Music- Final Reflection

Project Overview…

 The “Four Chords of Awesome” unit is a unit where we as learners get to design what we want to learn. The aim of this unit

The 4 Chords of Awesome in the Key of C

was to create a song using only the four chords of awesome, which are the I, IV, V and VI chords of a specific key. This was inspired by the song called, “The Four Chord Song” played by the Axis of Awesome. We can arrange these chords in anyway we wanted to create a song. There were some specifications that we had to follow, but most of the time we were guiding ourselves through this learning experience.

What I did…

For this unit I created some goals with my supervisors, Mr. Trebesh and Mr. David. All three of us sat down and created goals for this unit. They tried to push my musical skills to the limit. My theme for the song I created is about love. I chose love because I think it is something that can be written from the heart. Some of the goals for this unit were that I had to convey the theme of my piece to my audience, so that means they must feel the loved after listening to my song. Also I had to combine string instruments with guitars and drums, something that is not often seen together. I also had to create countermelodies and an introduction with the string instruments. All of these goals made this simply unit, quite challenging for me.

How do we communicate our musical ideas to others…

There only way to communicate in music and these two ways are all quite hard and challenging.  The first way is to play

Ludwig van Beethoven (17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827)

music. Playing music can express how a person feels. There are a lot of proof of this if you look back at big major composer in history.  The first movement, Allegro con brio, of the Symphony No. 5 written by Ludwig van Beethoven is a great example of this. When Beethoven wrote this symphony his deafness was starting to come to him. This caused him to become very frustrated and angry. To a musician, hearing is one of the most important tools anyone can have. The theme of the first movement of this symphony clearly expresses Beethoven’s feelings for his deafness. The second way to communicate in music is by writing down the music so other people can play. The second way is much more effective because then the music can live on and other people can continue playing it in the future.

The challenges I faced….

With a lot of goals, I faced a lot of challenges. The first main challenge I faced was to get the catchy tune so that everyone will remember my song. This is a very important part of the whole song. If the tune is catchy then the whole piece would be a success. I spent 3 lessons just playing with Sibelius trying to figure out the tune. The second challenge I faced was that I didn’t know how to modulate a piece of music to a different key. This creates troubles for me because one of my goals is to modulate my music into another key.

How I overcame them…

Vittorio Monti (6 January 1868 – 20 June 1922)

To overcome my first challenge, the challenge to make my song catchy, I had to listen to different pop songs and see how
they created a tune that everyone remembered. Since I had to write a song with a strings introduction, I listened to the two songs I know that has a strings introduction in it. “Secrets“, by One Republic and “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga. These two
songs has a very different introduction. The Secrets introduction is a arpeggio form of introduction, breaking the 4 chords that the song uses and creating an ascending style arpeggio sequence. The Alejandro introduction is actually a real song. It is a traditional Hungarian folk song called “Csárdás” (Czardas) and was written by a man called Vittorio Monti in 1904. Lady Gaga in cooperated the starting melody of this song into her song, which  was a really clever things to do. Looking at these two examples I have, I decided to go with the Secrets introduction because this was easier to create. By this time, another song with a arpeggio like introduction popped up in my mind, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift. I worked out how each of the two pieces progressed using the arpeggio and tried to use that in my piece. I eventually got my catchy tune and I think I am quite happy with it.

The next challenge I had to overcome was the modulation challenge. If I wanted to overcome this challenge, then I must do some research on how to modulate a piece of music and that is exactly what I did. I conducted my own investigation on modulation and now I have quite a good understanding on how to modulate a piece of music. It is all noted down on my modulation research page.

My successes…

Even though there were a few challenges that I faced, but I still had quite a few successes. I think the first great success I had was with the tune I made which is shown above. I am very proud of this tune because it is simple and catchy and it took me quite a long time to complete. Another thing I am proud of is that I completed my Sibelius music composition ahead of the time it was due. This gave me a lot of time in class to consult with my class mates and teachers to ask them about what they think about my composition. This helped me to improve my composition because I am getting advice from other people that has more experience than me in this section of song genre.

What I learned…

I have learned a lot in this unit. This unit helped me get to learn more about pop music, a type of music which I don’t
really like to listen to. It also gave me a incite on the structure and musical features of how a pop song looks like. Also I learned how to modulate a piece of music effectively into a different key. This helped me become a better musician because now I know how a pop song works and the different keys that they are written in. I also now fully know how to use the program Sibelius. Sibelius will be a great tool for me in the future. All of these skills will help me in the future because I might start to write more of my own songs and the knowledge I learned from this  unit can help me do that.

Grading Myself…

For this unit I will be graded on I will be graded on 3 out of the 4 criteria’s. Criteria A, Knowledge and Understanding. Criteria C, Reflection and Evaluation. Criteria D, Personal Engagement. For the top ban of criteria A it says, ” You use notation to clearly and accurately communicate your creative ideas to

others.” I think have done very well on this point because I know how to read and notate music so this way I can communicate my ideas to others. Also my work fits well with other indicators in the 7-8 ban. So I think for criteria a I will give myself a 7.

Criteria C is reflection and evaluation. I know that my normal reflections, I wouldn’t receive a high mark. Looking at the 5 to 6 ban, it says that, “You clearly identify areas of improvement” which is what I do and also I reflect everyday on what I did in class, but not in a lot of detail. So for criteria C I will give myself a 6.

Criteria D is personal engagement.  I think I will get a 8 in this criteria because I was fully engaged in this unit and I also helped others when it comes to using the Sibelius program. I also helped my class mates work out their rhythm and gave them suggestions on where they can improve.

What is next…

For me to become a better musician I will have to set hard but realistic goals for myself so I can improve as a musician. So if this project was to continue, I would create another song, but this time I wouldn’t use the 4 chords of Awesome as my bass line, but instead I can create a song with any chords and progression. This will make it both hard and easy. Not using the 4 chords will create freedom for me, but sometimes freedom is a bad thing to have.

Before we go…

To sum up, this was a really fun unit. I learned a lot from this unit and got learn better how the Sibelius program works. This was a great unit to do and I enjoyed it very much. This was a cleverly planned out unit. First, I think that the names and cups rhythm activity at the start of the unit worked really well. This helped us get used to the rhythms and how to write it down on Sibelius. But there are a few things that can be changed about this unit to make it much better. I think that we should have done a bit more group work. Like when we combined the two classes to sing Stand by Me and Let it Be. This helped us get a better idea of how the 4 chords of awesome worked together. Another suggestion is to teach the basics of Sibelius. This will help get through the notating period much more easier. Lastly I think there should be a much clearer timeline on when each specific task must be done. This would help us realize if we are behind or ahead of the group. Overall this was an amazing unit and I am looking forward to doing units like this in the future.

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