Perspective through the eyes of the Media

What is media?

Media, it is something that we always interact and live with in our daily lives today. It has become one of our primary sources of information. However, these types of media are biased in their own ways. This is where perspective comes in. Each media is responsible of conveying its own type of message, through the text type features present in the medium.

unnamedA student named Ken decided to focus his topic on anti smoking. He would view this topic through different medium perspectives such as info graphs, medical studies, advertisements, editorials, etc. For example, the info graph would display scientific numerical data that supported the idea of a negative attitude towards smoking. This data would show the average life expectancy of smokers, or percentage of smokers getting lung cancer. The medical studies were harder to understand, as the writing used sophisticated language. However, the opinion felt reliable as it was coming from a professional who has dealt with patients. The advertisement poster would convey the message that smoking caused premature ageing. This was presented through an old looking woman smoking, whilst blowing out the candles of a birthday cake that stated 42. Mediums such as these helped support the negative attitude towards smoking.

Julius decided to investigate the perspectives on Propaganda. The mediums he chose were poster, political cartoon, an interview, etc. Most of his mediums would convey a negative perspective towards propaganda. What I found most interesting on his poster was the political cartoon. The cartoon shows an Israeli solider stepping on top of a Palestinian, whilst clogging up the ears of the earth with bricks. By looking at the cartoon, it was obvious what sort of message it was trying to convey. As the bricks had “lies” written on them, the Israelis are oppressing the Palestinians and telling the world lies through propaganda. However, the medium “article” talks about the different situations the US has used propaganda for their advantages. It was very interesting to see the different perspective present towards propaganda, both negative and positive.

Giulio researched the different perspectives the media viewed on KFC. The types of media he researched were TV advertisement, news article, video clip, street art, etc. Giulio was one of the first students to implement the medium “street art”. The street art was a drawing of a fox biting on Colonel Sander’s head. Giulio interpreted this as a representation of the horrible ways the chickens were treated. He stated that the fox was the chicken, and that as they are mistreated, they would eat anything, such as Colonel Sander’s head. However, I thought that the street art represented the anger and hatred the animals had towards the way KFC treated them. This anger lead to the fox ripping off Colonel Sander’s head. However, there are many ways to interpret this street art, as there were no words that stated what the message really was. Although our opinions did not match up, it was very interesting to have this discussion with him. The video clip he shared with us was a shocking footage of KFC workers hosing down their chicken on the floor. This clip revealed how unhygienic the system is, which creates a bad image of KFC. However, as the video clip was taken by a random person, it is uncertain that the video is conveying the truth. It would had been intriguing if he had discussed about the reliability of the source.

This English unit was something different. After analysing many texts and poems, analysing a medium was captivating. This difference was what made me enjoy this topic. It also made me realise the difficulty of analysing a medium, especially advertisements, comics and posters. During this project, I tried to analyse an Instagram post about diet sodas. However, I would have no idea how to start my analysis, as I had never even thought of analysing such a medium.

I think a lot of us overlook the message of a particular media. This is because we are always so attached to it, that we miss out the obvious. People need to understand that a poster is not just photos with words.

Teaching a dance – PE Reflection

This was the very first time I had ever made a dance routine, as well as teaching a dance to a group of students. The past few weeks in PE, we had to make our very own dance plan, so that we could teach our peers the dance. However, me and my partner Keigo decided to challenge ourselves and to make our very own dance routine and to teach it. My aim was to let students understand the joy of dancing by implementing energy, synchronisation and the use of space. As this was the case, it was very tough to include all the aims into 1 dance.

Our planning seemed somewhat effective, as we took a lot of time to create the dance plan. We spent after school time to create our video plan, and to prepare for the final dance lesson. We focused a lot on explaining each component of the dance move. This definitely helped, as the students would seem confused when we just gave an example of the dance, but when we explained the dance in detail, they were able to grasp each move. However, it felt that we were rushing the lesson towards the end, due to us not keeping track of time. The lesson could have gone more smoothly, if we had organised the lesson better.

The main challenges we faced were actually composing the dance. As both us had no experience with dancing, it was very time consuming to think of a dance move that fitted our choice of song. At some points, we almost gave up. However, we kept trying to come up with original dance moves, which turned out to fit the beat and style of the song.

If we were ever to teach a dance again, I would definitely come more prepared. This means that I know how much time I take to teach 1 dance move, and that I keep proper track of time.

With all these challenges and problems we faced, the most enjoyable part of this project was the creation of the dance routine. Me and my partner both had a fun time creating the dance, and it was very enjoyable. We also found it as an achievement that our peers were able to dance with us.

I think that most of the dance lesson went to plan, but 1 of the main problems could have been the lack of concentration between us and the students. As we are all friends, it seemed odd teaching them, which was why I would sometimes lose concentration and become less focused. However, this was also the same for the students. This made it harder to teach and keep the lesson moving, as people we would often make funny comments in between the lesson.

Overall, I think that our dance lesson was a success, and that I would enjoy doing this project again.

 

Freedom of Expression Editorial Response

Dear editors of the New York Times

This article allowed me to further expand on my thoughts on the limits of freedom of expression. I agree that the internet has created many ways to express one’s opinion, but whether this has created positive or negative effects is hard to decide. There definitely is no one side to the issue, as both sides are some what contradicting each other. Charlie Hebdo is arguing that their freedom of speech should not be taken away, when it is obvious that their expressions provoke the Muslims. In contrast, the Muslims are going against Charlie Hebdo by applauding to massacres that ended people’s lives. However, I think that Charlie Hebdo made the immature decision to satire the Muslims. The problem with this issue is that Charlie Hebdo has higher class people, meaning they have more power than the Muslims. The act of making fun of and provoking people that have less power should not be permitted. Leaders, or upper class people are at a position where they should be getting complaints. Purposely picking on people with less power seems inhuman and unacceptable. This is why Charlie Hebdo did not make the right decision to satire the Muslims.

Hiroto Aoyama

Hiroto’s music reflection

February 17th

Although I still have not confirmed the piece for my solo performance, I have decided to try the song called Hungarian dance No5, by Johannes Brahms.

Johannes Brahms is a German composer, born in 1833. In 1869, he decided to write 21 songs that were based on Hungarian themes. These songs have a dance type liveliness to them, so some notes are played in staccato. As this is the case, I would like to focus on playing the song in an upbeat, fast paced way. However, I need to slow down at parts of the song, as all songs have some sort of story to them. In the song, Hungarian dance No5, there seems to be no actual story written behind it, but by listening to the song, some parts are definitely more sad and depressing, which are parts that should be played slowly and more gently.

My main focus for this week would be to see how I play this very difficult song. After looking at the music sheet, the song is very complex, so there is a chance that I may not be able to complete the song in under 2 months or so. However, I would like to try this song, and practice playing it in a fast tempo using staccato.

 

February 27th

After trying to play the Hungarian dance, I realised that the techniques needed to play the song exceeded what I can do. My left hand was not able to catch up with the song, as the song is very fast paced. This is why I decided to go for something more calm and relaxing. I decided to play Chopin’s Nocturne op.9 no.2.

When Chopin was around 20 years old, he composed the song Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2. The song is first calm and relaxing, until it starts to build up tension and becomes more passionate towards the end. The 3 nocturnes were both composed during the ages of 1830 and 1832. Chopin was a Polish composer, and wrote music during the romantic era. My goal for this week is to start playing Chopin’s Nocturne.

 

March 6th

Now that I had made my mind up for which song to play, it was time for me to practice the song itself. I watched many tutorials of the song, as well as the music sheet itself in order to play the notes and chords. However, as I am not the greatest at reading notes from the music sheet, tutorials for the song helped me proceed through the song. I got better at playing the notes by repeating each phrase of the song numerous times until I was able to play it without any mistakes. However, this is still the early stage of playing the song, so I am focusing more on memorising and playing the notes, rather than putting emotion into the piece. My next goal now is to fully play through the whole song without making any mistakes.

 

March 15th

After playing this song for almost 2 weeks, I am capable of playing through the whole song with only minor mistakes. I was able to play this song fairly quickly, as I practiced the chords and the notes everyday. However, I am struggling a lot on one part of the song, where a quick succession of notes are needed to be played. As this is the case, my goal is to watch more tutorials on how to be able to play this part of the song. It would also help if I did small exercises for my fingers that could improve the speed and flow of my hand movements.

March 24th

This week I focused on playing Nocturne by Chopin using dynamics and emotions. Firstly, as I read the music sheet, I realised that I was using the pedals at the wrong timing. It felt that I was holding down the pedal too long, that the notes would merge together, creating a blurry and dirty type effect on the song. This was due to the fact that I was keeping hold of the pedal for at least 2 measures. This was why I decided to read the music sheet again, realising that it was essential to release the pedal every measure. This was what I mainly focused on throughout the week, and is what I will work on and to perfect it before the solo performance. My goal for next week would be to perfect my use of pedals, but I would also like to start using change in tempo and change in dynamics to play the actual music, instead of playing notes.

April 5th

I think that my practice paid off, as I am now fully aware of how to use the pedal. My main practice throughout the week was to learn the basics of stepping on the pedal and to release the pedal. I watched a few youtube videos that helped me guide through the process. I would basically repeat the same measure of Nocturne, and hearing whether it sounded muddy when I stepped on the pedal. After many practices I think I am now able to use the pedal properly. The goal for this week was to also start changing dynamics and tempo throughout my piece. I watched many professional pianists playing Nocturne, and after a few observations, I realised how many pianists would slow down/speed up at various parts of the piece.

For example, this video really helped me get better at the use of dynamics and tempo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV5U8kVYS88

The use of change in tempo and dynamics first felt random, but after observing each section, there was a certain pattern to it. I took the best parts out the video, and tried to implement it into my very own solo performance. It took time to get used to first, but as I proceeded with the piece, the use of dynamics started to stick with me. My goal for next week is to continue practicing the use of dynamics and tempo.

April 15th

This was my last week before my solo performance, and so my final week to practice the use of dynamics. I again kept my goal of implementing the use of dynamics and tempo, which I was able to properly learn by the middle of this week. The main practices I did were playing my left hand softly, and my right hand less forceful, more with emotion. I realised that my left hand was playing hard in sections of the piece, when it was meant to be a calm section of the song. This was one of the most difficult parts of playing this piece, as the song is meant to be played slowly and calm. As the name of the song suggests, it is meant to be a romantic piece played in a calm matter.  This is what my final goal will be before the solo performance. I hope to accomplish and be able to play they way I want to play in the final performance

Music Performance – Reflection

After performing in front of an audience, I realised how hard it really is to maintain a confident mind during the performance. I was very nervous about making mistakes, so my hands were shivering for most of the time. Due to this, it was harder to move my hands as I wanted them to. This lead to making mistakes with the chords during the climax of the song. In order to get better at stage performances, I would want to play in front of my parents more often and get used to having people listening to my piece. I did practice my piece everyday for around 20 mins, which was I was able to play the song from beginning to end. However, I should have in fact practiced for around 30 mins everyday in order to remember hand placements and the flow of the song. Overall, I think I need to get used to playing in front of an audience, as that was what made me make my mistakes.

Hiroto Music – November 11th #6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj1M_FvOV3k&feature=youtu.be

In this week, I focused on getting my hands more warmed up for each practice I do on the piano. In order to achieve this, I played C-G-E-G on both my right hand and left hand, and then I gradually went up the schedule while increasing the tempo. This allows me to get used to fast movements with my fingers. I also always practice playing the chords used in my piece, so that I get used to the feel of my right hand during the song. I also practice the consistent arp played by the left hand, which is a C#-G#-F-G#-A#-G#-C#-A#.

Hiroto’s variation assignment

Our theme, Frere Jacques is a famous song that is worldly recognised. The melody is very catchy and easy to play. We decided to choose a very simple melody as we wanted to see if we were capable to change such a simple song to something more complex. We decided to add chords, progressions and other musical techniques to make our own original Frere Jacques.

variation #1

For the first variation, we used a musical technique called inversion where we flip the whole melody like a mirror. Although all the notes are the same, we inverted each bar of the melody, so that it sounds very different from the original. The effect of this technique was that the melody sounded more creepy and non happy compared to the original. This is because the notes are progressing downwards, instead of the original which is upwards. This causes the melody to sound more sad and depressing. We came up with this idea after playing around with the melody for a while. I thought inverting the whole melody would change the theme of the melody, whilst having the same sort of feel to it. I found it surprising the inverting the whole melody would sound good, as it seemed like a non musical way to make a variation.

variation #3

For this variation, we just added a chord progression for the left hand. Although we did not change anything for the right hand, it made the piece more complex as the chords harmonise with the melody. The musical piece sounds more pleasant for our ears as there is more than one thing going on in the song. Just the right hand playing the melody gets boring to listen to and most listeners would want some sort of change to the song. I found out that harmonising chords with the melody in a song is key to making a quality variation.

variation #4

For this variation, we decided to add a new instrument to our piece. As my partner can play the guitar, we thought it would be a great addition to the piece. We also chose the guitar as I knew songs that used both guitars and pianos that sounded very well made. This is why we also decided to use the guitar for the chords, whilst the piano for the top melody. We wanted to harmonise the guitar with the piano, which should make a completely different feel to the piece compared to the piano playing the chord. The chords for the guitar are C-G-A-G, which is different to the piano chords.

 variation #7

For this variation, we wanted to make a creepy effect for a song that has a happy theme. This seemed tough to do first, as the melody did not seem to match the happy melody. However, after using the technique of changing the key of the melody, we were able to create a creepy feel of the whole piece. we changed the keys of the melody by using flat or sharp notes. Sharp notes make the melody seem creepy as it sounds as if it is out of key. Changing the octave of the top melody to something higher also adds a creepy effect. The chords are also changed by using out of key notes. Combining these two makes a very creepy theme as notes that are out of key make a very creepy feel to the whole song. I was surprised by how a happy themed melody could turn into something very creepy and mysterious.

Note flight: http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/b574febd177e9c3b2744f30fae72bd0b819dda5a

 

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