Thursday, March 5, 2009
English is my second language. It was difficult to learn and in some ways I'm still learning. Getting in a college level English course was not that difficult. When I took the entrance exam, I spent most of the time getting the written and reading comprehension part right. Upon passing, it was determined that I was prepared for an Eng 111.
However upon getting into one, I felt overwhelm. My first time in Eng 111 was stressful. There was paper after paper. The three major papers that were done came with a presentation. At that time, I hated public speaking so I barely did the presentation. It became too much that I decided to just drop out.
After a year, i went back and took another Eng 111 class. Since taking a 16 week course is too long and I might just chicken out, I decided to take the 8 week course. Knowing that the work load might be more I can handle, I went on ahead and thought it will still be the same old class.
On that first day, when Mr. Gasparo gave out the course outline, I knew it will be different. Instead of writing narrative, descriptive, and definition essays, we wrote restaurant reviews, rhetorical analysis, etc. There was only one big paper and one presentation.
Mr. Gasparo made use of technology. There were no textbooks. All the material was online. I never met an English teacher who uses images and videos to make his point across. I would have never used a blog for assignments. I would have not known how to even use a blog without Mr. Gasparo. I really enjoyed his class.
What I learned was that technology is not scary. I was never into the whole usage of the internet. I have e-mail but that was it. I don't use blogs, livejournals, chatrooms, and search engines that often. I rely on books, magazines, and letters for communication. After taking this class, I will make use of the internet more.
I would recommend Mr. Gasparo's English class to anyone who likes something different. Anyone who likes technology will like this class. Anyone who wants to do something other than the regular, boring assignments, take his class. Anyone who don't want to buy and carry around the textbooks, his class is the best for that person. I already started spreading the word to anyone going to TCC. Try his class and enjoy!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Ever since I was a child, I loved music. The combination of sounds formed pictures and stories in my mind. My very first memory was playing piano in my grandparents’ house. Everyday, I would go there to play the piano. When all the cousins were sent out to play, I was on the piano being taught on how to make music.
Eventually, my family moved too far away that I can’t go to my grandparents on a regular basis. However the school I went to have a music class and that was where I learned to play another instrument. Playing the flute was different from playing the piano. It required more lip movement and breathing in the right places. However, it still produced the same sounds albeit in softer tone than the piano.
When I was in high school, I picked up another instrument. The trumpet was almost like playing the flute. It required a strong lip to blow air in a certain way. It was fun. I was able to play music that was fast pace and loud. Then in my junior year, I stop playing. I realized that while l loved music, I was only a mediocre player. It won’t bring me a nice future. That was when I put down all my instruments and focused more on my studies.
Going back to visit my grandparents was what gave me the courage to play again. They still had the old piano. At first, I was scared to touch it. I haven’t play in five years. My cousins, however, pushed to at least touch the keys. As soon as my fingers hit the keys, I automatically started to play. After the first score, I realized something. It didn’t matter if I was only average, I can still play for my enjoyment. Now I have my own piano and I play it everyday. It still produce the same pictures in my mind as it has been since I was little.
It flows through me like a calm breeze. It lifts me up that it feels like it was just me and the happiness that I was feeling. Like a bird flying, I feel like I’m on air. This is what playing an instrument does to me.
When I was young, the church my family went to had their own small orchestra. I remembered sitting while they practice and just listened to the musicians play. Even at a young age, I founded it so beautiful. The music that they made created such colorful images in my head. My older cousins, who were part of that orchestra, eventually taught the younger cousins how to play the most basic instrument, the piano.
Everyday after school, majority of the younger cousins went to our grandparents’ house while most of the parents were at work. Since my grandparents have a grand piano, we were taught there. It was hard at first. Memorizing where the notes were located took a long time. Then my cousins taught us nursery songs such as Twinkle Little Star to play. Then, we started playing church songs.
I loved every single one of those lessons. I was eager for more. While my other cousins wanted to play outside, I begged the older ones to teach more songs. I was never taught how to read a music sheet but I was able to commit a song to memory.
Eventually, those lessons stopped. My family moved to another island and it was too expensive to continue my piano lessons. I was devastated. However, the primary school that I went to has a music class. That class didn’t have a piano but it featured another instrument, a flute. Playing the flute was so different. It required more lip movement. The hand placements took a long time to getting use to. Over time, I started like playing the flute. The music was softer than the piano but I was able to make to same sounds that I loved playing.
Entering high school, I decided to try another instrument. I joined the school band and took up the trumpet. The trumpet was all about having fun. The music that I played with the trumpet was fast and upbeat. This was really the first time that I learned how to read sheet music effectively. The first two years in high school was great due to the band. I was able to play in school festivals and parades.
Then, during my junior year, my parents had a talk with me. They told me that playing instruments was not a good career. I have to get a good education for a nice future. I was devastated. While I was always been a good student, I usually pick playing than do homework. After that year, I stopped playing all together and got serious with my studies. I graduated high school with honors but I felt incomplete.
During those five years of hiatus, I felt like I was in a fog. Going in circles, I was drifting along through life. Whenever I hear music, my fingers would unconsciously move like they were playing on the piano. I was stressed and slowing starting to burn out.
My parents, seeing me unable to cope, decided to send me on a vacation to visit my grandparents. When I got there, it was the first time I saw my cousins and grandparents since I was six years old. The couple of days were full of reunions and parties that I didn’t notice it. After all the excitement went down, there was my old friend the piano. I was shock that my grandparents still have it. I was terrified in going near it. In the same time, I was taking peeks at the old piano. My cousins saw how I was looking at it and urged me to play. They told me that they remembered that I was the one who loved playing the most. I insisted that I haven’t play in years and probably rusty. My cousins then dragged me to the bench and took out this old music book. At that, I can’t resist anymore. I opened up the piano keys cover and touch it. The keys have turned yellow with age and it was not as shiny as before but it was still so beautiful. As soon I played that first note, I felt a rush of emotions. After the first score, I knew what I was missing. Music brought life and colors back. It gave me those beautiful images that I remembered seeing. I continued playing, vowing to myself that no matter what I will always playing. I will continue to play for myself no matter what happens.