Singing Lessons: After

It has been a long time since I started my Singing Lessons, and I cannot believe how far I have come. When I first started this activity, I had not sung in my life and I had no techniques to rely on. Now, I have participated in two singing auditions, have recorded several songs, and I am much more aware of my breathing and projection techniques. In other words, I have certainly “Developed new skills,” which was one of my Learning Outcomes.

In addition, I believe I have also shown a great amount of perseverance in this CAS experience. Keeping up with my singing lessons has not always been easy, and some of the songs I’ve had to sing were quite complicated and required me to practise them many times over. However, I overcame these difficulties through hard work and dedication, and I am happy to say that I have missed very few classes over these last two years. For this, I am very proud of myself. Therefore, I have achieved my other learning outcome: “Show commitment to, and perseverance in, CAS experiences.”

There are very few things I would have liked to change about my singing experience. The most significant one is possibly not being able to ever sing a solo song in an audition, but I am probably still not ready for one. Still, as a closing for this experience, I would like to share my latest singing recording. It is a Spanish song called “Si Tu No Estás Aquí” by singer Rosana, and I am very proud of how it turned out. I think it perfectly represents how long I have come ever since I started my lessons, as I would not have been able to sing like that a year ago. You can listen to the song here (when available).

All in all, I am very happy about this CAS experience, and it is one of those pastimes I will make sure to keep working on even after my IB years are over.

Advertisements

Journal Club: After

My involvement with the Journal Club has been long and required a lot of hard work. However, I think it is one of the best CAS experiences I have ever had.

First of all, working in the Journal Club has certainly taught me how beneficial it is to work with others to achieve a common goal. When I was only a writer, I had to work with the Journal Club heads at the time to ensure my articles were published every term. However, it was after I began working as a Journal Club manager that I truly understood how important teamwork is. If I had not worked as a team with my fellow Journal Club heads, we would not have been able to achieve half of what we have achieved now. Through the division of labour and good communication skills, we have managed to redesign the ASB Newsletter’s layout, get our student-run publication online, and publish three complete term newsletters in addition to a Special Edition magazine filled with creative pieces. Together, with passion and dedication, we have accomplished much more than what anybody expected, something I feel very proud of. Hence, I have “Demonstrated the skills and recognized the benefits of working collaboratively” throughout my Journal Club experience.

Furthermore, I have dedicated long hours to working for the Journal Club. Whether it was selecting interesting topics for articles or hunting down lazy writers, I have given a lot of time and thought to my Journal Club experience. Even when times got difficult, I never settled for less articles than a minimum of about four per section, and I never complained about having to edit and translate articles while also studying for tests and exams. I truly believe I have been a persevering member of the Journal Club, and that I have always been dedicated to the cause. In this way, I have “Shown commitment to, and perseverance in,” my Journal Club CAS experience.

All in all, there are very few things I would do differently if I had to repeat my Journal Club experience. If anything, my fellow Journal Club managers and I would have liked to create a Journal Club logo or a Journal Club twitter account, but we had no time to do so with all our IB work. Still, it’s always good to leave something to be done by those next in line for the Journal Club!

Journal Club: During #6

My last term as one of the Journal Club heads has been a very exciting one!

To being with, my fellow Journal Club managers and I held several talks with the school’s principal, as well as the IT  department, to get the Journal Club online! Thanks to our joined efforts, the school will now be able to show the student’s once-a-term publication on their own webpage.  This is very exciting for us, as I am sure it will make many more people aware of what happens around the school. In addition, it shows the student’s writing talents to anyone who wants to read what we write.

Also, this Term, us Journal Club leaders have chosen those who will substitute us next term while we prepare for exams. It was a long process, as a lot of considerations had to be made but, in the end, we chose students who we think will do a great job at keeping the Journal Club up and running. Throughout this term, we integrated them into our team, teaching them how to choose articles, assign writers, and deal with the stresses of late submissions. I am very happy with how the new Journal Club members are behaving, and I am sure they will do a fantastic job at keeping the ASB Newsletter engaging and informative.

Finally, our final Journal Club publication this year is turning out to be a complete success. We have organised our time very well and, while as of writing this reflection the ASB Newsletter is not complete, I already have the Lower School section ready, and the IB section (which is also my responsibility) is almost done as well. I also have to write an article about the IB Final Visual Arts exhibition, but that will be done in a couple of weeks, after the exhibition has passed. Finally, the Journal Club manager in charge of the Newsletter’s format has also been working very hard and preparing a brand new color-scheme for our last publication. This will no doubt be a special edition of the ASB Newsletter, and we hope, it will be the best yet!

Painting the Gym

Goal: To paint my school’s indoor gym in time for this year’s Visual Arts Exhibition.

Learning Outcome: To recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.

Before

I am eager for this experience to take place. I have always enjoyed painting, and this seems like a pretty big-scale project, not to mention it being very important! The grade of the Visual Arts’s student’s exhibition depends, partially, on us painting the gym well.

However, I can think of a few problems that could set us back in our artistic endeavour. For example, it has been very hard to get this experience approved by the school. We had to talk to several teachers and even the principal to get permission for this project to take place, and we were not given possible painting dates until very recently. Many obstacles could appear from now until then. However, let’s hope that everything turns out okay!

During

This experience turned out to go better than planned!

We painted the gym in three days, although I could sadly not be there for one of them. However, it surprised me how fast we got things done. With just a couple of hours of work, we were able to completely paint the gym, leaving it as good as new! This only goes to show the benefits of working as a team. The other painters and I were very organised. For example, when we realised too many people were working on the same wall, some of the uswould then begin working on another wall or covering the floor with newspapers, hence optimising the workforce!

File_002
Us painting. I am the one looking up at the wall.

The only aspect of this experience that was quite annoying was that we could not paint as much as we could have in one day. This is because the school’s gym was occupied from after school finished on Tuesdays. This in and of itself isn’t too bad, but what makes it annoying is that nobody had told us! If we had known, we would have probably organised our time better.

File_000
Us painting the walls. I am in the middle of the group of three people in white.

After

All in all, this experience turned out surprisingly well! We finished painting sooner than we thought we would, which shows that we all worked well as a team in a very organised manner. I am very happy of having taken part in this CAS experience, as it has shown me once again that, when people work together, there is no challenge too big for them.

Singing Lessons: During #11 – Audition Time!

So much has happened since I last updated my blog!

In class, I have been practising many new songs, including “Out of Reach” by Gabrielle, “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt and, now, “Si tu no estás aquí” by Rosanna. Out of all of these, “Out of Reach” was definitely the hardest. It took me a while to figure out how I could hit all the right notes without sounding awful. However, I practised hard at home and ended up getting so much better at it that I was congratulated by the teacher! Meanwhile, “Don’t Speak” was very fun to sing, as it is upbeat and allows for a lot playing around with registers, something I found very interesting. I have only barely started practising, “Si tu no estás aquí”, but it is bound to be very fun to work through. My teacher has told me this song has the potential to sound very good on me due to my low voice, so now I just have to focus on practising it and giving the song a personal touch.

However, it was my recent audition (on February 16th) which has truly left a mark on me this term. My teacher decided to make us work on a cover of a song called “Tonight You Belong to Me” (link) to train us in singing harmonies. One of my classmates was given the main voice, or the melody, while another classmate and I had to sing the back-up voices, or harmonies. We all found carrying several voices at the same time very challenging, and we even had to simplify some aspects of the song to make it more managable. One of the most memorable parts of practising this song for the audition was our first (and only) practise with the person who played the ukelele for us during the show – he had no idea how the song went, which made us very confused when singing. This made us feel very stressed out, but luckily we helped him learn the song correctly before the show.

At the show venue, we were all very nervous at first, but then we just decided to forget about the nerves and just have fun – what’s the worse that could happen? Therefore, we all got on stage and sang, and we actually did pretty good. We made a few mistake during the song bridges, which were the hardest part, but overall we did a good job. My sister, who was in the crowd, even told me that she heard some ladies talking about how beautiful our voices were! It was especially interesting for me to consider how different this audition was from last year’s: we were all much more relaxed in the lead-up to it, and I think our performance was much better. Sadly, the video quality is not that good, but I am still very happy with our performance.

Journal Club: During #5

This first term of my last year of IB has been an exciting one for the Journal Club as not only did we publish our usual end-of-term newsletter, which has been linked to below, but we also released a special midterm edition made up solely of art and creative pieces from students! This was done to promote the arts within our community, as well as to celebrate our school’s 50th anniversary! While this was a challenging endeavor, it was very rewarding to see this Special Edition completed and published, especially because we knew that, otherwise, the talents of many of our school’s students would go unnoticed.

The traditional ASB Newsletter also turned out well this term. I had very few problems with my writers, and only two articles were turned in late. However, I know that was not the case for some of my fellow Journal Club managers. Therefore, the way we divide our articles and writers should be revised next term to avoid trouble. Aside from that, the Journal-making process worked well and produced good results.

Finally, this term I wrote three pieces in total for the Journal Club: two creative ones and an article about a school visit to an art exhibition. I am quite happy with how all of them turned out, although I would have liked to make the article a little longer. However, the ASB Newsletter article word limit must be respected!

All in all, this was an entertaining term to be working in the Journal Club, and it makes me sad to think that the next will be my last, as I will then have to concentrate my energies on studying for our IB exams. Still, that is the perfect excuse to make next term’s ASB Newsletter all the more memorable!

ASB Newsletter

ASB Newsletter Special Edition

Singing Lessons: During #10

The start of a new school year always comes alongside many changes! In terms of CAS, that is no different.

First of all, my singing teacher has changed and, what is more, the way he teaches the class is definitely different from the way in which our previous instructor used to! This is especially obvious in terms of how he handles the recording of songs. With our old teacher, us students would each focus on a song until it was perfect, after which we would record it to see how we could improve our techniques. With this new teacher, however, I am unsure of whether I will be able to record anything this year! Up until now, he seems to prefer alternating between songs instead of focusing on one and recording. By doing this, he can take advantage of the different challenges each song poses for us, the singer. I started classes in September and I am already on my second song!

Despite this, my new teacher has proven to be just as good (or even better) than the last. During these last few classes, he has been teaching my classmates and I new breathing techniques and strategies regarding voice projection that we had no idea about. He is also very clear in his explanations, and I expect to improve my singing techniques a lot with his guidance!

As for the songs I have been practising, those are “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri and “Out of Reach” by Gabrielle. I cannot really talk about the latter, as I started practising it a very short time ago, but “A Thousand Years” was definitely challenging. Although it seemed like a rather easy song at first, I soon discovered that it required some sudden changes in register that I was not sure how to approach. However, I soon learned that it was all a matter of improving my mouth positioning and getting rid of my nerves.

All in all, the start of the year has been busy, but I am still enjoying my singing lessons enormously despite all their changes!

Art Journal

Learning Outcome: Increase my awareness of my own strengths and areas for growth.

Goal: To be creative and try out new things with my art.

Before

This summer, I wanted to really hone my drawing skills. However, I also wanted to do it in a way that allowed me to be creative and draw whatever I wanted at all times. I also wanted to explore what are my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to art. This is what led me to the idea of starting an Art Journal! In this journal, I will aim to make a new drawing every opportunity I get. I am hesitant to give myself a schedule to follow, as my summer promises to be busy and I want this activity to be fun and relaxing for me.

The only setback I can anticipate for this activity is me feeling uninspired or simply not having time to do much of anything while traveling. Still, I will try to draw in a more or less consistent manner throughout the summer.

Right now, I am eager and motivated to start this new activity!

During #1

I have decided to tackle this activity by updating my blog each month with highlights of what I have drawn in that time. So, here are my June drawings!

DSC_0055

DSC_0539

This month, I have been trying out new poses for my character drawings. I tried to move away from stationary, more day-to-day poses, instead concentrating on bodies taken from pictures of work-out sessions and gymnastics. The drawings could still look more fluid and realistic, but they are definitely drawn in a personal style that I am quite proud of. Still, I definitely need to work on my anatomy!

flowers

I have also drawn the silhouette of a woman filled with flowers in a style that is not my own at all. This is based on a passage from a novel I have read recently, “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang, in which a woman gets flowers painted on her back. With this drawing, I was trying to step away from my own cartoony style into something a bit more abstract. I also wanted to try out drawing flowers. Although it could be a more detailed drawing, I do like how it looks, and I’m considering turning it into a fully fledged painting soon.

All in all, although I have not been able to draw a lot these days, I have been able to produce some pretty good drawings nevertheless. I have also managed to step out of my comfort zone a bit, something I’d like to work on more come July.

During #2

This July, I have another two works that I am rather proud of.

flowers 2

First of all, I did turn my drawing of the woman with the flowers into a painting! This was a truly new experience for me. The acrylics I used were a little tricky to get the hang of (hence the sloppiness of the black lines), but I am nevertheless proud of what I have accomplished: it looks pretty good for a first time! I’d like to work more with acrylics in the future to hone my abilities even more.

hands

In addition to this, I have also drawn a picture of two hands reaching out for one another. I am especially proud of this drawing, as I completed it using no references, yet it turned out relatively anatomically accurate given the circumstances (especially the hand at the bottom). This was another departure from my cartoony style into something more realistic, which is something I have been meaning to try for a long time. Although the top hand still needs some work, I am happy with this drawing.

All in all, I am very happy with what I accomplished this July, as I feel that I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone. Still, my works are not perfect, and I must draw more if I am to fix their imperfections.

During #3

Because of my busy travelling schedule this month, I was not able to draw too much. However, I do have a couple of drawings I do like.

silver girls

The first is this image, which I titled “Silver Girls”. This title, as well as the whole picture, was inspired by the song “Conversation 16” by The National. I was aiming to draw different types of poses and girls wearing different dresses and hairstyles in a simplistic way. The fact that The National describe the girls in the song as “silver” and giving them “black dreams” led me to draw them without faces as to add to this cold and mysterious illustration provided by the band. Although it is also a departure from my typical style (the figures being thinner than usual), it turned out very nicely. If anything, I should try to work on the way I make my characters interact with each other, as it looks awkward at times.

Finally, I also drew these two images of girls I saw while staying at a summer resort. They caught my attention due to their mildly unconventional looks. While this is a return to my more typical, cartoon-ish style of drawing, I do not usually draw real life people, so it was a relatively new experience for me. Sadly, I do not have pictures of them in real life, so I cannot post a comparison of them against my drawings. Still, you can take my word for it when I say that they look rather similar. I am happy to see that I am slowly getting better at drawing real people in my own, personal style; it’s something I have wanted to do for a very long time!

After

Now that the summer is over, it’s time for me to reflect on my work!

In general, I am happy with my Art Journal drawings. I have tried many new things (including semi-realistic drawings, new character poses, and even painting!), which I may not have dabbled with if I had not started this CAS activity. I still need to work on all of these new skills if I really want to make something out of them, but I am happy to have at least started with it. I am also pleased that my own art style is evolving, and that now I can draw real people in my own way.

Still, I am a little disappointed that I have not drawn more. It was very difficult to keep up with all my CAS activities this summer because I was constantly moving from place to place and, when I was not doing that, I was filling out university applications or doing schoolwork. Hence, this could not be helped.

If I could perform this activity all over again, I would try to make more time for drawing whenever possible. I would have also liked to work more with natural themes and landscapes. However, I was not able to, as that would have taken me a very long time.

All in all, I am happy with this CAS activity, although I wish I could have dedicated a little more time to it.

Singing Lesson: During #9

Due to schoolwork and a lot of exams, I have not been able to update my singing progress. However, a lot has happened ever since I last reflected on it!

To start with, I have since recorded one more song: “Army of Me” by Bjork. It was an interesting tune that, despite being simple in terms of tuning, forced me to develop a new singing style, using a type of resonance where all the sound is channelled to my forehead. I felt strange at first, but it ended up being a very enriching experience!

A new student has also joined the class now! I was worried that she would not be a good fit for our closely-knit group, but she ended up fitting in perfectly with the rest of us. I now feel that our group is more united than ever. I am very happy to have her in our team!

However, I have some bad news as well: I was not able to complete the goal I had established for myself after my singing audition was over: recording four more songs before the year was over. This is because, after recording “Army of Me”, I attempted to record “Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! at the Disco (listen here) as my last song of the year. However, after working on it for a few classes, my teacher asked me to please change it, as he believes it is a song that strictly requires a male range. I obliged, but before I could choose a new song, I got sick for a week, which left me too little time to record anything. However, I do not consider this a failure, as I tried my best and I still got to record three great, varied songs that have taught me a lot!

All in all, I had a lot of fun with my signing lessons this year, and I cannot wait to return to them after my summer vacation!

Journal Club: During #4

Find this term’s Journal here!

This term, the first Journal Club written under my classmates – and my – supervision was published! I am very excited about this, as it marks the start of our go as Journal Club Managers.

My most important job as Journal Club Manager was to be in charge of coordinating and editing the articles written about the Lower School classes (1st grade to 6th grade). At first, this was rather hard to do, as they did not seem to have anything especially newsworthy going on in their classes, and I was afraid my section of the Journal was going to turn out dull. However, after digging a bit into the school’s future plans via the school newsletter, I was able to assign interesting and engaging articles to the writers under my supervision.

I did not have many problems with any of my writers or my articles, aside from a few doubts from writers that I promptly responded to. I also kept a close eye on our schedule in order to ensure that all the articles were delivered on time. This relatively calm first-time experience as a Journal Club leader made me feel comfortable and confident in my new position, as it made me realise that I would be able to solve any problem that came our way if I kept a cool head.

In addition to this, I also helped with the creation of a new ASB Journal template, which I designed and later passed on to fellow Journal Club Manager Carmen Rita Gomeza. She was the one who ultimately set up the Journal’s new look, editing a lot of what I had done, and I think she did a fantastic job! The final product definitely ended up looking much better than my template. This made me realise that working as a team will many times lead to unexpected and original results that are a lot better that what only one person will be able to come up with.

All in all, I am very happy with how this ASB Journal edition turned out, and I cannot wait to write the next one in Grade 12!