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.

Yoga – DP2 Objectives

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Having done yoga last year, I was happy to join again, especially since I’m really interested to try different forms of yoga. This year, our new teacher, Miss. Rebecca Morse, has decided to practice more challenging and physical aspects of yoga.

Last year, I talked about how different yoga was from the sports I normally took part in, like badminton, with a strong focus on healthy living and a clear mind. This year, while a strong mind is still given emphasis, we are also exploring the harder poses and really challenging our bodies. Additionally, a really great aspect of yoga is endurance – holding a pose is as important as being able to do it, making it a very different form of action from badminton, and one that I am excited to improve.

My aims for yoga this semester are…

(a) To learn the basic poses of yoga, so that I can practice yoga at home, and improve my skills. For example, I learnt that the ‘rest’ pose in yoga is called the ‘child’s’ pose.

(b) Improve my skills in the harder yoga poses by holding it better and for a little bit longer each class.

(c) Use the breathing techniques we learn to improve my endurance and strength while doing yoga – it is very easy to forget to do so throughout the session.

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.

HFK -Preparation for the New Year

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Food and Fun Fair

After weeks of tie-dying shirts, making dream catchers and beading necklaces, the Food and Fun Fair finally dawned on Saturday, the 2nd of April. The fair was cheerful and bustling from the start, and it took me a moment to take in the colorful stalls and find the one that was labelled ‘Hope For Kids’. Thanks to the wonderful teachers we had supervising us, the stall was set up for success, with all our hard work displayed proudly along with many pictures of our work at the hospital.

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The HFK Stall

I, along with many of my fellow members, stopped by the stall frequently  throughout the fair to make sure that the members manning the stall could take a break. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend all my time at my service stall as, like all the others, I also had to help out with our class stall, the ‘Slip ‘N Slide’. However, I still supported Hope For Kids by sending many of my friends to the stall, and buying something from the stall myself. Apart from raising money for our cause, I think our enthusiasm and commitment conveyed to all our customers our dedication to the service and its importance in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, our time at the fair also served in inspiring others to pay more attention to all the kids in need in Sri Lanka.

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Rations at the Hospital (Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan)

 

The Food and Fun Fair was a nice way of welcoming the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, here in Sri Lanka, which falls on the 13th or 14th of April, depending on the year. As this is a time where family and friends get together and celebrate new beginnings, we wanted the kids at the hospital, along with their families, to have the same opportunity. Therefore, as we had done the year before, we had a dry rations fundraiser at school before spring break, so the kids at the hospital could indulge in good food during this happy time. To incentivize our classmates to bring in dry rations (such as rice, milk powder, and other Sri Lankan staple foods), we decided to award the grade that brought in the most rations a pizza party.

 

 

The Thursday before spring break, as we were all struggling to load the immense amount of dry rations into our van to take to the kids, we realized how much our classmates had really delivered. This was especially true in the case of grade 7, who brought in the most amount of dry rations and won the pizza party.

At the hospital, due to the shy smiles and heartfelt ‘thank you’s of the kids and their families as we gave them their rations, it was wonderful to hear that we had brought in extra rations and could donate them to even more families.

As a Sri Lankan looking forward to her own New Year, I’m really grateful that I got to start it in such a simple, yet uplifting way.

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Taking the Rations to the Hospital (Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan)

Yoga -The End

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The DP1 Yoga students

Taking part in yoga was a totally new experience for me as all of my previous activities involved a lot of fast movement and quick reflexes – when I played badminton, it was all about being ready to move across the court in a matter of seconds. In yoga, i was challenged as much as I was in any other sport, however, these challenges were presented in very different ways.

Yoga tested my endurance and flexibility – by holding different yoga poses for the recommended amount of time, I improved my muscle strength while also working on my physical and mental tolerance. Another very unique aspect of yoga is its focus on healthy living and a serene mind. To help with this, we learnt different breathing techniques and meditation methods. After an exhaustive hour of stretching and exercises, it was a great way to relax and clear our minds.

Yoga proved to be a very relaxing activity not only because of all the knowledge we gained, but also because of our group atmosphere. The yoga activity this semester was made up of all DP1 students, meaning that we all knew each other very well, and were unafraid to try out new things around each other, and express our feelings.

I am really glad I tried yoga out, as it is a unique experience of an activity. The core values of yoga, such as having a peaceful conscience, and living healthy, are important life lessons that I can take away, and use, in many other aspects of my life.