Ryan's Blog


May 29, 2016
by 20battyr

Music G8 Semester 2 Reflection

Introduction: This unit in music we studied soundtracks and arranging. In  this unit we practiced and arranged “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and themes from James Bond. When looking at James bond, we looked at the idea of Leitmotifs, a musical pattern that is repeated throughout the soundtrack. Then we focused on using the leitmotifs with shorts melodies which represent characters and/or feelings. We focused  used both hands when playing these themes and the rhythmic parts of these themes. In Hedwig’s theme, we focused on dynamics, playing with both hands and fluidity.


Arranging: In the unit we looked out how to arrange music. We looked at what effects different instruments create, such as brass, woodwind, strings and percussion.  Brass can create strong tense sounds, while woodwinds and strings can create mysterious or calming effects and percussion can create tension. First I learned the James Bond leitmotif. After mastering the leitmotif, I continued by learning the James Bond themes. To do this, I would consider the rhythm of the notes, and the pitches of the notes. After mastering the themes, I then added them to the leitmotif. This required me to play the leitmotif with the correct notes. I mastered this by practicing, and hearing what I played until it sounded right. Finally, I went back over the themes to make sure my rhythm and tempo was correct.    When arranging the James bond theme mashup with Julynn, Ryu, Kasumi and Shoichi, we took several steps to make it interesting. First, we decided what instruments we would use. In our case, we used 2 pianos, drums, electric guitar and djembe. We used the pianos for their acoustic feels, the drums and djembe for tension and electric guitar for its strong sounds.  Then, we decided on what each instrument would play. Again, in our case, the drums and djembe held the beat, the electric guitar with melody and chords, 1st piano  the chords and 2nd piano with the melody. Thirdly we decided on the dynamics, style of playing and tempo for each part. In our case, we slowed the tempo slightly, and in one theme we had the guitar play arpeggios to create a sad tone, while drums played the crash cymbal and ride cymbal to add to this feeling.  When we wanted to have a active, tense feeling, we had the instruments play strong rhythms and loudly. Finally, we practiced our parts together, to make timing and accuracy of notes perfect. When working on our cover of “Hedwig’s” theme” with my same group, we tried to emphasise the mysterious feel, using the acoustic piano heavily. The drums did not play a strong part, rather an accompaniment.


Improvements: Before the concert, we have a three things which we need to improve on. First we need to decide if we want to vary the sound for the melody. We could add effects to the piano throughout the arrangement or in just some parts. We will tackle this problem in our next lesson and sound-checks, to see which voicing and effect we want.  Secondly, we could improve our overall coordination in the band. Though we don’t want mistakes to happen,  mistakes do happen and we need to be ready for when they happen. We need to react quickly and somewhat improvise  on the spot. This can be helped though, by talking with my bandmates before the performance we can discuss and possibly practice how we are going to communicate to one another during the performance and what we do when we make mistakes. Finally we should firm down some of the tight rhythmic parts in our songs so that we start and end at the same time. We can improve/solve this by practicing our parts individually and keeping the beats in our body throughout the song.  Using your foot to tap the beat out, or using a metronome are goods ways to keep the beat in your body. Finally practicing together with the drums also will help us to keep the beat.




May 21, 2016
by 20battyr

Spanish Unit 4 Reflection

New Understandings:

  • How to conjugate commands,
  • Vocabulary to describe health,  
  • How to give advice,
  • Direct and indirect object pronouns
  • Impersonal expressions


In this unit, by writing more, reading and speaking I was able to construct interesting sentences and communicate organized messages. The writing assignments in the booklet and those set were extremely helpful in practicing vocabulary and grammar. Study habits were good, listening to audio in the car and reading texts from the pamphlet furthened my vocabulary and comprehension. Next unit I hope to improve my listening skills and use of indirect object pronouns and future tense so that I have then mastered.

March 18, 2016
by 20battyr

Spanish 8 Reflection

Spanish Reflection



Ser vs Estar

Present tense

Simple future tense

adjective/noun agreement

Engage with colleagues to find common interests and develop relationships




Stem changing verb conjugation

Explain what their hometowns/host country has to offer in terms of facilities food and cultural activities



Action Plan:

  1. Review and study Adjective vocab
  2. Review and study prepositions.
  3. Practice conjugating stem-changing verbs.
  4. Practice speaking about my country and what you can do there



Do we learn how to make more complex sentences?

Do we learn how to make verbs past tense?

Should fill in the workbook in are own time, or will it be filled in class?


January 16, 2016
by 20battyr

Original Songs Using Chords


This unit we learned how many pop songs are created.  We found that they use similar chord structures, inversions and melodies made from chord progression and key.

First we learned about Triads. Triads are 3 notes either played at the same time or played one after the other. Triads can be major or minor depending on the intervals between the notes played.  In major keys the intervals are a 4th then a 5th. For minor triads it is 3rd then a 5th.

Second we learned about chord progressions in a key.  We learned that there were 8 types of chords based on the key that were generally used in songs. Tonic (I), Supertonic (ii), Mediant (iii), Subdominant(IV), Dominant(V), Submediant(vi), Leading note(vii) and Tonic (I).  As shown previous, music uses Roman numerals when writing the chord types and progressions. The Roman numerals that are written in lower case our the minor triads and the numerals are major. We also learned that of these chords I, IV, V are the chords that are most commonly used in songs because they lead well into each other.  Finally we learned that songs always start with the Tonic chord at the beginning and the end.

Thirdly we learned about  inversions. Inversions are used to make it easier to play the chords smoother in the songs.  To make inversions you change the root note of the triad. This is done by switching with the bottom note with the 3rd and the 5th.  There are 3 types of inversions. First the root position (the standard triad), 1st inversions (3rd), 2nd Inversions (5th). An easy way to create inversions by knowing that the 1st inversions has one note floating above and the 3rd inversion has one note floating below.


Finally we learned about making melodies, by using the notes in the chord that you are playing. We learned that making melody in a song you need to use notes from the chord and key to create a simple tune for the chorus and have a more complex note phrases for the verses.



Song 1: Railhouse Blues (instrumental)

Group work

Working in this group was very enjoyable. I don’t usually get to work with novices in music and it was good to test how much I knew by teaching parts to them. However sometimes I think that I may have taken to much of project on bymyself when I should have talked more with my group instead of making some decisions by myself. Overall however, there was good atmosphere and we made good efficient time of our classtime experiment with making the song.



This year in Music class we create a group song using chords of the key of our choosing. We had to use four chords(I,IV,V and vi) from our given key and create 2 verses, 3 choruses with bass,chords and melody.   For this song we decided to make it in the key of C, because it was easier for the more inexperienced musicians of my group to work with.  We first started to create the song by making a chord progression using heavily on the chords of I,IV,V and vi. However, we eventually realized that it was easier to create the song by creating the melody first by experimenting with the keyboard. But while you gain some freedom by using this method, you still need to make sure that the piece starts and ends with the tonic chord. While creating a chord progression is easier in that it allows a more concise choosing of notes, creating the melody with just the key gives you more freedom when creating your song.  We  did this by creating The next step we took was creating a bass line. Creating a bass line can be quite simple. The most easiest approach is by playing the root note of the chord with a rhythm. However I want to test my bandmember to do something a bit more challenging. Instead, we created a walking bass line to create a more rich feeling for our song. By using a walking bassline, it creates a good solid rhythm for the whole song.  Next we created the chord part for our song. This is easiest part to the process, however it gives the overall song more depth and layers. The chord part plays a triad for each chord. We experimented using  inversions in our song to make the song easier to play, but we decided that the chords sounded better in root position. The last would have been to create lyrics for the song, however the melody of this song did not have a good rhythm to put words too, so we decided to make it just instrumental.



To learn my parts for the performance I practice on my piano the melody for the song by itself, with the chords and with the bassline. I practiced again and again until I could play it so it was almost memorized. I then helped with my partners by giving them the chord changes and practicing before school with them to have the song synced well. In performance I think we did quite well. We were synced together and accurate when playing. Towards the end during my solo, the bass line dropped out because I did not make it clear what we were playing. However it still sounded reasonably. Overall I think we gave a good performance.

Song 2: Freedom



Next I made my own personal song: Freedom. I started the song on the guitar with simple chords strummed. Then I moved onto a fingerstyle pattern on the  acoustic guitar. This  created this relaxed feel to the song after. Then I created the melody. I played in the key of C like before, however, all the chords played were the dominant 7 chords(eg C7,F7,D7). Also unlike before I used other chords in the key such as the ii and iii.  Then I played the melody with the chords on the piano to progress the song. Finally I added my singing with lyrics and chords to start the song. I was going to add some fingerpicked guitar, however due to time and recording options I didn’t have chance to do that. To make the lyrics of the songs I try to create a story from my past or someone else. In this case I made the lyrics about the life of an South African during the Soweto Uprising.  I first created the words by using rhyme for every other line. I also create a simple phrase to use as the chorus.  Then using the words put them to a rhythm. Finally I put notes to the words and if necessary change the melody. I usually do this by singing a tune off my head or experimenting on the piano.


Next time

Overall I think that to improve my group song it would have been better to make inversions during the song, and or change the melody so that it was able to be sung with lyrics so we had extra depth to the song. It would also be good to make the chord play play a bass note against to create even more depth in the song.  For my personal song I would have like to added some more acoustic guitar fingerpicking strumming and fingerpicking, as well as brush up on the vocals during the song.


What I learned

In this unit I learned how to put together the different parts of the song together, how to make melodies, make interesting chord progressions and how to write lyrics.

December 12, 2015
by 20battyr

Spanish Semester 1 Reflection

Overall in this semester of spanish I have made a lot of improvement. I have improved on creating more complex sentences, expanding vocabulary and have completed my assignments to a good level.  I have started to create sentences with clauses and using transition words.  I have learned new words about travel, describing adjectives, verbs and locations.  Finally I also learned how to use reflexive verbs.  My studying has been okay throughout this semester. In the 2nd  semester I hope to be consistent in my  study habits.

November 21, 2015
by 20battyr

PTS Conference Reflection

This semester in Spanish I think my strengths were that I am good at using and remembering vocabulary from the units, creating meaningful and cohesive sentences in Spanish. I think my weakness/areas I could improve are my conjugating of verbs and a few simple agreement errors. To study my spanish I look at the vocabulary from each unit and notes for about 5 minutes. Then I complete the task or worksheets. However I generally don’t really check whether they are correct with my notes. In class when I see words or phrases I don’t know, I pull out my notebooks and write them down. However, I need to develop my ability to use these words properly at will.  In class, It would probably help me if I could do more practice conversations and writing so that my speaking, and writing improves.

November 21, 2015
by 20battyr

Skellig Essay

Education in Skellig

How we learn affects us all. Is there a right way to get an education? What is effective? These questions are of interest across the globe. In Skellig, written by David Amond, the author discusses the three different ways to get an education. Throughout the book, Almond suggests that there is no “right” way to get an education. First he gives us a balanced picture of and a symbol for regular school life. Second, he introduces the character Mina, who is homeschooled, showing both the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling. Finally, the author emphasises the idea of lived experiences as a method of education.


In Skellig, school is potrayed as a place to learn respect, teamwork and value of hard work. Although Michael calls his teachers with pet names such as “Monkey Mitford… Rasputin… Yeti…” (11), the nicknames are more affectionate than disprespectful, and he takes pains to complete his homework. He also mentions classwork repeatedly despite Mina’s mockery of the constrained system: “is this really the kind of thing you do all day” (70-71).  Despite limitations of the school, Michael still regards his lessons and his teachers with respect.


Above all, Almond symbolises school life through his repeated references to football. Football is a game played by teams with rules, where each player is a key part of the whole. This is shown when  Mrs Danda states: “Your mates were looking forward to getting you back again. They say you’re the best tackler in the school. The reader infers from this that in formal schools, each team member is valued.  While school is something he doesn’t love, it is clear that it frames his world. Almond shows us that school, though frustrating at times, allows social interactions and support for individuals.


However, Almond also argues for the benefits of homeschooling through the character of Mina. Unlike formal schools, homeschooling is about freedom and creativity. Mina’s mother is an artist who recites William Blake. Like her mother, Mina does the same. This is demonstrated when she says “See how school shutters you. I’m drawing, painting, reading and looking. I’m feeling the sun and the air on my skin.”


Mina reinforces Blake’s attitude to school: “Thank god I was never sent to school, to be flogged into following the style of a fool” (86). Almond uses similes and metaphors to highlight the connection between Mina and nature. Mina is described as a “crow” (86). She is frequently found near trees or watching birds. Her recitation of Blake’s “Tyger, Tyger” (70) is the best example of her strong connection with nature.  


At the same time, Almond also shows the reader many of the criticisms against homeschooling. An example is when Michael says: “you might know about William Blake, but you know nothing about ordinary people”(86). In this passage Almond tells us that there are downsides to learning in a solitary environment. Homeschooling does not refine a person’s social skills. Almond is telling the reader that, unlike in formal schools, homeschooled children are wild and free but not always good at engaging with others..


Finally, Almond emphasises how both homeschooling and formal schooling cannot suffice without courage, faith and imagination. Michael and Mina show courage when they venture into the garage. It takes courage for them to remain friends despite being mocked by Michael’s friends: “that lass that climbs like a monkey”  (80,84). It requires faith for them to accept that Skellig exists with no logical reasoning. This is shown when Mina says “we can’t know, sometimes we just have to accept there are things we can’t know” (110). Faith also tells them that they can help Skellig and that he can help them(130).


Both Mina and Michael need imagination for linking what they know from their schooling and their experience with Skellig–for example, their discovery and treatment of Skellig’s calcification/ossification (62). They also need imagination for trying to understand what Skellig is. This is displayed when Mina says “we have to allow ourselves to see what there is to see, and we have to imagine” (110). In Skellig individual experiences drive the story forward.


What we believe in and what we can believe in cannot be taught in a single way. Almond does not value one way over any of the others. However, he does acknowledge that the desire to learn is fundamental.  Formal schools are symbolised by a team sport, football; homeschooling aims to experience the freedom of nature; and Skellig eptomizes the journey of an individual as he makes moral choices, accepts help from others  and finds his own freedom.

The whole book is filled to the brim with teachings of all sorts. There are hidden messages, allusions and symbols everywhere, from the food of the gods (27 and 53) to Michael’s name, which is Biblical, and the repeated mention of Greek myths allows the readers to extend their knowledge even more. Skellig is truly a book that all age groups can explore and enjoy.

November 15, 2015
by 20battyr
1 Comment

Como Prefieres Viajar?

Hola, Hoy voy a hablar sobre la transportacíon que prefiero cuando tengo que viajar.

En la semana, cuando necesito ir en escuela siempre voy en metro, porque el estácion de metro esta cerca de mi casa. Tambíen el tren es muy cómoda, rápido, barato y yo puedo pasar un ratos con mis amigos.  Pero el tren es muy malsano, porque de mananas muchas personas van en tren. A veces, cuando el tren es no operativo o mi corro prisa, mi necesito ir en coche.


Cuando necesito ir para lugares en el centro de ciudad  yo prefiero ir en metro o coche. Porque los tren y coche es muy rápido y cómoda. Pero cuando ir un lugares cerca de mi casa, yo prefiero ir en bicicleta o andar. Tambien no necesito dinero cuando lugares cerca. Para ejemplo,  cuando quiero ir en piscina me gusta montar en mi bicicleta.


Cuando voy en viajes lejos, para ejemplo cuando mi familia va al extranjero*, mi prefiero ir en el avion. Porque el avión es mas rápido y limpio. Tambien el avíon es muy practico cuando volar lejos distancia y seguro.  Pero, cuando ir en avión, llevar muchas tiempo y de vez en cuando los vuelo puede terminar.



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