- What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?
Claire is very open and willing to share her songwriting experiences. This is very helpful in terms of being able to learn by listening to others share their stories to do with something we both share a passion for. She also provides me with suggestions of musicals that she has really enjoyed listening to especially because of the lyrics. These have helped me to learn more about lyricizing and what kinds of lyrics are intriguing. Similar to this, she has provided me with names of specific artists (such as Sara Bareilles) who really pour their hearts into their music. Her lyrics are very true to who she is and she really doesn’t hold back on what she wants to say. Which at times can be shocking to listen to, but I think is really admirable because of her strong carisma to just say what she needs to say.
- What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?
One of the opportunities that exist to reinforce my new learning is being able to share my songs with other people as well. By sharing my work with others, I can gather all kinds of feedback and pick and choose which ones I want to work from (especially since some are contradicting of each other sometimes). This is really helpful but can also be a setback sometimes. Like Claire said right from our first meeting, everyone will have different opinions of something so what other people think of personal work shouldn’t be held at the highest level of importance. Songwriting should more so before for oneself.
- What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?
The fact that I can just write songs at whatever pace I want to right them has really been able to accelerate my learning. I may start one song but then lose inspiration while working on it and attempt to try writing a different song. It makes it easier for me that I don’t have to complete certain tasks before others and completely just work at my own pace. This has really helped me develop a self awareness of how much time I will spend working on my songs. As well, I think that spacing out the writing of one song, for me at least, has been more troublesome than trying to write it all in one or two sittings. I tend to either lose my inspiration as to why I started writing that song, or I lose my train of thought and don’t know how I should continue if I space out my writing too much. This has helped me be able to have a longer time to digest my writing after completion and make any changes if necessary.
- When you get together what do you talk about?
Our meetings tend to start off with a small question period where I will just ask any questions that I have developed between our meetings. She will answer any of my questions and sometimes that will spark more questions for me and we will continue this conversation. After this is done, I show her what I have been working on during our last meeting and now. She then gives me pointers on things she would do or how I can expand on what I’ve been doing and such things like this. This feedback is what we work from for the rest of the meeting.
- What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?
Currently I think that our communication is really strong and that our mentor and mentee relationship is not too formal that I don’t feel comfortable to share my work, but not too casual that we are unfocused. I think that the fact we didn’t know each other well but we were in Musical Theatre together was the start of our mentor/mentee relationship. She was always one of the people that I looked up to last year in Musical Theatre and a leader amongst the group, so when we started this project I was/am really excited to be able to work alongside her and get to know each other better.
- What are you learning about one another?
Claire and I are learning more about each others learning styles and how we can make our meetings run to make sure that we can both get the most out of them. This hasn’t been all that challenging because we have similar learning styles and interests. When I ask a question about lyricism and musical theatre, Claire is able to create long conversations about what was once just a simple question. This is really great because I find it to be similar to the TALONS learning environment in many ways.
As for a progress report update, I’ve written a new song! Here is the link to it:
Over spring break I wasn’t able to work on In Depth that much during the first week, but I was able to make up for my missed work during the second week. Currently I am still trying to decide on song titles, although I’ve had a brainstormed list for quite a while now. Sometimes I find that song titles are harder to decide than pieces of lyric because I feel like once I set a song title I shouldn’t change it (I think I might have decided on “Angel In Disguise” as my title as of right now). However, as I am writing my song since I am the one creating it I feel free to experiment with different lyric bits in different positions. For example, in a couple of sections I had a completely different idea for lyrics but then thought of words that would rhyme and decided to go with the rhyming words to try and give the ear the comfort of hearing words that rhyme. For example my original idea for the ending of the chorus was, “Yeah who you are is perfect in everyway”. I thought this was EXTREMELY cheesy so I wasn’t really sure how I felt about including this lyric, but at the time it was my only idea. I wrote this down knowing that I would probably come back to change it later. I thought of a word that would fit my rhyming scheme (apologize was the word), and changed the lyric to, “Who you are is not something to apologize for”. Although, still a little cheesy, I thought that at least it fits my rhyming scheme and at least it is sending an important message.
Sometimes I will think of completely unrelated pieces of lyrics that I think would be really great for a different song and write them down so that I can try and use those for inspiration for another song. I was working on a duet for a little bit but then I ran out of ideas for some lyrics, I decided rather than just sitting with my notebook in front of me forever, I tried to write a different song (which is the song above).
This song was fairly easy to write, mainly because I had a lot of ideas for lyrics. Before constructing a melody to match with my lyrics, I wrote down all of my lyric ideas so that I wouldn’t forget any and so that I could pick and choose which ones I wanted to place where. I found this more helpful than what I usually do (construct both the lyrics and melody at the same time) because this way I can really focus in on the lyrics and the storytelling before adding melody to them. This helps me to work towards my goal in my IEP, to become better at compartmentalizing. By breaking tasks into smaller chunks I find it easier to stay concentrated, and often my results seem more focused rather than scattered.