Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Short teaching stories Part 1

Story 1:

I had lent my student my copy of "Eldest", because he, in his words, "got obsessed with it". I didn't think too much of it.

He came back after holidays and said "Miss, I read it like 5 TIMES I CAN'T BELIEVE *spoiler spoiler* HAPPENED. And miss, I can't stop using 'ancient language' (like 'thee' 'thyself', etc)"

Ahaha kid, you're cute. You sound like me when I was your age (gosh I'm so old).

We discussed some parts of the book together and I had to stop myself from chatting too long to avoid showing favoritism.

I'm really grateful that I grew up in a reading environment. Having read widely, I have a small catalogue of books and authors in my head. It's easy now to figure out which book my student would like and recommend them quickly. I've been doing that for a number of my students who told me they didn't know what to read.

It's almost like prescribing medicine based on what their interests are.

Another student told me, "Miss, I don't know what to read."

"What do you like?"

"I don't know. I'm not into action or fantasy."

"How about this?" I picked up a John Green book. "I'm not sure if it's something you'd like, it's more emotional and can be sad at times..."

"That sounds like me, Miss."

LOL. "Well then. Give it a try."

The next day he told me he liked it, so far.

For now, it's probably the one good thing I can do as their teacher. At least I'm good at something.

This is also why I once seriously considered doing library science, but you can only find that course overseas sigh.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Don't Wanna Cry

Seventeen's made a comeback. I have enjoyed their mini albums so far. There's good funky music there. Also, whoever's playing the bass in their tracks should get a raise 'cause those basslines can make a pianist convert to electric bass forever.

I think what I appreciate from this group's music is their layering. There's a lot going in their tracks - chord progressions, melody lines, the vocal harmonies and ad-libs. The sound is always full.

Not in this track.

I find a lot of new music experimenting with the idea of space. Well, I call it space, but more accurately it's the use of silence. There's a lot of gaps in between the synth chords, a longer pause before the jump into the chorus, a drop with only light beats in the verse, before a stronger bass drum in the pre-chorus. Everything then hits a strong climax during the bridge, and that's when we can hear some of the quintessential SVT layering again. Melodies that have a back-and-forth pattern, the separate drums come together to form a fuller sound, but even then, it's not as drowning as their previous title tracks.

It's not entirely surprising that some might dislike this, as it's quite a leap from their previous albums. I find myself drawn to it, though. There's something about the space in the music that gives you a mixture of calm and anticipation. The choreography also has space in it too, there's a lot of footwork (their poor knees) but there's something minimalistic about it, which works.

Somehow, the whole track is very aesthetically pleasing. It's fascinating. The chords are standard, the progression isn't unpredictable (which is something they do quite often in their previous songs), but the use of space, I think, is what makes it replay-able.

I have a mid-term break. And after that I'm not too sure about my future.

I feel a sense of calm and anticipation about that, too.