Grade 8 Music Project Genesis Crit B and D

Explain the step by step process of this assignment…
The following is the step by step process of which I took for this assignment.
1) The first thing I completed is the project proposal, which includes researching the topic and watching the videos on the task overview, and took around one lesson with a little for homework. I completed this without a problem as I already had an idea of what I was going to create for the assessment.
2) Then, I took the idea I had in my mind and found the suitable apple loops to fit my song. I
first thought that I might add different songs together to create a mashup, but I decided against it as I wanted to hone my previous skills to a higher level before starting something new. I estimated that it would take around 1-2 lessons, but in reality, finding suitable tracks was a slight challenge that I eventually overcame. In the end, it took around 2-3 lessons to complete this section of the task.
3) After that, I will record my software instrument/s, which consisted of three whole songs from the grade 6/7 ukulele song list. I ended up creating three but only using two as I felt that down in the valley and up on the housetop fit in, but amazing grace didn’t. I also thought that I had repeatedly used amazing grace in past projects and although it sounded slightly better than the previous ones, the other two stood out more since they hadn’t been used before. This took longer than expected and ended up taking around 2 lessons to finish the three songs.
4) Next, I sorted out the connections/bridges between the 4-5 different sections of the song, and also made the transition from software instrument to apple loops more smooth and sounds more like a single song. This seemed challenging as one of the sections didn’t really match with anything, but I shifted around the order and added a little more loops and finally made it connect. This only took around 1-2 lessons to complete.
5) Although I periodically checked my song with my fellow classmates, which yielded significant results, I did a final check-in with 3 of my friends and made some drastic changes to my song. These included the final ending which sounded too sudden and didn’t fit the theme of my song. This led me to adjust it so that it would fade out at the end but also staying within the 2 minutes 30 seconds mark which I didn’t want to exceed.

Assess your success against your assessable criteria from your proposal…
I think I completed a significant portion of my assessable criteria as I was able to keep it above 2 minutes, use at least one software instrument, include the drums… I also was able to ensure that all the loops were on time and accurate, which was able to improve the quality of the song. I also completely demolished the one software instrument requirement as I created three, with two evident in the song. This also played a part in increasing the quality of the song as I was able to include drums and correctly apply plugins to enhance the standard of the song.

Evaluate your learning and new skills acquired.
Throughout this project, I was able to hone my skills acquired previously in other projects and combine them all into a single song. This allowed me to improve my ability to read sheet music, play certain pieces, and even allowed me to be able to use plugins to create a better piece of music. I was also able to improve my use of plugins in different situations as previously I focused mainly on a louder and EDM style music. This all builds upon what we previously learnt, but I also acquired some new skills through the GarageBand software instruments learning course that I took home. This course greatly improved my ability to play instruments on the GarageBand keyboard. I think that this along with other youtube videos used is essential to my project as they greatly improved my ability to play the software instruments, therefore increasing the whole quality of the song.

What challenges did you face and overcome?
Some of the main challenges I had to face and overcome were previously stated and mentioned above. These include the problem of trying to connect two completely different sections together and also this issue of finding the apple loops acceptable for this peculiar theme of music. I overcame these problems by using the search specifications at the top of the apple loops window to narrow down what loops I wanted to apply into the piece of music. For the previous assignments, I always used EDM style loops and therefore I knew what ones were effective, and what wasn’t, but I wanted to challenge myself so I went with a chiller theme for the loops. As described above, this method yielded significant change as I was able to cut down on time spent finding loops and focus on the next challenge, connecting those loops. he second problem I faced was the issue of trying to connect the software instruments, apple loops, and sound effects together. I used a variety of methods to accomplish this task, but in my opinion, the most effective change occurred when I tried to connect two different sounding chunks of loops together. I managed to bridge this gap by extending the duration of some of the tracks, but also slowly decreasing the volume at a slight downward facing slope. This didn’t last long though as I amped the volume back up to the second chunk but with the old part of the song still evident near the beginning. This allowed for a swift and smooth transition, unlike the sound effects that provide for an easier switch.

Music Project Genesis Proposal

What is the goal for your assignment? 
My goal for this assignment is to improve the skills I previously gained during the software instrument assignment and apple loops assignment. I can also incorporate instrumental skills acquired during grade 6 and 7.

Why this project? 
I chose this project because I feel that I still need to improve upon my skills, and I also think that I would be better suited in excelling in a select field rather than learning a new skill, which would take a considerable amount of time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the apple loops and software instrument assignments, which also contributed to my decision to use these two individual skills in tandem to complete this assignment.

Outline/Process (Steps) to Achieve Goal. 
The steps below will be my outline of the project and assist me in managing my time efficiently.

1) First, I will complete the project proposal, which includes researching about the topic and watching the videos on the task overview, and should take around one lesson with a little for homework.
2) Then, I will take the main idea I have in my mind, and find suitable apple loops to fit my song. I can also find other songs that I might want to add in, so it becomes more like a mashup then a completely new song. This should take around 1-2 lessons.
3) After, I will record my software instrument/s, which will be part of the ukulele songs played in grade 6/7, but played on a piano. This should take around a lesson to perfect.
4) Next, I will sort out the connections/bridges between sections of the song, and also make the transition from software instrument to apple loops more smooth and sounds more like a single song. This should take 2-3 lessons to complete.
5) After that, I will check to make sure that I don’t include any errors (like having apple loops off time), then share my song with a peer and request feedback for me to improve upon the song. This should take around half a lesson for the peer review and corrections.
6) Finally, I will change and improve the songs according to the feedback I received in step 5 and show this version to mr o’toole for a final check. This would probably take up the latter half of the lesson.

What do you hope to learn? 
I hope to improve upon the skills learned in the first unit, and also increase my knowledge and understanding of Garageband functions, which I could alter to fit my purposes. I also hope that I will learn how to play other instruments on Garageband so that I can play a drum track of my own.

What are the criteria you will use to self assess the success of your product? 
I will mark my music off the criteria provided, and which will be used to mark me for my grades. This will help ensure that I can achieve the best grades possible while creating a successful product. The music would be mainly marked off on the criterions B and C. I will also include a set of my own criteria, such as having the length of the song be around two minutes (+/- 10 seconds), and including at least one software instrument (playing a song from the ukulele song folder).

Ukulele Hakuna Matata Song Submission

Criterion Ci and Cii

How is your recording the same as the original song? Why did you do this?

My recording, in some certain aspects, is the same or similar to the original since I use the same notes, tempo, strumming, lyrics and the essential backbone of the song. The tempo remained 132 beats per minute (from google searching it), the notes I used was from a website, the strumming remained equal to the tutorial… My goal for doing this is to create a song that doesn’t deviate too far from the original, still allowing the listener to recognise the original song. Using the same strumming proved to be a slight problem as if I followed along (the tempo that the person was playing at was slightly slower), the song would have been extended leading to the song sounding more unbalanced and stretched out, therefore causing song’s lyrics being out of sync.

How is your recording different compared to the original song? What were your reasons behind your decisions?

My recording differed with the original by changing the strumming, as if I followed it, the lyrics would have not been able to match the song notes, and the whole song would sound out of order. Also, due to the fact that we were required to add in drums and anyone extra electronic instrument of our choice, I added a piano to provide something that could reduce the bleakness of my strumming. This created an effect -to me at least- of a bottom in which it blocks the music from sounding empty and fruitless. On the other hand, the drums were a nuisance to deal with as since I played my song quieter and reduced the impact of the chorus to smooth out the song, the drums increased the volume and atmosphere to a more upbeat and energetic mood which, contradicted one of my main changes to the song. This change is due to the fact that my target audience is of a younger age, a song with spikes in volume might not be the most suitable option.

Criterion Di and Dii

Ukulele Skills…

I learnt how to properly hold and play basic notes on the ukulele last time, however, this time I learnt how to play more complex notes such as D, G and G7. These notes provide a challenge for me to overcome as I need to be able to swap from notes like D to G and G7 immediately without interrupting my strumming pattern. Adding on, maintaining the strumming pattern was a crucial part of my process due to the ever-changing notes and the necessity of the singing and strumming being in time. This is evidently heard during the second half of the song as since the strumming pattern has switched to a longer one, the singing was now not in sync. To correct this problem, I was compelled to tinker around with the strumming patterns to make the timings match.

Garageband editing – digital instrument, drum use…

As stated above, I was tinkering with the strumming pattern to adjust it as it wasn’t in sync with the singing. Even though I tried my best to manage, alas, my attempts were futile as I wasn’t able to successfully match the timings. As I begin to sink into the dark black hole of feeling desperate and forlorn, I was able to find my way back on to the track by using Garageband to cut and trim two sections of my recordings and stick them together as to shorten my strumming but still maintaining the steady pattern. Additionally, using the electronic piano to my advantage by creating a filler for the more barren sections of my recording helps to contradict the increase in volume by using the drums.

Time management for your project…

As for managing my tasks and putting my priorities in order, I think that I obtained success in most areas, including optimising the opportunities for in-class recording, setting and achieving all the deadlines, both my own and yours, and also arranging time slots to come in at lunch to re-record and improve on previous sections of the song. The one major factor of my planning that I missed out on is that I underestimated the amount of time it would take to find a more suitable drum track to go along with the more mellow and soft song I recorded. This would have a significant impact on the whole time management plan as I had saved choosing a drum track to the end, which I could then compare a variety of selections instead of choosing a track then forming my recording around it.

Independent learning… (responsibility of getting things done on time)

Again, as mentioned above, I managed to meet all the deadlines and optimise each learning session to be able to succeed in my recording. I also used the provided links on the “it’s uke to me” document to help facilitate my piano recording and maximise my ability to use the electronic piano. What also helped is the fact that I also reached out to my friends to ask for assistance when I ran into problems on the Garageband software as the students of the previous rotation held a comprehensive selection of information on this specific area of expertise.

Ukelele Submission (Down In The Valley)

What is the key of your tune? Time Signature?
The song that I chose, down in the valley, is played in 3/4. Also, the key of my tune is C.

What sort of rhythms are used in your song?
The song that I chose has a big majority quarter notes and a small minority for the remaining half notes.

Discuss your note accuracy and rhythm accuracy in regards to your strumming and melodic playing…
Even though I spent a large part of the time used to practice to learn the melody as I found it incredibly hard for me to memorise the correct places to play, My note accuracy is, compared to other submissions, pretty horrible. I tend to hesitate a little bit too much on the pauses and speed up too fast when I was only meant to increase the number of notes played in a single bar by two. To solve this problem, I numbered the notes 1-4 in the order they first came in (C, F, G and A). So instead of a bunch of random note scrambled into a pile, I can easily memorise the order of the notes (1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 4, 3, 2, 3, 3). I can also separate the line into imaginary chunks to again, better memorise the order (1, 2, 3, / 4, 2, / 4, 3, 2, 3, / 3). One downside of this is that even though the middle section seems short, it actually spans two full bars, leading this to somewhat confuse me more. So, I re-arranged the order and came up with a much more time aware order (1, 2, 3, 4 / 2, 4, 3, 2 / 3, 3).

What Ukulele skills have you acquired?
Before this unit started, I had a vague idea on how to play the ukulele as I have only played it once before during the first few performing arts lessons of Grade 6/7. After overcoming most beginner problems, I learned how to confidently play the melody and read some of the notes, but I still wish to be able to completely memorise the fingering and master the timing. In addition to all this, I was able to refresh up on what little things I learnt during Grade 6/7 to assist me in my journey.

How did you decide your tempo to match your song and style?
My group decided on the tempo through listening to Mr O’Toole’s version of the song and adapting it to our own changes. We couldn’t really change the tempo too much, but we could speed it up a little to make the piece sound more smooth and allow me to cover up my (vocal) mistakes better.

How did you use the editing tools in Garageband? Editing, cutting, flex-time, trimming…
I used a large amount of cutting and trimming to fine-tune my recordings since if my timing was just a little off, it will affect the whole thing in a such an influential way that my version won’t sound anything like it’s original. I cut the piece of music into bits and pieces to be able to align them with the other recordings (Strumming, Melody, Vocals).

Discuss the recording process; did you have any concerns or issues?
I need to improve on my ability to stick to a plan and have more confidence in going to the recording booth and actually starting to record. When I started to record, I would often line up for recording, but at the last moment go back to practice more. This lead to me needing to go back to Mr O’Toole’s room to actually record my bits and pieces.

Design Medallion Process

The process of creating this medallion started off with the planning stage. I was required to find or create two medallion designs that used words, shapes and different power settings on the laser cutter. After coming up with two designs, we had to choose one for our final project, this one had to be traced in colour to indicate what power setting is used for what shapes. Finally, we would proceed to go on illustrator and using a scanned version of the plan, create the medallion.