GCD Advanced Academics – Music

When we got to choose what art subject to take in year 10, I immediately chose to do music. Music has been with me for as long as I remember and I have always taken an interest for this creative subject. Now haven taken music for 4 years, it is truly something I understand and have studied quite in depth.

The MYP music course was a lot of fun but I was also able to expand my musical knowledge in a wide range of styles. This was also the first time I got exposed to composing my own piece of music. This first piece was based on “the Four Chords of Awesome” which is the tonic, sub-dominant, dominant

and sub-median notes of a scale. Then using these chords in the key of D, I wrote a nice simple pop song. I was able to obtain a high grade for this composition and reflect my composition abilities. You can listen to it here:

Also in year 10, I took my Trinity College Grade 8 violin exam. The Grade 8 exam is the highest level exam for amateur musicians like me. The original goal for my violin study was to pass this exam. The pieces were at quite a high difficulty for me back then and I would practice a lot to make sure they were perfected. With a lot of effort in practicing, I passed the exam with distinction. I also managed to place second for that year’s exam in Thailand, which was quite shocking to me as well. Here is a picture of my award:

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Year 11 was an interesting year for me in my musical life. This was the first time I got some experience in writing music for a moving picture. I decided to put Tom and Jerry to music which is rational because there isn’t speech in the cartoon. I chose a scene of where Tom and Jerry was at the beach. It was a short 2 minute clip, but without any music, the cartoon was very dull. As there were quite a few characters in the clip, I decided to give each character an instrument and theme. It sounded chaotic at first, but after listening closely it becomes much clearer. You can listen to it here:

I also got my first dose of Jazz music in this year. Trained as a classical musician all my life, I never got to know how to improvise on the violin. So in this unit I got to get a deeper understanding of jazz music and how to improvise on the violin. I listened to a lot of jazz violinists improvise such as Stephane Grappelli and Zbigniew Seifert , trying to borrow different techniques from everyone and eventually creating my own improvisation style. This unit allowed me to step into a new style very different from classical which increased my knowledge in music. For my final project, I played Blue Moon with two of my friends. There was some improvisation and I am pleased with what I achieved in the end. Here is the video of our performance.

In the diploma, I got to study world music in depth and also really set down to compose 3 different style pieces. My first piece is a program music about a fisherman composed using the Chinese pentatonic scale. The second piece is a pop song with a sort of gipsy feel to it. My last composition is an electronic music in the style of dubstep. These three different styles of composition show my ability to compose a wide range of styles.

Over the 4 years of my music education, I have been exposed to a wide range of musical styles and genres. I have accepted these new styles of music and tried to work with them to the best of my abilities. Since having music class in year 10, I have always been consistently achieving a grade of 7 (please see pictures below). This is something I am very proud of and I wish to sustain until graduating NIST. It shows my love and commitment to this creative subject.

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