, you don’t always have to agree.

How To Differ:
I am an opinionated person and there are times where my opinion may differ from my mentors, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If we always had the same opinion our conversations would be very bland and, frankly, it would be kind of weird. Its good to share your different opinions with each other and show the different methods to gain a deeper understanding. I think that talking about our different opinions in particular, will help me truly understand the drums from multiple perspectives. If I ever reach a point where my opinion is completely different from my mentors then sometimes I may also keep it to myself because sharing it may cause  more harm than good.

 

 

 

The Challenges That Come With Being A Leader

Challenge One: Tension

1. This is an area where I could use work in. When my tension levels build up, more times than not, I will crack and depending on the situation I might start yelling or crying or both. I find in public situations the best way to deal with the tension is to take breath and talk with your group members to find a compromise. Generally at this point, with a compromise agreed upon, you can them divide the work load evenly throughout group members and immediately decrease both the tension and stress. If I am alone and in a quite place to clam myself down I will either play piano or listen to music. There is a part of me that wants to explode when I reach a certain amount of stress and anxiety levels that always leads me towards loud music such as, Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco etc. Loud music may not be the most typical or conventional way of calming down, but its how I relieve my tension.

Challenge Two: Frustration

1. When I find myself following a leader who is ineffective the first approach I would take would be to try to help them improve and to show them where they might be going wrong. However, some people are naturally stubborn people and won’t want to hear out what you have to say. The thought of change can scare these people. Instead, and effective way around it would be to add value by helping others be more productive and leading the group from the sidelines. Create an environment where the leader is no longer holding all the responsibilities and is not longer in charge of everything. An environment where the company or organization is carried by its teamwork and corporation and by the contributions of all the group members.

Challenge Three: Multi-Hat

3. Over the course of a few years a bad habit of mine was to slightly change my personality under difference circumstances. It wasn’t that I became a different person. I was still always loud, confident, and a bit sarcastic, and quite frankly, kinda weird. But I changed how I interacted with people. The tone of voice and the manner in which I spoke to my parents, different friend groups and my teachers were all different and all these sets of people saw me a slightly different way. Looking back on it, I think inadvertently lost some trust with the people around me.

Challenge Four: Ego

1. I tend to spend more energy on production over promotion. While I do talk about my projects with my classmates in the hallways, I like to put my effort into the production and produce something that goes above and beyond. When people first meet me, they would probably say I spend more time on promotion. I won’t lie, I do speak very confidently and share big ideas, but I, unlike a lot of people, like to put those ideas into action and actually follow through with them. I enjoy spending more energy on the production because it makes me excited and proud of myself when the outcome is grand.

Challenge Five: Fulfilment

1. Being a person who enjoys being out front, I can speak from first hand experience. There are disadvantages and advantages to being in both an up front position and a position off to the sidelines. For myself, the advantages to being up front are more appealing. When you are up front you are the “boss”. You are the one who is in charge. You have to listen to other peoples ideas and make compromises to satisfy as many members of the group possible. This satisfies my need to be a “control-freak”. I can be in control and divide up the tasks to the appropriate people and not have ALL the tasks and projects weighing down on my shoulders. At the same time being out front means you are the face of the project, grout or organization and you are the one who needs to do the quick thinking and problem solving on the spot and if anything goes wrong it comes back to you. Many times you become the person people will blame for mistakes made by the group. There are always pros and cons to both sides, it just depends which one out ways the other for your own personality.

Challenge Six: Vision

1. I would rather see my own vision put into action and come to fruition, as I can assume many others would as well. It makes me proud to see my ideas come to life and I find a certain enjoyment in seeing my project/ideas succeed. Of course, there is no guarantee that it will succeed, but you can always hope. And if I got to see my own vision carried out then we would get to see the official outcome, which is something I can’t help but always be curious about.

Challenge Seven: Influence

3. I work through compromises. I hear out everyone to show that they are included and I care about them and what they have to say. I try to include a piece of everyones ideas to show each person that they are as much a part of this project as everyone else. I also try to make sure that each person has an even workload and that each person gets to work on a portion of the project that they will enjoy. Overall, I think show that I care through inclusion. I like to show each person that they are needed and important and that I do care about them and what they have to offer to the group.

 

The Myths of Leadership: My Opinions

Myth One: Position Myth

1. When it comes to achieving results and helping others become more productive it doesn’t matter whether you are the top position or you are floating around in middle of the hierarchy. To achieve results, however small they may seem, it takes time and effort. On top of that, it takes a leader to help others with their work and keep everyone on task. One thing to always remember when trying to help people become more productive is to NOT take-over their work. In other words, don’t become a “control freak”. Releasing control and putting trust in other people can be hard. I know, because I struggle with it myself. But, in the end, if you try to take on everything the weight of all the work and stress builds up and soon you, yourself will break and the whole operation will come crashing down. It takes the whole team (the “bosses” and the “middle-class workers”) to hold up an organization and achieve maximum results.

Myth Two: Destination Myth

2. Ever since I was a little girl, it has come naturally to me to step up and lead others. And if you were to ask, I could not tell count on my fingers the numerous amounts of times I have stepped up to become a leader. It has never been my style to be very quite about it. I tend to be more of an up-front leader. I take charge, and yes, sometimes I take on too much and become a bit of a “control freak”. But, I have been slowly working on putting more faith and trust in others. Over the past couple years I have been loosening the reins and designating equal parts of work to each group member. I have realized that as a leader I prefer to stay on equal ground with everyone and hear their ideas. I don’t strive to be the one at the top of the group hierarchy. As I said above, it takes a team that is united and carries the load equally to have the best results, even if there is a designated leader.

Myth Three: Influence Myth

1. Ever sinceI was a little girl, I have always had been very opinionated and if I don’t share the same opinion as someone then I have a hard time following them. In a case where I don’t share the same opinions my “boss”, generally I will speak up and try to form a compromise, but I also have no problem following or supporting someone who doesn’t have  an official leadership title. While a leadership title is important and many people who are higher up in the ranks are very qualified this doesn’t mean that following/supporting someone without an official leadership title is wrong. There have been many times where I have supported a student in my class who I believed was right, rather than my teacher or my “boss”. Its no guarantee that you will “win” by following someone without an official leadership title, but if you can form a group that is strong in numbers, that alone will help support your case without the leadership title.

Myth Four: Inexperience Myth

3. Facts and opinions are different things. One is black and white, while the other is a spectrum from black to white with infinite shades of grey in between. When it come to opinion based issues, regardless of whether you think you are right or wrong, you should hear out and consider other peoples opinions. Who knows? They might change your opinion and sway you to their side. There isn’t one thing that prompts me to hear out someone else’s opinions, its just something I believe you should do. Because, like I said, they’re opinions, which means the correct answer isn’t just black and white (right or wrong).

Myth Five: Freedom Myth

2. Yes, I do believe that when you move up in an organization, the weight of your responsibility increases. With a more important leadership title hanging over your head, more people start to look up to you. You become in charge of many more people and their projects on top of your own. You become the face of leader in the centre of attention, the one that everyone knows as the leader or boss. You aren’t leading from the sidelines anymore and the weight of your responsibility will increase.

Myth Six: Potential Myth

1. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I believe that she said this in the best way possible. You don’t have to feel inferior to your “boss” or a person with a higher leadership role than you. There will be times when people with higher leadership roles than you will want you to feel inferior to them because it makes them feel more powerful, but in the end its your choice how you feel. Many times people fall under this impression that they are inferior to others above them. That they can’t lead from the sidelines. That they are lesser and have no right to step up or speak out. This is false. These people need to alter their views and change the way they look at their position. Instead of feeling inferior, they can feel superior…or equally included (superior  just created a better concluding sentence).

Myth Seven: All-or-Nothing Myth

1. Being labeled as a CEO doesn’t make you a leader, it makes you the CEO and the guy that gets paid a higher salary. Many of the greatest leaders in organizations are people who lead from the middle. People with no significant leadership roles. These people lead by helping others and taking on extra weight without being the centre of attention. In fact, many of these people will go completely unnoticed. But, these are the true leaders that keep a company or organization from falling to pieces. You shouldn’t give up on leading altogether because you don’t have an official leadership title, you could become the best leader and the person people come to even without the title.

 

The Beginnings of a Band

Since last years In-Depth night, this has been my most looked forward too project of the year. Approximately one week after seeing everyones projects I knew I wanted to do something that had to do with filmmaking/editing. I didn’t know what or even how, just that it was something I already loved and wanted to get a better understanding of. Funny enough, when it came time to start my in-Depth project I completely switch gears, looks like Im playing drums. Tim, Jackson and I have decided to form a band ‘Dysfunctional Eagles’, each one of us playing different instruments and still having completely different in-Depth projects. But, I never completely abandoned filmmaking, in fact I will be producing our music videos as a component to show our work over the next 5 months.

To keep ourselves organized and a bit more functional, we decided to start a general timeline, with some goals set for all three of us. I have added some of my own goals into the timeline that I, myself wish to achieve during the duration of the project.

Sunday Jan. 4 to Saturday Jan. 24:
We will be practicing our instruments and learning the basics as preparation for our first piece together as a band. During this time, I hope to learn and memorize all the basic and necessary rudiments for alternative rock and punk rock as well as get a feel for the drums and gain some comfort while playing them.

Sunday Jan. 25 to Saturday Feb 6:
As a group, we will meet for first Wednesday practice of many in my garage for our first song: Holiday by Green Day. We picked this song due to its simplicity and repetition in beats as a simple started song after our previous weeks of practice.

Over the course of the 5 months the 3 of us are aiming to learn and master 5 pieces. As of now, we have decided on 4 songs (the fifth song has yet to be determined) that are listed below:
1. Holiday by Green Day
2. Basket Case by Green Day
3. Today by Smashing Pumpkins
4. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

The last song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana, was my choice as a good goal and end piece for not only our group, but for myself. The drummer for Nirvana, Dave Grohl was one of the best drummers and I am setting my standards high and aiming to learn his drum part in that piece (I can also play piano, flute and alto saxophone, so I have an advantage, which was my reason behind the high standards).

I still have yet to find a mentor, but I hope to have found somebody over the course of the upcoming weekend. I’m planning on sending out an array of emails to a list of possible mentors that I have listed from most preferable – least preferable. Obviously I still have quite a ways to go with this project, but as of this moment, this is where I am at. Overall I am quite excited for this project and I can’t wait to see what other opportunities it brings.