End of Year Reflection

This year I’ve been practicing my flute playing with the intention of improving my articulation, tempo, and also breathing. I believe that I’ve effectively improved all three; I am now able to play for longer without having to take another breath (improved my embouchure), my tempo has definitely improved because I’ve been using a metronome to practice, and also my articulation has improved because I’ve put extra effort into analysing pieces along with paying attention to details. My fingering and rhythm accuracy is still slightly hazy, however, and I aim to improve that in the upcoming years.

      I believe that my knowledge of theory has improved. I can now effectively analyse and triads, seventh chords, composition, and also figured bass. However, I still have some difficulty with scales and also transposition. I will aim to practice my transposition and also scales. I can do so by using online sites, and also practicing for an upcoming ABRSM theory exam.

      All of this boils down to how I have approached the traits desired for an IB learner, according to the IB Learner Profile. I have displayed the traits of an inquirer and also a risk taker throughout the year.

     As an Inquirer, I have sought to learn more information, newer skills, and a better understanding of what it means to be a musician throughout the year with the intention of becoming better at music, and throughout this process I believe that I have utilised the skills expected of an inquirer to accomplish this goal. The IB define an Inquirer as follows; “We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life” (IBO). I have developed my skills through music, I worked effectively both with others (presentations) and also alone (composition, theory test), and I have done so with enthusiasm because of my love of learning.

     As a risk taker, I have approached challenges with determination and grit because I was determined to achieve them, however also took into of the effort. I was resilient in the face of challenges, and worked my hardest to acquire the skills I wished to gain, and also took full advantage of the resources given to me. The IB define a risk taker as follows; “We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change” (IBO). I approached musical aspects that I knew might be hard, and yet I still tried my hardest.

To conclude, I have improved a lot throughout this year, and I plan on continuing to improve my theory and playing.

Test

Final Composition – Awkward Friend Dance

Here is my final composition, I added new rhythms and tried to fix the melodic segments that clashed with the chords. However, I felt that my final composition was adequate, so I did not change as much as I had previously.

I named it awkward friend dance because I felt that it reflected the true nature of my piece; that awkward dance you make with people when you’re going one way and they’re going the other way. This is because of the jumbled rhythm and melody in my piece.

I had an ABA sequence in my piece as was instructed, and also a melody that fit with the chords on my piano part. I tried to use as many neighbouring and passing tones as possible so as to give my piece as congruent flow as possible.

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Final Stella by Starlight – Flute Jazz Solo

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I found that in my previous solo some of the notes clashed with one another, so I tried to edit that. Along with this I tried to add some variation in rhythm however after my live playing Mr Taitoko suggested more variation because although I included my 7>3 resolutions, they were too simplistic and my solo would’ve benefited with some variation and other notes.

Final 8 Bar Melody

In my original 8 bar melody, I had a very consistent use of only eighth notes. However, as you can see in my revised version, I now use quarter notes, staccato eighth notes, 16th notes, and also a dotted 8th note at the end. I thought that this might add flavour to my piece, as I found that my style in my previous draft was rather bland. I was also told that my descending scale seemed to drag on. It was for this reason that I added staccato notes; I could still use my original descending C major scale, but at the same time make it more interesting than before.

Along with this I made my left hand more interesting. As you can see in the second phrase, I have a minor chord so as to add variety to my melody.

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Playing Test (#118) + Theory Test – Reflection

Playing Test

For this playing test, I think I did well on both the piece and the scale. I had good note accuracy and rhythm accuracy, good tone, and an appropriate tempo.
However, I did rush a bit at the end of the piece. I practiced this piece often, however I did not practice with a metronome as often as I should’ve. Next time, to stabilise my tempo, I will practice regularly with a metronome. Along with this, I will work on my articulation. I need to work on making an audible difference between regular 8th notes and staccato 8th notes. At a fast enough tempo, it is hard to discern between the two, but at the tempo I was going at it should’ve been easier to tell the difference between the two (when they are played correctly). Finally, I will improve my chromatic scale. I will work on fluency by improving my fingering; something that I struggled to remember and ended up messing up on the transition from G# to G. In order to improve fluency, I will practice chromatic scale daily and focus on playing slowly before playing quickly, so as to focus on fingering rather than jumping into playing super quickly.  However, I noticed that I have improved my breath and embouchure a lot since my last playing test which is something I am happy about and hope to continue to improve.

 

Theory Test

I was good in my understanding of different theory concepts, however I often made careless errors (i.e., miscalculating the # of semitones to move up, accidentally adding an accidental, forgetting to add the correct note value to a note while transposing).

I feel as though I should work on transposition. I had trouble counting out the steps from one note to its transposed position and I think that this is a skill that could come with practicing transposition. Along with this, my knowledge in general of the different instruments that are in each key (Eb, Bb, F) is limited. I remembered that F horn is P5 up from its concert pitch, and Bb instruments are M2 up, however I forgot that Bb tenor sax is not the saxophone that goes up an octave from its concert pitch, and along with that forgot how to transpose an Eb baritone.

I have, however, improved my knowledge of figured bass. I did not understand most of the material when we first learned it, however I feel that I was able to answer and understand the figured bass questions given to us on the test.

 

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Russian Dance – Line 65

I was satisfied with my overall grade, however I think I could’ve improved my grade if I had improved my breathing, connection, and tempo.

My breathing can be improved for the future by improving my lung capacity (breathing exercises, daily practice) and also practicing my embouchure. I have trouble with keeping my embouchure strong, and sometimes go over the mouthpiece and that limits my technique.

I could improve my connection by working on tonguing the notes. I think I needed to practice this piece a bit more. Also, if I were to practice the higher notes, I’d be able to connect them more easily. Right now, my high notes are a bit raspy, making them harder to perfect.

My tempo was a bit slow for the song. I feel as though I should’ve sped up the piece a bit, as it was a Russian dance and one main aspect of a stereotypical “Russian” song is the rapid tempo at which it is played. I think I was capable of playing quicker, however I played slower so that I could articulate the notes better, as I find that if you play faster it is harder to discern between staccato 8th notes and unaccented 8th notes, so I thought that by playing slower I could make the difference between the two in my piece more obvious. However, I played it too slow which made it untrue to its Russian origin

Aquallegro Reflection

In our music class, we have been using an app called “Aquallegro”. The function of this app is to help us train our ears to (aurally) pick up intervals.

At the beginning of the classes, I was not very good at this, as I had not received ear training in the past and wasn’t very good at picking up the intervals. I started out with M6 and m6, as they were the two intervals I was having the most trouble with those two in particular, along with an Aug. 4th for variety, and M2. Below is my first attempt:

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However, I have worked myself up to a level at which I think I am able to effectively identify these intervals. Although I am not 100% accurate, I have improved quite a bit by using aquallegro each class for 10 minutesAquallegro Screenshot

 

Above is my most recent one. It was done in a short amount of time, so it has fewer questions done, but I think that it shows that I have improved quite a bit since September.

In order to further improve, I’m going to start using the app at home, along with at the beginning of class, so that I’m not limited to only 10 minutes every other day. Along with that, I can train on my own using a piano, and also looking up some tips on the internet. Even though I have improved a bit, I think that I still have quite a bit of improvement to do from now until the aural test at the end of the year.