CAS Activity: Tennis

Due to the massive renovation that the tennis court underwent, I haven’t been able to play Tennis as frequently as I wanted. However, since it’s done now I decided to try and play again over the holiday. After playing badminton for a long time it definitely took a while to get back into ‘tennis mode’. Plus the added fact that I haven’t been playing a lot made me really rusty. However, after a few minutes I got back into it and was able to return, serve and smash as smoothly as I did before the holidays.

I used to practice every Thursday morning before the renovations which in and of itself is a chore since I live far away from school. However, I really took an interest in the local tournaments the school was hosting regularly. I participated in one and managed to win one round before getting dominated in the second. The people I was up against were no joke, they are seriously skilled. Nevertheless, I hope to join in another one in the coming months and the coach said that they were planning on hosting one soon. Hopefully I will have the time to make it there.

I definitely think that my efforts made in tennis constitute meeting LO4 criteria.

Musical Recital

I have played the piano many times over the years. As a result I have participated in many concerts, recitals and events where I play the piano. Near the end of October last year, there was a musical recital where musicians were encouraged to play in front of an audience. Granted, small but an audience nonetheless. A variety of instruments were played but the piano was the main one. I played a Rachmaninoff piece titled ‘Elegie’, an obscure piece that I found when I was looking for music to play and decided that I had to try and play this.

It was one of the hardest pieces I have ever attempted due to the fact that I have never played a Rachmaninoff piece before so I don’t know his style. As well as the weird rhythm the piece has despite being a late-romantic era piece. This may seem hard to believe but my Extended Essay actually helped me understand the piece better as I was researching Rachmaninoff’s style for my essay so I learned how he intended his pieces to be played.

Despite these setbacks, I played that piece flawlessly in my recital and I’ll never forget that rush of adrenaline before playing it. The feel of accomplishment after playing it and the audience’s reaction.

Because I felt that this was such a challenge for me, I feel this experience fits into LO2 and LO4. If you want to hear the piece, there is a link down below.

Sekolah Bisa Band – An Enlightening Experience

Well, the end of the year is here and I have to say the one thing that will never forget is the liveliness and heart I experienced in teaching and guiding the Sekolah Bisa Band. I have never seen more hyperactive children in my life and I have experience with teaching English in an local orphanage before. The children there were reasonably excited but Sekolah Bisa definitely takes it up a notch. When I first started this with Aisya and Seung Hun, I was skeptical that we were going to get anything done. Now that the year is over, we taught two groups of children from Sekolah Bisa, I’m Yours by Jason Miraz and Laskar Pelangi by Nidji – an Indonesian band. We each taught them chords on the piano, ukulele and singing in tune and in time with the song. Needless to say, we were all very proud of what they had accomplished.

Truthfully, when I first started Sekolah Bisa band, I wanted to introduce the children to whole array of music and not what’s just in their home country. However, the main thing I kept in mind was that the Sekolah Bisa band offered the children choice. The choice to mould the band into their own vision and that means deciding what songs they want to learn and play. Obviously, they would always pick songs they were familiar with, i.e. Indonesian songs. While my friends and I accepted their choices, I always wished for a more diverse set of music to be played. Maybe if someone sees potential in this project in the future, they can encourage the kids to pick a more diverse set of music to play.

The reason I wanted to be a part of this project was because I know that there are people who haven’t been exposed to different types of music such as the Sekolah Bisa kids. When I performed one of my solo pieces for them, the joy and shock on their faces will always stick with me and hopefully I have enticed them to learn more.

My experiences with the Sekolah Bisa kids have clearly demonstrated Learning Outcomes: 7, 6 and 5. Teaching these children has proven to be quite the challenge but I can definitely say that it will forever be one of the highlights of my life.

Activity Progress CP3

While Cardio ended a long time ago, I have been training in a lot of other things as well that boosts my cardiovascular activity. I run with my dog over the weekend and train with Mr. Metters on Wednesday mornings. I’m pretty sure the latter being the most intense one. Prior to IB, I also trained with Mr. Moore that provided a lot of cardiovascular training. But I digress, if you fail to keep up actions or training, you will eventually become rusty or lose your touch. I have fallen victim to this multiple times but I have managed to bounce back multiple times as well.

My target for Cardio was to run 5k in 30 minutes. In the beginning, I ran 2.2k in 12 minutes which was pretty decent. I felt confident that my neighborhood provided ample room for me to run 5k in 30 minutes. I timed myself running around my neighborhood for 30 min and I ended up running 21 laps around the circle of my neighborhood. The area I ran around wasn’t measured exactly as the road was very bumpy but it was around 200m. Which averages to around 4200m. While an improvement, I didn’t reach my predicted goal. But I will use this to improve again in future runs and training.

My experience as a church organist

As a pianist, playing organs or keyboards wasn’t a foreign experience. Playing the organ in church came easy for me and the pieces I had to practice were relatively easy when compared to my piano pieces. However, they were a bit unusual. The piano and organ are very different instruments thus they require very different playing styles in order for them to be played effectively and efficiently. For example, the organ and its pieces is more suited towards accompanying a choir so organists have to hold the keys on the organ to prolong the notes in order for the song they’re playing to not sound ’empty’. Due to my experience with the piano, I had a habit of taking my hands off the organ in order to let the audience know that the piece was proceeding. This proved detrimental to my overall performance of the organ. I managed to fix it before my performance in church. Being a member of my school orchestra also helped as looking at the conductor to keep in time was also a skill that was needed.

Needless to say, I was very nervous, as every performer is before a performance. This experience taught me how to adapt to different play styles and a I learnt a lot of new pieces because of it which aided my sight reading.

I think this experience ties to LO1 and LO3.

Songwriting Workshop

Last year, I took part in a songwriting workshop to better my songwriting skills. As a budding pianist, I took part out of curiosity and to potentially be able to write songs in the future. The guest teachers, Tim and Rue, helped us in deciding our song format as well as to actually write a song. A cool technique for deciding lyrics is to take a random magazine, go to any random page or one that looks interesting.

Despite this new technique, I ended up making a piano piece with no lyrics as I wanted to stick to my comfort zone. My piano piece was based off the romantic composers Chopin and Debussy and titled “Flowers in the Wind”. To be honest, I didn’t put much thought into the title of the piece and just made it up when I got asked what it was. The piece is 4 pages long and consists of some themes people would normally see in romantic period music. Coming up with suitable melodies was challenging as sometimes it would just come to you and at others, you had to think what would go well or would proceed this section.

Because of my participation and the fact we had such a short time period to produce our songs, I believe this experience fits well into LO1 and LO5.

TOK Presentation Reflection

My real TOK presentation was about how we can potentially simplify knowledge about a topic, without sacrificing the main bulk of the information. I even included my own personal experience in BSJ on how topics are reintroduced with more information added to them and sometimes even negating the original information we learned. The jump from Y11 GCSE to Y12 IB Chemistry and Biology is a prime example of this happening and I included that in my presentation. With that I safely secured a 7/10 and I was given the option to redo it in February 2018. In my opinion, I don’t really think I need to redo it as a 7 secures at least 1 extra point to my final grade but a higher score would always be better.

I noticed in my presentation I didn’t mention how my topic links to personal or shared knowledge however that was briefly answered after the presentation when I was asked a question. If I choose to do so again, I’ll have to find a way to incorporate that into my presentation. I also felt my arguments were a bit lacking however there wasn’t much to go on in the first place, making this topic difficult. There was also the risk of being fixated on RLSs which was what I did in the first place. For my TOK essay, I should broaden my view and not focus so much on one aspect of my argument.

7 is an overall decent score that I’m happy with and I’m glad that it isn’t mandatory for me to redo it. I’m probably not going to because that’s just one more thing to stress about in the future. Now, the only thing involving TOK I need to tackle is the essay!

CAS Reflection 5

Recently, I attended my second CAS interview with Mr. Durok. Together we talked about my overall progress in CAS and went into much detail about how my service project, Sekolah Bisa Band, is going. We mainly talked about progress and how I am teaching the kids.

I reflected on what I was doing with the band. For example I felt that the amount of sessions that we were having was lacking. Since we do it once a week on a Monday, and we had to cancel due to various reasons, I felt that I went to 60% of weeks throughout the year. I’ve also been very lenient with the kids and Mr. Durok suggested that I try to be more assertive to prevent them from losing focus on practicing properly. He said “don’t be afraid to be the bad guy” and I agree with him. And honestly, it’s what I was afraid of when I started this.

I will also try to be more diligent in my blogging and updating my tracker.

Overall, CAS this year has been productive although I need more progress on my activity side. Can’t wait ’till next year!

Country Fair Service

Last Sunday, I took the liberty of subjecting myself to having kids throw sponges loaded with water to my face.

The country fair on Sunday was a blast! It pretty much had everything and everyone was participating. As for me, if you haven’t read the first line of this blog, I was in charge of the Sponge Game with several of my friends. Our job was simple, stand in the designated spot where we allow people to throw sponges at us. Dante ‘promoted’ it by saying some kids will get 1 extra throw for 1 token if they chose me as the target! Needless to say, they accepted the offer and I got pelted with 30 sponges. At the end of it, we would all be drenched with water, but we still had fun!

I could describe myself as a shy guy so advertising our stand and getting people to participate felt awkward to me. My friends helped of course and I feel this shows LO4: I show commitment. I persevere.

With this being my first time working for our community at an event like this, I can say that I achieved LO2: I undertake challenges. I develop new skills.

Next year will be my last country fair if I choose to attend. Considering how well the last one went, I’m sure the next one will be even better!