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Senior English Project

Alex's Senior Project

Alexander Tracy

on 19 May 2011

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Transcript of Senior English Project

"Happy Together" by The Turtles Performed by Alex Tracy Learning to Play The Piano* *in a very short period of time Essential Question How can I teach myself the necessary skills to play “Happy Together” on the piano in a short period of time? How do I convey my process and progress through a video journal? How I Arrived At My
Topic/Essential Question Reasons For Learning Piano
Love music
Intruments have always interested me
Ready for a new challenge
Something I can use later in life
Already own a piano Reasons For Song Choice
Wanted a song I'm familiar with: not necesarilly familiar to the audience
Dad played it a lot when I was younger so it stuck in my head
Wasn't unreasonably hard and also one I couldn't perfect without much time Learning The Basics Musical Notes
Learned about treble clef (right hand) and bass clef (left hand)
Had experience with the saxophone, which uses treble cleff
Still needed to learn which keys coincided with which notes
The left hand was completely new to me and gave me the most trouble Musical Background
Saxophone for 4 years
Understand basics about music
(time signatures, types of notes and rests, etc...) The Basics Continued... When considering how I was going to teach myself piano I decided against taking traditional piano lessons for 2 reasons:
1) Time
2) Money

Instead I used Garageband, an application on the computer
Plug in MIDI cable from electric piano to computer
10 pre-recorded piano lessons to play along with
Instructor to coach your progress
Here's a video... Beginning To Learn My Song Youtube.com was a large help before I felt comfortable reading sheet music. I searched for covers of "Happy Together" and had mixed results.
Pros: Could learn parts of the song visually by watching them and mimicking.
Cons: Many times it was unclear what keys they were pressing so had to guess the note by ear. Slow Progress. Initial Weaknesses Left hand uncoordinated compared to right hand
Inability to read music Interview Interview Tips Interview with Mimi Rendish
Piano teacher for 34 years
Helpful Learned from the interview
5-finger position (play up & down staff)
Play with finger tips
Wrists elevated
Practice around 30min - 60min a day "CZERNY" Books My interviewee highly recommended I look at "CZERNY" piano books

Been around over 100 years
Scales to practice
here's a video... Interview Tips Continued... Have a "focus song" to practice and a few others so you don't overwork yourself on one song
Learn to play by ear Pedals Right Pedal
Sustain pedal - sustains all notes
Middle Pedal
Sostenuto pedal - sustains only the notes being played as pedal is depressed
Left Pedal
Soft pedal - shifts keys to the right which softens and changes the tone quality Video Log Initially I was going to record my progress everyday but I didn't get better fast enough to warrant doing that
Only recorded - beginning, middle, and end of the progress I made over time
Decided it was best this way because I can show the two ends of the spectrum and how I was improving half way through my project. Final Performance Process - 3 days of recording

Day 1
Was able to play the song well without the camera on, but when I started recording I made mistakes because I was too excited to play it perfect.

Day 2
Did a better job than Day 1. Recorded a solid performance and thought I was done.

Day 3
Implemented the sustain pedal to make the notes connect nicer and added a chord to the song to strenthen its flow. Works Cited


Garageband Piano Teacher. Dir. Steve Jobs. Apple Inc., 2009. AVI file.

Web sites, e-sources

Chen, Steve, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. “www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f8JctCGy5Y.” Youtube. Google.com, 9 May 2011. Web. 12 Mar. 2011.

“http://www.blanksheetmusic.net/.” Blank Sheet Music. Google.com, n.d. Web. 3 May 2011.

“http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtdVPE.asp?ppn=MN0068549.” Musicnotes. Musicnotes Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2011.

“www.Youtube.com/watch?v=59dYOfDmaZo .” Youtube. Google.com, 9 May 2011. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

“www.Youtube.com/watch?v=8gBvCwRRwhY.” Youtube. Google.com, 9 May 2011. Web. 20 Mar. 2011.

Unpublished & other sources

Doan, Christian. Personal interview. 2 Mar. 2011.

Gunther, Ingrid. Personal interview. 28 Mar. 2011.

Rendish, Mimi. Personal interview. 27 Apr. 2011.

Tracy, Richard. Personal interview. 1 May 2011. Getting Better Highs and Lows Highs
Had a lot of fun learning a new instrument
Feels good to have reached my goal
Rushing to learn the song perfectly
Long time spent on just practicing What Worked Well & What Would I Do Differently? Worked Well
Practice, practice, practice, etc...
Having the song mean something to me
Would Change
Spend more time on it earlier in the year Add more chords to the song to make it sound nicer
Start a new song - something more current What I Would Do Next
Full transcript