I had my second session with my mentor this past Saturday, and the information that I get just keeps coming and coming! I never knew that there was this much to learn about chords and harmonies. There are so many different branches that I could learn about and I didn’t even know that most of them existed!
I would say that my in depth project is still going extremely well, and I am learning more than I thought that I would have. I am not following my schedule exactly, just to fit the schedule of my mentor and what happens in the mentor lessons, but I am still getting the basic things done. I have written two versions of four part harmonies to twinkle twinkle little star so far, and I am going to make a third version, taking the benefits from both of the previous ones. I have also made a rubric/score sheet for my harmony arrangements. I have tested this out on my family members and fixed some details, and I will try it out on others once my third version of twinkle twinkle is done. The scale lets you rate a harmony arrangement out of 25 based on various sub categories. I will get 10 different people with various musical background experience to evaluate all three versions of my harmonies to see my improvement . It will also be an experiment to see which people prefer simpler or more complex harmonies in comparison to their musical experience. I have also worked out harmonies and a key change to a song that Melissa and I are performing at the Slam Jam on March 2nd(Come and watch! Show starts at 6:30!) with my mom (secondary mentor) and the help of Melissa. I needed quite a bit of help with this since it was my first time working out harmonies and a key change to a whole song but next time I am hoping to do more of it on my own.
As for my mentor session, we worked on many things, once again. We started with rhythms, and my mentor taught me about how you can play the same chords with different rhythms and change the whole feel of the song. I did this with twinkle twinkle little star and played it in many styles. Some examples were triplets, waltz, and swing 8th’s. I also learned more about chords. I found out that in addition to the root chord being the one chord, the five chord is called the dominant chord. For example, in the key of C, the dominant chord is G. I previously knew that a seventh chord is a chord with the 1,3,5,7 notes in it. However, I learned that a dominant 7th chord is a chord with the 1,3,5, and flat 7th notes in it. Next, we went over key changes and how to write one into a song. I now know that a simple way to make a smooth key change is to go to the 5 chord, or dominant chord of the new key. That will pull you towards the 1 chord, or root chord of the new key, and voila, you have made a key change. My mentor also taught me that playing the 1 chord, 6 chord, 2 chord, and then 5 chord is a common chord structure in a song, and could help me to figure out the chords by ear. We finished off the mentor meeting by deciding on a song to analyze the chord structure of for next meeting: My Funny Valentine. My mentor chose this song because it has a complex chord structure that will demonstrate how a variety of chords are used.
In terms of using De Bono’s techniques in my mentor sessions, it was a bit difficult because once again, it was more of a lesson setting where my mentor was teaching me about the math behind music, but I did find some times to incorporate “How to have a beautiful mind.” Separate from the mentor session, I was able to talk about my in depth project with people who didn’t know much about my topic. I was getting a ride from Megan before school and we were talking about our in depth projects and I was able to explain a bit about what I was learning in my project. I also was able to talk about this with my mentor, and ask what if’s. There were quite a few times I used this, but one example is when my mentor was explaining dominant chords to me and about how the 7th was flattened, and I asked him about what you would do if the chord was minor to start with, and if you would do the same thing, so that opened up another line of conversation. I asked many questions like this throughout the session to ensure my understanding of the concepts I was learning. This also helped to explore and elaborate on the subtopics/branches that I was most interested in. For the next session, I will definitely try to find more connections and personal experiences that can relate to what I am learning.
I think this has been a very successful first few weeks of in depth, and I look forward to working more on it!