Summary of my Learning:
I have spent the past four weeks finishing my last project and beginning to create my final project that I will present on In-depth night. I learned a lot about editing vocal tracks throughout the past few weeks. I was supposed to record with Sarah, but she was too busy with rugby, so instead I asked my sister Grace to record with me. Through some trial and error, as well as some advice from my mentor, I learned that it is extremely important to stand at a specific distance and angle from the microphone. When Grace stood too close, there was lots of popping and sibilance. Popping is the sound of the extra air produced when you say words with the letters ‘P’ and ‘B’, and sibilance is the excessive hissing sound when pronouncing ‘S’ and ‘F’ sounds. That being said, when she stood too far away from the microphone, the recording sounded weak and the quality became poorer. My mentor suggested that we look at the angle that Grace was singing into the mic at, instead of simply focusing on the distance away from the mic that Grace stood. I found that the recording sounded much smoother and clearer when Grace sang at an angle and turned away slightly when breathing or pronouncing aggressive syllables. This also made my post-production editing much easier.
Here’s a link to my Something Just Like This cover: Something Just Like This
For my final presentation at In-depth Night I have chosen to present a cover of the song ‘Africa’ by Toto. I have started researching to find sheet music online that I will use to record each different layer of music. This project is definitely going to be a challenge, as the song is quite iconic and there are many intricate layers of unique instruments in it. I am beginning to lay out the different parts I will need to record, and I am also trying to schedule a day to record the vocals with my friend Evan. This week I plan to begin recording the percussion as well as some of the bass parts.
How to Have a Beautiful Mind:
According to De Bono, concepts act “like road junctions that open up several other roads (p.88). This accurately represents the way that I have been learning to use GarageBand throughout the past few months. When learning a new skill, I start with general research about one concept, and this concept will give me the skills and abilities to begin learning about another concept. For example, learning how to record and edit tracks with software instruments gave me the tools that allowed me to begin recording with real instruments. Furthermore, I have found discussing the concepts that I am learning with to be very helpful when trying to break down large ideas into smaller and simpler ideas. Some of the skills that I have been learning with my mentor have felt overwhelming or complicated, so it has been crucial for me to establish the main concept and then break it down into all of the smaller aspects.
I reviewed many concepts during my last meeting with my mentor. An example would be the concept of recording clear and clean audio. As mentioned earlier, we were able to break this concept down into adjusting the distance and angle between the performer and the microphone to reduce background noise or abnormalities in the level of voice. We also discussed the concept of agreement within a song. This involves more fine-tuned ideas such as adjusting the tenor, bass, and reverb of each different layer of a song so that it comes together in a way that sounds balanced and pleasant.
My mentor has offered me a lot of alternatives throughout this project. For example, she acknowledged by experience with playing and reading music and offered to speed through the process of learning how to use software and real instruments. This allowed us to spend much more time editing and fine-tuning of my projects which I found really useful. Furthermore, my mentor’s experience with me allowed her to give me more freedom and autonomy in my learning. For the most part I created my projects by myself and brought my finished product to my mentor who could offer me suggestions for how to make it better. I think that this process allowed me to learn a lot through trial and error because there were many times in which I had to try to problem solve using my existing skills and knowledge.
I believe that my mentor was able to offer alternatives so early in my learning because she has worked with me for many years. If I was working with a mentor that didn’t know me as well and didn’t realize how much experience I have with music theory and playing music, they may have offered less alternatives. Additionally, if I didn’t know my mentor as well, they would not already know that I am most successful when I am given the opportunity to explore ideas individually. As a result, they may have been stricter and might have given me less liberty to figure problems out by myself.
In-depth Night Presentation:
On In-depth Night, I will be doing a presentation on the stage rather than a learning centre. I chose to do this because my project this year can be better represented by projecting one of my projects up on a big screen and having the whole audience listen to it at once. Furthermore, it may have been difficult to listen to my work at a learning centre while there are many people walking around or presenting their projects. During my presentation, I am going to give a short explanation of what I worked on throughout the past few months and give some context as to why I chose to present ‘Africa’ by Toto. I am going to focus on the three main concepts that I learned (software instruments, real instruments, and vocals) and explain some of the challenges that I faced throughout my learning. I will then play a time-lapse that will show a recording of the process of creating my final project from start to finish. Last, I will play as much of the song as possible with the time remaining. I hope that the audience learns that there is technology available to everyone interested in music that they can use to pursue their passion. Although it is quite difficult to make my presentation interactive because I am presenting on stage, I feel as though my time-lapse is interactive with the audience because it shows them what it gives them a first person view of all the different layers of instruments and editing that goes into creating a project on GarageBand.