In-Depth Post #4, A New Singer!?

In my opinion, these past few weeks have been very successful, busy and at some points hectic, but still successful. So much has happened that frankly I’m not even sure where to start. Since the last time I blogged, I have met with my mentor twice, almost mastered the rhythms for “Today’, and found a new lead singer for the band.

As I mentioned above, my mentor and I have now met for a total of two practices. Mike (my mentor) and I have been solely working on ‘Today’ by the Smashing Pumpkins for the time being until I can play all the rhythms at the tempo of the song. There is one particular line in the music that I have been struggling with, but Mike has been teaching me techniques to break down the rhythms and make them easier to play. For next week he said he would have ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ written in drum notation for me to attempt with the assumption that I will have ‘Today’ down pat. I think I am definitely growing as drummer and slowly but surely developing my own style. I don’t think I could have found a better mentor.

When it comes to playing as a band I can hear difference in the quality of our music. We have become more confident with our instruments and much stronger at our parts. ‘Today’ is starting to sound pretty good, and thankfully we have reached a point where Rock Band isn’t leading the band anymore. On top of that, our band also found a new lead singer this week to help us out at our performance at In-Depth Night. Her name is Anika Venkatesh. She is a future grade 9 TALONS’ student with a phenomenal voice. She has been singing for quite a few years and has had solos in many of our choir pieces throughout middle school. Anika came to our most recent band practice this past weekend and I don’t think things could have gone any better. She meshed really well with everyone and she has become a great asset to our band.

Going back to my practices alone with my mentor, in this past session I tried to incorporate some of the skills from de Bonos book. I asked many questions to further my knowledge on drumming and get an insight on the different techniques that Mike uses while he is playing. Many of the general knowledge questions were shooting questions with a straightforward answer, but I tried to also ask some fishing questions to not only gain knowledge, but also bond with my mentor through something we both enjoy. One of the main questions I was really curious about was, how did his band start? This question obviously isn’t directly related to drumming, but it allowed me to learn something new about my mentor and get to know him that much more. A key component to asking questions is listening and paying attention. Even if you are multitasking it is important to listen to the other person and let them know that what they are saying is valuable to you. It’s pointless to ask a questions if you aren’t planning on listing to the answer. Next week I will continue asking questions and hopefully developing some more fishing questions once I feel I have a very solid foundation of vernal knowledge.

In conclusion I am proud of the progress I have made so far, both alone and as a band and I excited to have the chance to share all of our hard work at In-Depth night. Somehow it seems to be coming up so fast!

The Evolution of Human Knowledge

Where have we been?
It is difficult to answer a question as broad as this one because humans have grown and developed so much since the start of time that, to us, the way they lived is almost unimaginable. And frankly, with such a long history I’m not even sure where to begin, so I will start from the beginning.

As one giant community of humans on earth we have evolved from tiny organisms to what we are today; smart, curious humans who’s main goal is to find a way to make life as easy and effortless as possible. But, we didn’t get to where we are today in one night. We have travelled through countless eras and time periods; including, the Dark Age, the Middle Ages, the Viking Age, the Renaissance, the Victorian Era, the Machine Age, the Space Age and many more to bring us to where we are now, the Technological Era. It took thousands of generations of knowledge and discoveries to lead us into this technological era and yet we are still so far from knowing even half of what there is to discover.

Where are we going?
Over the past couple decades we have made a big leap in technological advancements. Many even say we are entering a new era. Kade Siddhesh said, “We are not writing a new chapter in history, we are rewriting history, where information does not flow through hierarchies of lies and trees but is broad-casted for any worthy seeker, who is looking for it.” I don’t feel that I have enough information at the point to agree or disagree with this quote; however, I do hope that this is the case. Humans are notorious for repeating their mistakes and it takes real initiative to break out of the norm. I predict that with our modern values, humans will attempt stray away from creating yet another empire with a clear hierarchy, but there is no guarantee that they will succeed. The only guarantee at this point, is that our technology has a long way to grow and regardless of how our governments evolve we will definitely enter a new era that could potentially look a lot like the future that cartoonists always imagined in cartoons such as The Flintstones.

During the process of answering the questions in this blog post, a couple of my own questions have been brewing in the back of my mind; including, Why does it matter? What good does this knowledge actually do for us? And, in the end, what do we plan to do with all our knowledge and discoveries?
Just some food for thought :)

Citation:
Siddhesh, http://www.ted.com/conversations/1359/are_we_entering_into_a_new_his.html

In-Depth Post #3, Our First Song

In these past couple weeks I have seen a huge improvement in my drumming. In this past week in particular, I think I have taken a big leap in skill level from when I first started off banging away at Tim’s drum set. I have finally reached a point in my practicing where I much more confident on comfortable with the drum set and I look forward to playing it, or, as some would say, “making loud rhythms for the whole world to hear on it.” I’m afraid my garage doesn’t have very good insulation.

My progress on our first piece, ‘Today’ by The Smashing Pumpkins, has been going very smoothly. I have now upped the tempo a bit more, and while I would still say I am playing slowly, I wouldn’t go as far as to say I am playing “VERY slowly” like I did in my last post. I am also starting to get the rhythms in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana; however, that piece I am playing EXTREMELY slowly. Not only does it consist of harder rhythms and patterns than ‘Today’, but I’m also singing that song which adds another level of difficulty to the peice. Overall the hardest part of both the pieces has definitely been reading the sheet music. Drum notation is the most inconsistent component in drumming, each artist and composer uses their own methods of writing the music, which causes a lot of difficulty to beginners like myself. I have spent countless hours googling different drum notation and watching YouTube videos to make sure I am playing the correct drum and/or symbol at the correct time. I have been writing down all my questions and anything I was unsure about, mainly with drum notation, so that I can bring it up at my first meeting with my mentor.

I guess I kind of spoiled the biggest plus of this past week in the last sentence of the paragraph above, but I finally found a mentor! As I mentioned in my last post, my sister’s piano teach had contacted a drummer she knew to see if he would be available to be my mentor and he wrote back this week and agreed to meet with me for the first time this upcoming Monday (Feb. 9th). His name is Mike Edin and he was the drummer in the band Amusia. They post all their music on Sound Cloud (https://soundcloud.com/amusiamusic) and I have already had the opportunity to listen to most of it. I really started to feel the beat of their music and hear the drumming, which has made me even more excited to finally meet and learn from Mike. I also found their lead singer very impressive. He has amazing vocals and I think my favourite pieces would have to be ‘War Machine’ and ‘The Final Cry’. I have now downloaded the Sound Cloud app specifically for their music.

In the end, I think these past few weeks have been very productive and I proud of what I have accomplished. Hopefully, in my next post, two weeks from now, I will have more to say about my mentor and I will be able to share the details of our first meeting. I’m also hoping to be able to make more connections to the part from How to Have a Beautiful Mind in my last post about agreeing, disagreeing, and differing and how those really did occur in our sessions, rather than what I assume will happen. I’m really stoked about what is still to come and also I can’t wait to finally complete our first piece as a band.