Welcome to In-Depth 2020!

Hello there! I’m Izabela! Welcome to my 2020 In-Depth presentation: drumming (and playing in a band)!

I knew that I wanted to pursue drumming this year, even while In-Depth 2019 was still in progress! I’ve wanted to play the drums for as long as I can remember, and this was the perfect opportunity to finally try it out! Part of of what draws me to drumming is how much co-ordination and focus it takes, and how different is is from other instruments I play; there’s a big difference between drumming in a band and playing violin/viola in an orchestra!

Thankfully, my mom played the drums in high school so it was easier to convince her to let me get my own kit!

Below are links to songs (with the band and individually) that showcase my learning from In-Depth.

Don’t feel obligated to watch all the videos! Feel free to comment any questions you have for me!

Also, you can click here to check out the band’s Instagram account! Maybe give us a follow while you’re there? 😀

Band Covers:

Marlboro Nights – Lonely God

  • Marlboro Nights was the first song we played together as a band! My mentor helped me figure out the drum part, which took a lot of practice to get right. Once I could play the part, I worked on speeding it up. Our cover is slower than the original, but it fits our vibe better!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

  • For this song, I learned the basic beat from online tutorials, and added my own fills. Unfortunately, due to the quarantine and some technical issues, I couldn’t record my electric drums and had to re-create my part digitally on BandLabs. The bright side is that I was forced to learn how to use a new program! Thankfully, my previous musical experience meant I already knew how to read and write sheet music, so I just needed to figure how to translate that into the program.

Mozzie – The Lisztomaniacs

  • Mozzie is the band’s first original song! I’m absolutely blown away by Jian, Jewel, and Amanda’s songwriting skills! This was my first time needing to create an original drum part from scratch which was daunting. I started by figuring out the basic beat, and gradually added making it more complicated by adding more interesting elements. I am so proud of how we adapted to the quarantine and were able to put this final piece together without any physical contact!
  • Unfortunately, I had to use BandLabs again, but I made use of what I had access to.
This was me working on the drums for Mozzie!

Individual Covers:

Devil Town – Cavetown

  • Devil Town is one of the songs the band was contemplating covering. It’s high energy and volume make it one of my favorites to play! This song is special to me, as it was the first song I figured out how to play by myself.
  • In the beginning, the hardest part of this song was the 8th notes on the snare drum with my left hand; for some reason I couldn’t wrap my head around it. After a lot of practicing, I was able to play it correctly, and now I can do it automatically!

Comfort Crowd – Conan Gray

  • I thought Comfort Crowd would be easier to play, but it actually had its own challenges. The song is slower, so it’s easier to notice if you’re notes aren’t consistent. I spent a lot of time practicing to make sure I was playing on beat.
  • The high-hat notes at the end were difficult for me. The problem was that I would second-guess if I was playing it correctly, which would cause me to hesitate and get thrown-off. This video is my best take, but I still make a small mistake with the high-hat. I wanted to leave that in to show what I will continue to improve on after In-Depth is over!

Overall, I’m proud of how much I learned over the past 5 months, and how I adapted to continuing the project during quarantine. I would also like to thank my mentor for teaching me so much! I had an amazing time during In-Depth. I can’t wait to continue growing my skills and working together with the band! Thank you for visiting my online In-Depth presentation!

In-Depth 2020 Post #6

The band has made some very exciting progress since my last blog post! Over the past few weeks, we have been working very hard towards releasing our first cover of Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

It was challenging to organize the cover online, and took longer than it would have if we could have worked on it in-person. We adapted by having numerous video calls and text conversations, and uploaded all of our parts to a shared online folder.

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I also had a lot of trouble recording my drums; I looked up many tutorials but the audio kept distorting. Since we wanted to get the cover up soon, I needed to find an alternative. Jian and Jewel suggested I try using BandLabs to write out my drum part and make a mp3 file that way. I followed the draft cover of myself actually playing along to the song, and translated that into the program which made the isolated drum beat. My previous musical experience came in very handy, as I knew how to properly notate music, but it took a while to get the hang of.

girls just wanna have fun band labs

I am very proud of the finished cover! I suggested the 2000s-themed intro and provided the clips for it, which I thought was a nice touch!

girls just wanna have fun intro
I’m glad I remembered my old DS had this feature!

Click here to see the clip of the cover we posted on our Instagram.

Click here to see the full cover on YouTube. 

I am also working on practicing the skills my mentor gave me, and playing to other songs I like for more practice!

I am currently talking with my mentor about what I can do to fix the recording problem. However, I could have done a better job of keeping in touch virtually during the lock-down.

 

My idea for online In-Depth night is to make a series of videos about my progress and accomplishments. People can click the links on my blog to watch the videos they are interested in. I will have links to the band’s completed covers and drumming that I’ve worked on by myself.

In-Depth 2020 Post #5

These past few weeks have been interesting! I’ve needed to quickly adapt to the many methods we are using to work around the pandemic, and trying to figure out new technologies.

This week, the band had our first Zoom meeting where we discussed how to proceed with our project. We talked about what songs we should cover and most importantly, how we would record. I am at a disadvantage, as unlike Jian, Jewel, and Amanda, I have no background in music recording or production. On top of that, I am using an instrument I am less familiar with. The other girls are really helpful, suggesting programs and techniques I can use to record my drums (thankfully they’re electric so I won’t need microphones). I am currently researching how to record onto my laptop with my specific kit).

listomaniacs zoom meeting
the lisztomaniacs… but online!

We decided to cover “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, as its a song we all know and love, and because it isn’t as complex as some of our other cover choices. This is our first time recording separately and combining our parts; we don’t want to over-complicate things for ourselves! It’s already going to be a challenge and a big learning curve!

I am using YouTube to get inspired by how other drummers interpret the song. My favorite is a cover by a 10 year old girl named Yoyoka (Click here to watch her cover). The multiple camera angles are very helpful so I can see more of how she is playing.

 

1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

  • My mentor has provided me with many online resources that I can use on my own time. He likes to tell me to “take this [exercise, beat, etc] as far as you want,” allowing me to be more self-directed while practicing. He has also provided me with The Book of Funk Beats: Groves for Snare, Bass, and Hi-Hat by David Lewitt and suggested for me to get Stick Control by George Stone. These books also let me learn in a self-directed way.

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

  • To reinforce new learning, my mentor suggests I try to figure out how to play a variety of songs that I enjoy listening to. This helps me stay motivated by letting me improve while working on songs I care about. Whenever I get stuck, I can ask my mentor to help me figure out certain parts, helping me to learn more.
  • Being in a band is also good at reinforcing new learning, as I don’t want to let the other members down. Having others count on you is great motivation to practice and learn more and to do the best you can!

 

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

  • Having someone who is a very good drummer listen to you play and give you advice is something that has vastly improved the rate of my learning. I also think having access to virtually unlimited drumming information online is incredible to move my learning along quicker (instead of having to wait a week to talk to my mentor, I can quickly Google smaller questions!)

 

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

  • When my mentor and I meet, we start by asking one another about how we are doing and mention anything interesting that happened during our week. After, we talk about anything I was struggling with or anything I would like him to go over. We also talk about our music taste and I get to talk about how happy I am to be learning the drums!

 

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

  • Right now, the best thing happening in my mentorship is that my mentor and I have been in contact to set up an online mentor meeting. We still need to finalize a date, time, and video call method, but at least I know both of us still excited about these lessons.

 

6. What are you learning about one another?

  • I have learned just how passionate about drumming my mentor is. I have also learned that he is an amazing teacher. He is good at articulating his thoughts, and is patient whenever I am struggling to get something down. I hope that my mentor is seeing how much I love learning the drums and how appreciative I am of him teaching me!

 

While COVID-19 temporarily slowed down my In-Depth, it is staring to pick up again, which is lifting my mood and inspiring me to put even more work into the project!

In-Depth 2020 Post #4

The school year has taken an interesting turn. There’s no doubt there are many new obstacles we are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m trying my best to work around  new restrictions to continue In-Depth, but the requirement to social-distance has made that much more difficult.

As of right now, I am primarily trying to improve techniques I learned before:

  • Flams: A flam is two single strokes from opposite hands played almost simultaneously. The first stroke is a quieter ghost note, and the second is louder.
    • Click here to see my flams!
  •  Single-Stroke Roll: Alternating left and right strokes. You use the bounce of the drum head to get multiple “hits” for each stroke.
    • I don’t have a video of a full single-stroke roll, but you can hear a short one at the beginning of my Affluenza cover later.
  • Different Beats: These are the patterns you hear drummer play throughout the song.
    • Click here to see a beat that was tricky in the beginning, but I eventually figured it out!

I’m also trying to figure out parts to my favourite songs:

  • Marlboro Nights by Lonely God(With the Band): This is the final cover we posted on Instagram.
  • Devil Town by Cavetown: This is me practicing the end of the song (it’s still not perfect, but I’m getting better!).
  • Affluenza by Conan Gray: I chose this song to challenge myself. The drum part is simple (it’s a 16th note beat the whole way through), but it’s hard to keep the notes steady for that long, especially when they’re that slow. There’s a short single-stroke roll at the very beginning.
    • Click here to watch!

 

Mentorship Reflection:

1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

  • The biggest challenge my mentor and I are facing is that we cannot meet physically due to COVID-19. As with most In-Depth skills, you can learn to drum by yourself, but you learn at a much slower rate and run the risk of learning improper technique. Even with video-call instruction, you lose the benefit of your mentor being able to fully asses your playing.

2. What is working well? Why?

  • Up until a few weeks ago, we’ve had weekly meetings which helped me get better at the drums quickly. Each week, my mentor goes through the basic sticking patterns and drum beats to make sure my basic technique is good. After that, he’ll show me new techniques, fills, or teach me parts to songs I ask about. They are getting increasingly more challenging. Whenever I’m struggling to figure out a pattern, my mentor will help me with the counting, or just be encouraging which is really helpful. He also takes time to go over anything I want to try. My mentor ends every meeting by asking me if there’s any song or fill I want him to take a look at. Most of the time I’ll ask him to figure out a part to a song I’m doing with the band that I can’t seem to figure out.
  • What is working the best is my mentor’s flexibility. He has an outline for each meeting, but he prioritizes working though things I’m struggling with and what interests me the most. This helps me to improve the areas I’m weaker in, and keeps the lessons fun!

3. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

  • As of right now, my mentor and I haven’t had a video-call meeting. We have been in contact, though. My mentor has told me which techniques I should practice by myself, and has introduced me to https://www.freedrumlessons.com/. This website/YouTube channel is full of free lessons on all sorts of drum beats, fills, and techniques. I’ve started to look at the lessons, and have already picked up a lot!
  • Even with the videos, it is helpful to have my own mentor, who knows my progress, to look at my playing. Now that Spring Break is over, we will try and set up some sort of video-call so I can get feedback on my playing. While a bit cumbersome, I know that this is the next best thing to having a full mentor meeting.

My band is having a similar issue, as we can’t practice together. Currently, we are working on finding a way to have online practices and to record a song individually, and combining the parts digitally like this: https://youtu.be/3eXT60rbBVk?t=42

I hope to keep progressing in my project, and even though COVID-19 is making it difficult, I’ll work around the obstacles that come my way!

 

 

In-Depth 2020 Post #3

In-Depth is going very well! I am improving a lot faster then I thought I was going to, and I made a lot of progress in this project, especially in this past week!

My recent meetings with my mentor have gone really well. I’ve progressed from learning simple sticking patterns and 8th note drum beats to more advanced variations of them. For example, I’m working on making the simple sticking patterns more difficult accenting different notes (I need practice accenting notes with my left hand more. As my non-dominant hand, it is weaker, and the accents are too quiet). I’m also making the sticking patterns more advanced by moving around the different drums. For the drum beats, I’ve tried adding ghost notes and also tried the same patterns with 16th notes.

My mentor also helped me to figure out the drum parts to more of the songs the band is hoping to cover!

The family friend who gave me the drum kit found an old amp which he gave to me! Now that I can play out loud instead of only through my headphones, I can upload progress videos!

 

Over the long weekend, Jian, Jewel, and Amanda came to my house for a photo shoot and our first full practice. We took photos in cool spots around my neighborhood, and Jewel did our makeup for her In-Depth! We got a few weird looks from neighbors walking around in our bright colours and with guitars, but we had too much fun to care!

Our first time playing through the song went really well! It definitely needs some more work, but we’re off to a great start!

 

Questions

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

My mentor and I work really well together. He always has a solid plan for the day, and I’m always eager to listen and learn. We are both enjoying teaching/learning through these meetings, which leads to a very positive and productive environment! My mentor also gives me specific skills or songs to look at throughout the week, so I am well prepared for the next lesson to be productive!

 

2. What relationship challenges did you face?

Thankfully, my mentor and I have gotten along very well! So far, the only issue we’ve had was communicating during the long weekend, as we were both busy.

 

3. What learning challenges emerged?

My main issues have been trying to play too fast, and my foot not cooperating with me. My mentor often needs to remind me to slow down and really nail the pattern before I speed it up; I just get too excited while playing! I am actively working on playing at a speed that is manageable for my skill level. I am also having some trouble getting the timing right with the kick drum. The only solution to that is to practice slower and build my skills up.

 

 

 

In-Depth 2020 Post #2

In-Depth 2020 has started! Even though In-Depth has only just begun, a lot has happened! I’ve already learned so much and am having fun!

Over semester break, I officially started my project. While in Seattle for a fencing tournament, I visited the Museum of Pop Culture. One of their current exhibitions is the Sound Lab. The sound lab had many intriguing interactive stations, but by far the best were the soundproof practice rooms. My favourite? The one with the drum kit of course! This was the first time I got to play on a kit, a vast improvement on thwacking pillows and chairs in my bedroom! I wasn’t that great, but I think I did really well for my first time every truly playing!

Yesterday, I got my drum kit! It is a Yamaha electronic drum with rubber drum heads,  an old model, but it is still in great condition! It took quite a bit of time to set up, as there were no instructions, but it was all worth it in the end! On Wednesday, I need to purchase headphones with a stereo jack, as that’s the only way to hear the drums without an amp. For now, I am using my normal earbuds with a stereo jack adapter Jian gave me, however the cords are too short and keep getting pulled out.

After setting up my kit, the excitement continued with our band’s first official meeting! Jewel and I met with Jian at her house where we discussed band names, potential songs to cover, our visual and auditory aesthetic, future meetings, and much more. We also created a band Instagram account to document and share our music.

The name we chose was “the lisztomaniacs”! A lisztomaniac is a person who needs to listen to music all the time, which perfectly defines the three of us!

first meeting
the lisztomaniacs at their first meeting!

 

Today was my first mentor meeting! I had an amazing time. My mentor, Norm, is an amazing drummer who has been playing since he was in high school. He currently plays in a local rock band. So far, he has been an amazing teacher and I am really looking forward to next Monday’s meeting to learn more!

We spent the meeting working on proper technique with the drum sticks, and trying some basic drum beats. He also brought some drum music with exercises that help me to learn and read drum music, and also to practice technique. Norm also looked at my drum kit and gave me suggestions on where to place the pads to make them more practical to play. Norm came very prepared, which maximized the lesson time. He brought his own practice pad, so he could play along with me, brought print-outs, and even listened to the band’s possible cover songs and helped me figure out the drum part. He was an amazing teacher, and I can’t wait to learn more from him!

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Overall, I learned a lot about drumming in only one day! I can’t wait to see where more practice will get me!

In-Depth 2020 Post #1

It’s In-Depth time once again!

For my 2020 In-Depth project, I will be learning how to play the drums!

I have wanted to learn to play the drums for years now, and In-Depth is the perfect place to begin chasing this dream.

For my project, I am striving to build a solid drumming foundation by learning the basic skills and techniques required to become a great musician in the future. I will also be helping Jian with her In-Depth project, drumming for her band, which I am beyond excited for.

These next few weeks are very exciting for my project. On January 19th, I am picking up my electric drum kit! I am borrowing it from a family friend whose daughter stopped using it after she moved out. I also get to have my first mentor meeting the last week of January! My mentor is a friend of my dad, an amazing drummer who plays in a rock band. We will be meeting either weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how our schedules line up.

As mentioned before, drumming is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I have always been drawn the the powerful sound drummers are responsible for, and the concentration and coordination required to succeed. Drumming is also a male-dominated position, which only made me want to peruse it more. My mom played the drums when she was is high school, also, which was a huge inspiration for me. In fact, she was one of the first female drummers in our district which is amazing.

I am thankful my mom played the drums as it was much easier to convince her to let me stick a drum kit the the basement! And since now there are electric drum kits you can adjust the volume of, she can’t stop me from practicing while she is home, like her parents did to her 🙂

I am so excited to to embark upon my 2020 In-Depth journey, and can’t wait to see where this year takes me!

Career Life Education Interview

These are my three main takeaways from my interview with a physiotherapist:

  1. The most important skill you need to become a physiotherapist is to have very good interpersonal skills. You have to really be able to connect with your patients.
  2. There are many different routes you can go in physiotherapy alone. For example, you can go into pediatric physio, neurological physio, sports-recovery, and so much more! There is also the chance to take on management/leadership roles within the clinic.
  3. It can be very hard to get into physiotherapy programs. It is important that even if you do not get accepted the first time to not give up. Many of the physiotherapist’s best classmates got in after multiple attempts.

Introducing Kathrine Switzer

Image result for kathrine switzer

“Life is for participating, not spectating.”

– Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer is an author and avid runner who changed the world of women’s sports forever. Switzer was born on January 5th, 1947 in Amberg, Germany and moved to the County of Fairfax, Virginia in 1949. As a teenager, Switzer was busy playing basketball, field hockey, and by running. After transferring to Syracuse University in 1967, she joined the men’s cross-country team as there was no team for women and eventually worked her way up to running at least ten miles a night. Inspired by the stories told by her coach, Arnie Briggs, Kathrine decided she wanted to run the Boston Marathon. At first, Briggs had doubts as women were perceived as too fragile to run long distance, but he knew that knew “If any woman could do it, [Switzer] could”.

Kathrine registered for the marathon under the name ‘K. V Switzer’, gender-neutral so no one would question she was a girl. Arnie, Kathrine’s boyfriend Tom Miller, and her teammate John Leonard also registered to run with her.

At the fourth mile of the marathon, race official, Jock Semple grabbed Kathrine’s shoulder and tried to rip of her race bib yelling at her to “Get the hell out of [his] race and give [him] those numbers!”. Shaken but determined to continue, Kathrine tried to run away from him. Semple would not give up which provoked Tom to body-check him. Tom blamed Kathrine for his actions, saying this would ruin his chances of getting into the Olympics for hammer-throwing. He belittled her for being too weak and slow before running off.

A devastated Kathrine wanted to quit but knew doing so would only mean those rooting for her to fail would win. Kathrine, Arnie, and John all finished the Boston Marathon with a time of four hours and twenty minutes. She had done it; Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. She proved to the world that women were just as capable as men and opened the door for women everywhere to follow in her footsteps!

And the icing on top? Kathrine finished the race half an hour before Tom.

Image result for kathrine switzer

Kathrine Switzer, without a doubt, has left a ding in the universe. She fought the sexist stereotypes and proved to the world that women partaking in vigorous exercise could result in them turning into men. She inspired women of all ages to lace up their running shoes and show the world what they could do. She is still inspiring female athletes to this day, almost fifty-two years after her first of thirty-nine marathons. There is no doubt in my mind that her legacy will cease to amazing generations of athletes to come.

As a female athlete myself, I was drawn to Switzer for her courage and dive to show the world women were just as capable as men. Fencing, my sport, leans towards being more male-dominated; I often find myself competing in men’s evens as there aren’t enough women to run a girls-only event. I can relate to Kathrine as I know how frustrating it can be when you are surrounded by mostly men in your sport, and how you feel obligated to prove you are as strong as them, even when the only person telling you that you need to is yourself. I believe that we share the passion and determination to excel in our sports and to prove those who say we can’t wrong.

I cannot wait to continue learning about this incredible woman and hope I do her justice through eminent. My goal for the next step of research is to watch interviews of Switzer and to read her book so I can get an insight into her personality and personal story.

 

Sources:

Images:

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