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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to playing the piano in school events, such as the gala concert, I also work on my piano skills outside of school, by doing the ABRSM piano exam practicals.
Learning theory with Mr. Lancelot Perera
Currently, I am studying for Grade 7 theory and Grade 5 practicals. In order to prepare for these exams, I practice the required scales and pieces every day and go to an instructor to make sure that I’m on track for my exams.
In addition to playing for the exams, I’m also learning several songs in order to improve personally and for my own enjoyment. This is my favourite part of class, as it allows me to relax and reminds me of how much I enjoy playing the piano. Currently, I’m learning how to play ‘Love Story’ by Francis Lai: