Humanities: How Do We Know What We Know About The Past?

We know what we know about what has happened in the past by using many different sources, first hand information, and artifacts. When we look at the past, and have only one source of information, this information may be biased, incorrect or only have one viewpoint. However, with multiple sources, we can piece together information based on the sources. Even with multiple sources, we may still have questionable data or information. However, to minimize this, we can look primary or first hand sources, which may be able to provide more accurate information about the past. An example of first hand or primary sources are artifacts. These are objects or texts that give direct information about the event, culture or other information. By using these three all together, we can receive more accurate, un-biased information.

In-Depth Post #3: Progress!

I have learned so much so far on my In-Depth journey! Thus far, I have learned the basics of country style fiddling, which made me feel as if I were re-learning the instrument, but somehow be able to play!


 

Progress/Obstacles:

After the first blog post, I have put down the two introductory songs that I had been working on, as I needed to start the next one. So far, Using these songs, I have learned the skill for the speed needed to play well. These skills include a faster string crossing, as before I could not perform this, a faster bow stroke, and finally, the memorization of the pieces. Now that I am done with my first two songs, I am moving onto my next song, Old Joe Clark.

I have been playing this song for about a week now, and find that it is very challenging. This song takes the speed and level of skill needed to play that fast, and tones down the speed, but adds in an extra challenge: playing two strings at once. In this song, the bow must have strong contact with two strings at once, while playing notes on one and using the other for harmony. At some points in the song, It even requires fast string crossings, similar to the ones I had encountered in the first two, but are harder because of the drone. (Drone is the technical term for playing two strings, but only playing notes on one) After the first week, I can play this song well, but at a slower pace. As I turn up the speed, the song will get harder and harder, until I reach the speed it should be played at. Once there, I need to become fluent with memorization and skill.


 

Schedule:

Good News! I have decided on the songs I want to play for the last two months!

January: The Devil’s Dream (Fast 120 bpm) and Fiddle Rounds (Fast 130 bpm)

February: Old Joe Clark (Medium-Fast 90 bpm)

March: Ashokan Farewell (Slow-Medium 60 bpm)

April: The Drunken Sailor (Fast 120-140 bpm)

(Performance) May: Swallowtail Jig (Very Fast 140-160 bpm)


 

Questions:

1. What went particularly well during your mentor sessions?

So far, my mentor and I have been able to smoothly communicate face to face, as we have a scheduled meeting every week. He has been able to give me good tips, tricks and techniques to become a better fiddle player. I have also improved greatly, starting with no knowledge other than how to play the instrument, and have learned a bit of history, starting with where fiddling began. I also believe that my playing has become better.

2. What learning challenges emerged?

Over the course of what I have done so far, some challenges that were bound to pop up did. Some things like adjusting to the new style of music I was playing threw me off a little bit, as the skills I already had did not line up with the skills I would need to acquire to be able to play these songs well. Through practice, I was able to hone these skills and improve them.

3. What logistical challenges affected your communications?

Some things like not being able to talk face to face during other days of the week sometimes hindered our communication, but we then solved those problems by setting up a text message system between us to better communicate.


 

Looking forwards to the next post!

~Dylan

In-Depth Post #2: The Journey Proceeds

Wow! In-Depth has gone from a simple introduction to straight into the project!


Progress/Obstacles:

I have made a ton of progress so far on In-Depth! I have found 3 of the 6 songs that I wanted to play. This also leads into what I had planned initially being changed. Instead of 5 songs, I have decided to do 6. Since my first two songs are fairly easy, I decided that I would do both of them in the first month, just to try to kickstart my learning. However, it was not easy for me to learn how to play these songs. (Seen Below)

When I first got these songs, I played them to the best of my ability, but was able to do it easily. However, I had played them about 4 times under the normal speed. So, during my first meeting, Tony, my mentor, had me play it 2 times under speed, just to get familiar with the notes. I was able to get through that, but still struggled with certain parts that made me change strings over and over. (String crossing) My mentor told me to decrease the distance that I moved my bow to minimize the time taken to go back and forth. This was hard for me, as a classical player who enjoys slow, melodic songs, needing to fully ‘dig’ into the strings to get a nice sound. However, I found that it helped me a ton! On the second week, I had practiced my songs quite a bit more, and believe that I had improved. Tony noted that I had gotten it up to speed as well as up to a performance standard, so I recorded myself playing the two songs. (Seen Below) Overall, I am proud that I have made quick progress on these two songs.


 

Schedule:

After choosing these songs with my mentor, I have added them to my overall schedule:

January: The Devil’s Dream (Fast 120 bpm) and Fiddle Rounds (Fast 130 bpm)

February: Old Joe Clark (Medium-Fast 90 bpm)

March: Ashokan Farewell (Slow-Medium 60 bpm)

April: ??? (Fast 120-140 bpm)

(Performance) May: ??? (Very Fast 140-160 bpm)


 

Questions:

I have been spending quite the amount of time on my In-Depth, and have met with my mentor twice now. I have gotten to know him a fair bit, and he has told me a little about himself. He has been a violin player for a long time, dating back to his childhood. He developed a passion for violin, and stuck to it, with his own teachers and mentors guiding him along the way. He told me that he had always enjoyed to play, and learn new songs. I also learned a bit off of his paragraph on the website of the music school I am attending. (http://salinachengmusic.com/faculty) In the past two meetups, he has taught me many strategies for playing quicker and better fiddle tunes. So far, he has taught me how to improvise slightly by adding in small notes that make the piece sound deeper and more fluid/natural. He has also been kind enough to help me look for some songs, as seen below. Overall, if I am wanting to become a mentor, I will need to practice intensely to assure quality content.


 

Songs!

Recorded on second week of practicing.


 

Recorded on first week of practicing, two days after first tried.


img_20180131_210134495

The three pieces I received from my mentor


 

Overall, I have worked hard and am very proud of what I have accomplished so far!

~Dylan

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Emotions

In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream  we see that our emotions change our visions of the world when we see Theseus and Hippolyta talking about their upcoming marriage. When Egeus enters and complains to Theseus about Hermia not wanting to marry Demetrius, Theseus hears the case, and replies by saying “But, being over-full of self-affairs,/ My mind did lose it.” (1.1.113-114) Because Theseus was so happy and excited for his upcoming event, he could not care less about their problems, and simply dismissed it with a generous amount of time to settle it. This shows that happiness, as well as other emotions can change the outcome of situations based on a human judge’s feelings. We see, again, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that emotions change human perception when Lysander, shortly after hearing what the conclusion on his and Hermia’s love was, told Hermia that love was “Brief as the lightning in the collied night.” (1.1.145) After receiving news that they could not be married, Lysander must have been quite angry, and his darkened perceptions twisted his ideas from love being spontaneous, to love being so rebellious, as seen when Lysander plans to run away with Hermia.

In-Depth Introductory Post: Here We Go!

For quite a while before this project, I have been thinking (and stressing) about this massive learning opportunity. But now it is here, and I am ready to do this!


 

fiddle


For this year, I have chosen to do my in-depth project on country style fiddling (violin). The reason I wanted to try a new genre of violin music was because of a cruise that I had gone to Alaska on. As a young violinist, I watched a professional violinist play country styled music on the boat, and that inspired me to try something new. It seemed like learning a whole new instrument! The differences between my current repertoire and country styled music are plentiful, and includes differences such as more joyous and quick paced music.  However, with no time and lots of other violin music to practice, I never got the chance to try until now! By the end of this project, I have envisioned myself being able to:

  1. Perform country style songs that I have learned in front of an audience
  2. Know how to improvise in certain sections of the music
  3. Have some knowledge about the history behind country music
  4. Understand the patterns commonly used in the music, and what makes it distinguishable

After some time of looking for a mentor, I had began to struggle with finding one. I had already asked around, in the community, in places such as the orchestra that I attend. However, when I asked my violin teacher, whom I have known for a short period of time, and found out that he happened to be a professional country violinist, and was willing to help me.

This is a short biography that I found at http://salinachengmusic.com/faculty, which is the music school that I go to.

Tony Clarke studied violin at the Trinity College of Music in London, England. He completed Suzuki pedagogy courses held at the Universities of Calgary and Montana and was a violin instructor at the Calgary Conservatory of Music. Further private studies were undertaking with Moshe Hammer and Cenek Vrba. Later, he was a member of various orchestras in London including the Hammersmith Philharmonic and the Kensington Symphony. In Canada, he played with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for four years including the 1988 Winter Olympics. He was Concertmaster of the Vancouver Philharmonic and New Westminster Symphony Orchestras for a period of fourteen years and performed with BC Chamber Orchestra, The Vancouver Island Symphony, Prince George, Okanagan and Fraser Valley orchestras and the Romanza String Quartet. He also toured with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and played a series of Chamber concerts in Barbados.

Currently, I have gotten started on my first piece of music, and have discussed some meeting times with my mentor.

I am looking forwards to this project, and I hope that I learn tons about some good o’l fiddle tunes!

ZIP! Document of Learning #4 – Week 4

Reflect on your inquiry question and how your understanding has changed, becoming more focused, or is perhaps being reaffirmed by your research. What do you now know that you didn’t know when you started this inquiry


At the beginning of this inquiry, I had no idea what I was doing. I aimlessly cut out paragraphs and chunks of information that should have been kept in, and my paragraphs or essays that I was editing ended up like a sticky mess that was impossible to read properly. Along the way, as I grew my strategies, I kept finding that I still ended up finding things to cut out over and over, and editing would take me more than one read-through to find every possible mistake. Then, I realized that my brain had to process much more than one of the rules that I had created, making my thoughts and searching ability clouded. So, after making my list on concise writing and editing clearer, I was able to focus my editing. After more tweaking, I re-ordered my list and the elements on it, just to make the big moves first, so that the list would minimize the amount of editing and steps someone using the list would have to take. Now, I know the power of ordered lists, as well as what I had intended to learn in the first place.

 

ZIP! Document of Learning #3 – Week 3

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself at the start of your inquiry?


 

I would have given myself hints to make a ‘rule list’, as I have currently. The list has definitely helped me present my learning, by translating it into a step by step guide to go through. It also ensures that you are getting all of the jargon or unneeded words. If I were to just list a bunch of strategies to cut down an essay, someone using the tips could easily miss finding some things in writing, just as I did before I developed a list. Once I had finished creating a checklist, I found that editing was a lot easier to do.

ZIP! Document of Learning #2 – Week 2

Describe the ups and downs you have encountered to date with your inquiry. Specifically, when were you frustrated or struggling in your inquiry, what did you do to address the situation?


Ups:

I have thoroughly enjoyed this inquiry thus far, and one of the main ups has been being able to process my research into a way that I can apply it. I have used the writing techniques to shorten some of my old (and poorly written) essays down, and have had my parents read the before and afters to make sure I have not left out any details or information. I have also written some paragraphs from scratch, applying the skills I have learned to them.


 

Downs:

I hit a wall on Wednesday, when I thought I went overboard on editing an old essay. I had read over the paper after editing for length, and realized it had gone from 1400 words, to 600 words. I looked at my checklist and went through the step by step process that I had formulated. I had not overdone or underdone anything, and was unable to figure out why the essay had gotten way too short. After going over the piece many more times, I finally looked at the original, which I had written in grade 6. Most of it was a good statement or point followed with some jargon and other nonsense. I realized that was why the essay had shrunken so much. This issue however, had led me to adding another step to my list, which was to first eliminate jargon or spam, take out repetitive sentences or paragraphs, then look for adverbs and things like “Firstly”, and then take out helping verbs etc…

PTI Paragraph

In the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, the biggest conflict Junior has had is with the other kids at his first basketball game, where his is racially discriminated. When Junior goes back to his hometown, where everyone thinks he is a traitor, the first sign of extreme hatred is when the elementary school kids begin to throw snowballs at the bus, along with snowballs with rocks in them. Junior also states that “Some of those little dudes and dudettes were my cousins.” (143) This shows that almost everyone (with a few exceptions) hates Junior, just for wanting to have a better education and a brighter future. After this, when the team walked into the gym, “The rez basketball fans were chanting, ‘Ar-nold sucks! Ar-nold sucks! Ar-nold sucks!'” (143) By calling Junior his Reardan name, they were trying to show the Reardan players what they thought about Junior, as the Reardan players would not know that Junior was Arnold. The Wellpinit players also turned their backs on their opponents to show that they did not like Junior trying to have a better future. All of this shows how race and poverty are big issues in this novel, and that his fellow Indians now hate him, just for attending a white school where people are rich. At first, one might think that the white people are racist towards the Indians, but as the novel progresses, we see textual evidence of Indians discriminating white people, along with Junior, just because he is an ‘apple’.  The reason that they cannot live together is because of racism, as well as bitterness of the Indians when they see that white people are rich.