Service: Creative Fundraising

For the second semester of Hope For Kids, we had some creative ideas for fund raising that really met our target of challenging ourselves while helping our community. With our school talent show, Gecko Factor, soon approaching, we set to work making tie-dye bandanas to sell to the willing members of the audience.

Having tried tie-dye last year, we knew that using acrylic paint and hanging them up to dry sometimes resulted in faded colors, and the dye dripping down the cloth. This time, we came prepared, and used batik paint instead. Figuring out new ways to fold the cloth to get designs was my favorite part, and the reveal, in my opinion, deserved a drum roll. Of course, all of us soon forgot about the gloves we were supposed to wear and walked out with our hand stained purple and orange, but we also had 20 bandanas ready to be sold in a few weeks!

Despite a large part of the funds we use coming from our saving from the previous years, I also think it’s really important to challenge ourselves to raise money in innovative ways that add to our school community while also raising awareness to our cause. Hopefully, we are well on our way to achieving this!

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The Final Product

Yearbook 101

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As the year goes on and I have more and more Yearbook pages to work on, I’m realizing the sheer amount of effort and skills that go into making a page. If I were to advise someone now on how to make a great yearbook page, this is what I would say:

1. Borders and Spacing

When you’re making a great Yearbook page, this may be the last thing you want to think about, but I have realized how important it is. You should always use the alignment tools to get the spacing right, which is something I’m working on with all my pages

2. Print out a sample page

It’s really important to make sure you are working with CMYK colors and not RGB colors, and this is something you can make sure of by printing a draft page. It’s better to realize the red you used actually shows up as brown on paper while you’re still working things out, as opposed to when you’re getting your page signed.

Picture size is also something you might change your mind about when you see how big or small it actually is on paper, so its a good idea to get a feel for how big pictures are on the paper versus the screen.

3. Layout the pages as it would be on the Yearbook

After designing great pages, the last thing you want to discover is that the pages that go next to each other don’t mesh at all. So when designing single pages, its always better to design the left and right pages together in one document.

4. Show it to more experienced Yearbook members

For me, this really helped because they usually spotted a lot of technical aspects (like the spacing) that I hadn’t thought of. Also, whenever you can’t get a picture exactly the right size, or in exactly the right position, they are always there to tell you you’ll get the hang of it!

Gala Concert 2016

The Gala Concert 2016 was undoubtedly the best way to end the first semester of school.

Having participated in the Gala Concert last year, I was excited to try something new this year. As I mentioned in my previous post about the gala, this year I was practicing to play the glockenspiel in our concert band. Looking back at the concert, I know all those practises were worth it.

Thinking back on concert band rehearsals, all I remember are the good times we had, joking, learning from each other and getting excited when we finally perfected a piece, but I know there were some frustrating moments as well. The band dynamic was still fairly new to me, and it was a little different from playing in an ensemble last year – I really had to stay focused so that I didn’t miss my cue or stray off tempo. Also, while the glockenspiel was an easy instrument to get adjusted to, I was still the most comfortable at a piano. These were both reasons that made me love the pieces we were performing – once they were stuck in my head, my timing and tempo were much easier to get right. In the end, these challenges helped me feel more confident in my role as a musician.

The Gala Concert was one of those events that truly made me feel like an IB music student.

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How You Should Celebrate Christmas

Although our inexperience may show, we were a very enthusiastic group of Christmas carolers last Thursday, during our visit to the children’s ward.

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img_6625When our bus left OSC, on the way to the Maharagama hospital, it was filled with christmas spirit, complete with a tree, santa costume, green and red balloons, and a plethora of shiny presents. While our Christmas caroling at the ward was rather spontaneous, all the other details were planned meticulously in advance, right down to the color coded gifts according to age. We wanted to make this celebration as meaningful as possible, and that meant maximizing our time and resources.In fact, this year, Santa visited the children, as well as the parents at the ward – after all, they deserve to feel appreciated as well. A Christmas celebration with the children is something our service does every year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t put new thought and effort into the plans.

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Next to cake and chasing their balloons around the room, decorating the Christmas tree was the most popular activity of the evening. The tree was constantly surrounded by small feet, and tugged at my multiple hands – it was exactly what Christmas should be like.

Dancers of 2017

Having recently started my own CAS Project, it’s really exciting to hear about what my friends are doing, and how they’ve approached it.

A project that a majority of our senior class is excited about being involved in is a Bollywood dance routine, organized by Amit and Ariana, for our school talent show, ‘Gecko Factor’. As our whole class has fond memories of dancing to hindi songs, I think this will be a great way to celebrate our senior class while engaging in a CAS Activity.

Piano and Violin

One of my CAS goals, since the early days of DP1, has been to learn to play the violin. Finally, I’m glad that I have something to show for this objective!

Learning the violin was a musically educational experience for me – as a musician, I had no idea how different the approach to playing a string instrument would be. I also really liked the rich timbre of the instrument and how romantic it can sound. It’s so different from the piano, and a great way to express a different type of music, and musical ideas.

Technique, technique, technique!

As a piano player, learning to play a string instrument posed many challenges, most of them that I did not see coming!

  • The violin needs to be tuned almost daily, unlike the piano
  • I needed to apply rosin to my bow to give it better grip and ‘catching’ ability.
  • I had to endure Fridays with aching arms and collar bones after class until I got used to playing the violin.
  • Unlike in the piano, I had to practice until I knew which finger position correspond with which note.

Changing it up…

After playing mostly classical and western songs on the piano, I thought it would be a good idea to also learn sinhala songs, which was something my mom was very excited about! I think it was a good way to take CAS to the next level and express my creativity in my own culture. Below is video of me playing the sinhala song ‘Ganga Addara’ by Vijaya Kumaratunga, which I have been working on:

My main goals for my violin lessons are…

(a) Correctly learning the fingering for the higher octave notes, and being able to switch quickly from a lower position to a higher position.

(b) Being able to play quavers and semi quavers smoothly.

Piano Progress

While my violin lessons progress, I am still maintaining my piano and music theory exams. At the moment, I am preparing for my Grade 7 music theory exam, which I talked about in a previous post. However, I am also making sure that I still have time to practice the piano and learn new songs:

My main goal for my piano lessons is…

(a) To keep learning and practicing new songs, despite my increased focus on theory in preparation for my exam.

Yearbook 2016-2017

Having reached my final year of high school, I realize the importance of the many memories and experiences I have collected throughout the last few years, and really want to be a part of how all my friends, as well as myself, will remember them. Yearbook is a great way to go about this, and, when I look through it years later, will mean that much more to me as I would have been a part of creating the final product.

Additionally, I’ve always been interested in photoshop, graphics and the huge amount of creativity needed to make the yearbook. having gone to only three meeting so far, the sheer number of ideas we have already brainstormed has made me really excited for the final product, and our classmates’ reactions to it.

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My Mood Board

 

 

Although we haven’t started making the pages yet, we thought it would be a good idea to create a mood board, expressing our main creative ideas of the yearbook this year. Showing each other our ideas this way, instead of through words, worked really well in inspiring us and helping us come up with a theme.

My main goal for Yearbook is…

(a) To maintain my commitment and make sure I do my best to make our visions for this year a reality.

Gala Concert Plans

Like last year, one of the first conversations we had in music this year was about the gala concert, as we had all been thinking of new performances to showcase. This year, I will be playing the glockenspiel with the concert band, taking part in the opening and closing numbers. I’m really looking forward to this experience as playing with a band is an important musical skill that I would like to develop further. Last year, I played the piano in a string ensemble, allowing me to improve my timing and precision on the instrument. Therefore, I’m glad to have the opportunity to improve these skills on a new instrument. I’m also really excited to be playing the glockenspiel as I really like its timbre and sound.

My goals for the gala concert are..

(a) To develop my musical skills in an instrument other than the piano, like the glockenspiel.

(b) To improve my timing and precision in playing, in order to play as part of a band.

 

DP 2 Objectives

With school beginning one last time for me, I am excited to form new CAS goals and maintain my commitment to those from last year.

I aim to…

  • Explore and improve upon my creativity skills and talents by:

(a) Maintaining my commitment to playing the piano, by continuing my lessons, and sitting for the ABRSM Grade 4 Piano Practical exam. Additionally, I will look at identifying my strengths and areas for growth, in order to improve as a pianist.

(b) Developing new musical skills by playing the glockenspiel as part of the concert band for the upcoming gala concert.

(c) Undertaking new challenges by taking violin lessons and learning to play an instrument that is very different from the piano.

(d) Exploring new areas of creativity, such as photoshop and digital editing, in Yearbook.

(e) Reflecting on my creative efforts by analyzing my skills and progress and determining how to get better.

  • Show significant development in my activities by:

(a) Showing commitment and perseverance by participating in badminton and yoga again.

(b) Working collaboratively with fellow athletes in badminton, in order to maintain my strengths in the sport and develop in areas for growth.

  • Prove my dedication to service in the community and determine how to increase the quality of my efforts by:

(a) Maintaining my commitment to the service ‘Hope for Kids’.

(b) Working collaboratively with the members of my service to spread awareness of global issues, such as cancer, and the ways in which it is affecting our own community in Sri Lanka.

(c) Apply my leadership skills as a leader of my service in order to plan and initiate activities that will benefit the patients at the cancer hospital, and aid in bringing funds to help the hospital with their worthy cause.

  • Fulfill my CAS requirements by:

(a) Planning and carrying out a CAS project

Looking back at my goals in DP1, I have aimed to make my goals more specific and achievable, in order to have a more successful CAS experience during my last year of high school.

End of Year CAS Reflection

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As the end of this academic year nears, looking back at my initial CAS goals, and the eight learning outcomes for CAS, makes me realize how much I have grown and accomplished this year, as well as the ways in which my aspirations changed and veered in new directions.
FullSizeRender-2Looking back on my goals for creativity, it’s encouraging to see that I have achieved my goals, and exceeded my initial expectations. Having reflected on the blog regarding my progress as a piano player, I am satisfied with my success at live performances, and my improvement in pianistic techniques. However, while I am glad that I undertook the challenge of becoming a better pianist and playing for live audiences, it has also led me to identify areas for growth in my learning.Now that I have experience playing live, and have a better understanding of how to cope with mistakes during the heat of the moment, I aim to take a more central and frequent role in these performances next year, as a DP2 musician.

While maintaining my commitment to playing the piano, I am also really grateful 1that I got the opportunity to expand my knowledge of music, by developing new skills as a violinist. As this was a CAS goal made at the beginning of the year, however, I am a little disappointed at how long it took me to organize a teacher and start my lessons, as it left me no time for reflection on the blog. For next year, I plan to take more initiative when pursuing any CAS activity, so that I have time to blog in detail about it, over the course of the semesters.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.25.23 PMA large part of my creativity hours, however, came about due to activities and events that I did not plan to be a part of, but felt a personal desire to try. MUN and Bugsy Malone (backstage crew) are two main events that became a spontaneous addition to my CAS blog. With MUN, I demonstrated my perseverance and commitment to an activity that had overwhelmed me the year before. Deciding to participate a second time allowed me to experience the activity in a new light, made more enjoyable by my prior knowledge and new friends. Volunteering for the backstage crew in our school musical, however, was an entirely new challenge for me, one that turned out to be very rewarding. Aside from teaching me new skills, this event showed me what it is like to be part of OSC, and revel in the school spirit.

Looking back on my goals for action, it is apparent that this is the are where myScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 8.19.56 PM plans for the year changed significantly, taking me in new athletic directions that I had never thought of before. At the beginning of the year, I was eager to try a different form of action – dance. While I was very enthusiastic to learn, however, I did not find a class to my liking. Determined to develop new skills athletically, however, I joined yoga with my friends during the second semester. Rather different from dance, yoga taught me the importance of having a cal mindset and exercising your muscles to remain healthy. It was a very different area of action compared to badminton, the sport that I have been committed to for the past few years. Badminton allowed me to improve my strengths in technical aspects, such as succeeding in a smash shot, and enabled me to compete with friends in an activity I really enjoyed. Despite my athletic achievements, however, I wish I had been able to play sports more competitively, like in SAISA, something I am planning on working towards for next year.

HFKLooking back on my goals for service, I am glad to report that I have committed to “Hope for Kids” the entire year, a feat made very easy by the wonderful kids and dedicated group members. In the presence of my peers, who are so familiar with this cause, and determined to improve it, as well as my supervisors, who care about us as much as the kids at the hospital, it is impossible to see my service as a mere CAS requirement. Hope for Kids has definitely made me want to contribute to other service projects during my own time, which I think would be a good way to develop as a person, outside of CAS requirements.

For next year, I I plan to use all my ideas from the end of this year, as well as any new ideas I may have over the summer, to figure out new CAS goals.