The Brain, Learning, and Creativity Notes

Sleep is your Superpower

-why don’t we have less time at school and more time at home to sleep?
-How does age affect the amount of sleep you need?
-If someone with Alzheimers got a lot of sleep would they be more lucid the next day?
-Would getting more than the recommended amount of sleep hurt or improve your mental and physical well-being?
-sleep affects testicle size and amount of testosterone
-you need to sleep before and after learning to remember what you learn
-you create fewer memories when you are sleep deprived
-getting less sleep makes you age faster
-less sleep can influence Alzheimers disease
-there is a 21% increase in heart attacks on the day after daylight savings in the spring
-21% decrease in heart attacks on fall daylight savings
-a lack of sleep can cause multiple types of cancer
-sleep in a room at about 65 degrees farinheight


Sleep is one of the most important things in our lives. It directly affects our mental and physical well-being, as well as our quality and length of life. We can’t learn or form new memories if we don’t get enough sleep.

Learn Better Practicing Techniques from Dr. Molly Gebrian

-If you studied in one block then realized your terrible mistake and practiced in increments would you get the same result?
-the more breaks you take when learning something the faster you learn it
-you retain more information when you study over multiple days
-surgical students who place their practicing in 40-minute increments rather than a three-hour block performed better.
-it works better when you sleep in between practicing


Learning stuff in increments while taking breaks in between will improve the speed at that you learn the material and to what extent, this was tested with surgical students. Studying over multiple days will produce better results than studying in one day.

Bass Research, Analysis, and Recording Project

String Bass – also called double bass, upright bass, bass fiddle, bass violin, doghouse bass, contrabass, bass viol, stand-up bass or bull fiddle! – Fujifilm FinePix S1500” by Logos: The Art of Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


For the base project, we watched videos about bases and influential base players. We used various resources to create our own baselines and reflected on what we made.


Watch How Bass Works (47 minutes)


  • when the baseline was first used the organ was the main base instrument
  • The double-base string instrument was created in about 1800
  • contrary motion baselines are when the melody and baseline move in opposite directions
  • walking baselines are based on scales and are used commonly in jazz and they move the song forward
  • in the early stages of the baseline, the tonic note was repeated
  • the chords in the baseline were inverted to add more variety and make the baseline more exciting
  • synthesizers can be used for the baseline
  • the baseline in a song can be made fully digital with the synth

LAB: Experminet with baselines in HookTheory

Step 1: Watch How to write Chromatic Notes in Hookpad (some bass lines are based on chromatic scale)

Step 2: Watch 3 ways to use Hookpad’s MIDI drag-drop feature (you can create basslines and more and export to Soundtrap and other DAW – digital audio workstations)

I enjoyed making a baseline in hook theory. I experimented with making a walking baseline which was relatively easy because I could use all quarter notes and move them down a few octaves. The videos were helpful, especially the one about accidentals.


 How To Add Bass Notes Guitar Strumming Lessons by Tomas Michaud

 guitar TABS for his exercise (PDF) Thomas Michaud

Reflection: I don’t know how to play the guitar or any string instrument. I didn’t know where to start with a guitar tab so I adapted it to the piano. I played the half notes with my left hand and the chords with my right hand.

Profile in Excellence

Image from Wikipedia
Image from

Reflection: I had no idea that These people played so many good well known songs. I have probably heard some of these songs hundreds of times and this is the first time I have ever heard the names, Carol Kaye and James Jamerson. I understand that at the time if their names were on the record then people wouldn’t have bought it but I think they should have more recognition now because people already like the songs and should get credit for their work.


I used an E in one of the lower octaves on the piano and experimented with making a baseline using only one note. I used different rhythms to make it interesting while staying on the same note. For dynamics, I followed the line.


For the recording, I played this on a keyboard but plugged it into Garage Band to change the instrument o base so it doesn’t sound completely natural but other than that I think this went well.


I learned different ways to write baselines and where different types of baselines originated from. I had to adapt some things from guitar or base to keys so that the exercise was applicable to me.


Rhythm Research, Analysis, and Recording Project

TAG Young Scholars Latin Jazz band members play the drums.” by Learning Leaders NYC is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


For the rhythm project, we explored different types/styles of rhythms and different ways to make rhythms. we did this with tools like hook theory and garage band.

My First HookTheory Rhythm (Beat)

Part 1 – Drum Arrangements Made Simple

Part 2 – Arranging Drums in Hookpad

Part 3 – Advanced Drum Arrangements in Hookpad

I used one of the basic drum rhythms from HookTheory over my melody. I like the fill at the end but I want to make more space for more fills because the rest of the rhythm is kind of boring. For my final rhythm, I think I will use Garage Band so I can have more options for instruments and make my own rhythms.

Notes from Howard Goodall’s Rhythm Video

Watch How Rhythm Works (47 minutes)

-how has classical and jazz music influenced modern-day instrumental music?

-Who are some good musicians who use multiple types of rhyme?
Rythem and pulse are expressed differently in classical than in a style with drums like jazz
beats are generally subdivided into groups of two
laying multiple sets of notes that are twice as long can add tension
accents emphasize certain beats, usually the more important ones
syncopation makes rhythm lose and fun and is common in ragtime music
It makes things sound more human instead of mechanical
-swing is used primarily in jazz and is a sort of long short rhythm
-cross-rhythm superimposes different rhythms on top of each other
-rap music uses a lot of cross-rhythm
-Cuban music fused different rhythms from around the world


In this video, I learned how rhythm evolved over time as new cultures were introduced to each other and how these different types of rhythm can alter the way that the song feels and fits with the other parts.

Rhythm Composition Terms and Definitions

  • Rhythm comes from natural things
  • rhythm is even in music when you can’t hear it
  • most beats are divided by 2,3, or 4
  • accent, pulse, sub-division
  • accents can put emphasis on one or two notes to make it sound very different
  • syncopation is a musical slight of hand that makes it sound more mischievous and playful
  • the elastication of syncopation became jazz
  • cross-rhythm is music’s party trick. its the overlay of one pattern over another
  • in Cuban music, the melody and bass line are ahead
  • the Latin push has become very common nowadays

One of My Favorite Rhythms (Beats)

In the rhythm of this song, I really like how it is layered between the drumset and the piano. On its own, the drumset is already super cool but when the piano comes in it feels very lively and bouncy. because the song starts and ends with only the rhythm section the rhythm really feels like the backbone of the whole tune.

My Second Rhythm (Beats)

what I like about this baseline is that I think it would add a lot of color and texture to a song. I also am glad that I made this. one in Garage Band because HookTheory didn’t have many options for creating your own baselines.

What I Learned & Problems I Solved

In the rhythm project, I learned a lot about different types of rhythms and where they originated from as well as the ways these rhythms could be combined and played on top of each other. I had to solve the problem of not having enough options for making my own melodies with HookTheory, so I switched to Garage Band.

Grammar and Spelling




Harmony Research, Analysis, and Recording Project

And then some Rock Band” by eric dickman is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


The harmony project is about chord progressions and how how to make them harmonize with the melody. We used hook theory to make our own chord progressions.

My First HookTheory Chord Progression  (Harmony)

I like how each phrase ends on the 5th instead of the 1 because the melody will end on the 1 and it will make a perfect 5th. I also like the little bit of dissonance from 5th measure. For the last three chords, I used the standard c major chord progression of 1, 4, 5.

Harmony Composition Terms and Definitions

  • Harmony was not originally part of music until the middle ages and the renaissance
  • Harmony sounds like it comes from some other plane of existence (to exaggerate a bit)
  • Harmony in its simplest and oldest form in two notes playing at the same time
  • A drone is a single note that you can sing any melody above. Bagpipes are an instrument that plays a drone.
  • A drone is usually the tonic
  • When people started to move the drone around, it was like the melody and the harmony were parallel lines. As the melody moved up, the drone moved up
  • Triad – 3 notes that come together and create a chord
  • Chord progressions are the backbone of western harmony
  • People discovered the “hierarchy” of chords and created rules to go with these
  • In one note, there are other hidden notes called harmonics
  • Humans can only really pick out three or four harmonics
  • Using the harmonics humans were able to make chords by finding the notes hidden in the harmonics
  • In minor chords, the middle note is a half-step lower than in a major chord
  • Polyphony is when you have a bunch of chords under the melody
  • Polyphony – many “voices”
  • Progression – a certain series of chords or notes that “work together” and sound good
  • Tonic – the first note of a scale “home”
  • Dominant – the fifth note of a scale that raises tension
  • Passimezzo Antico – A chord progression that’s a variation of a double tonic. It was popular during the Italian Renaissance
  • Passimezzo Moderno – “Modern half step” A chord progression that’s a variation of Passimezzo Antico. It divides the section in two and often uses a contrasting progression or section known as ripresi
  • Dischord – a deliberate collision of notes that are meant not to sound “pretty”
  • Dissonance – lack of harmony between notes “a clash”
  • Passing Notes – notes that don’t sound “pretty” but are used a small number of times like they are just “passing through”
  • Suspended Notes – dissonant notes being held for as long as possible and then finally moving at the last second
  • 7th Chords – A regular triad chord plus the note seven steps above the first note
  • Diminished Chords – A regular triad chord with the bottom note being moved up a step
  • Augmented Chords – A regular triad chord with the last note being moved up a step
  • Tonic (1 and 8 chords)
    • Root note creates a feeling of resolution and stability 
  • Supertonic, Mediant, Submediant (2, 3, 6 chords)
    • Moderate tension, useful for transitions 
  • Dominant, Subdominant, Leading Tone (4, 5, 7 chords)
    • Create lots of tension to get to the tonic 

Mr. Le Duc’s Key of C Major Notes and Chords Chart (PDF)

One of My Favorite (Chord Progressions) Harmonies

Prelude no. 1 in C Major

what I like about this chord progression is that it has a lot of dissonances and it doesn’t resolve when you want it to. It also uses the circle of fifths in the first half which isn’t in this photo or recording.

My Second HookTheory Chord Progression (Harmonies)

For the first 4 measures, I kept the same chords and just switched the middle two so it had a little bit of resolution with the 5-chord. Because of that release, it gave me a lot more room to add some dissonance and crunchy chords before I resolved the final chord back to a 1.

What I Learned & Problems I Solved

I learned some more popular chord progressions and the history of harmonies and some different chords. I figured out how some of these different chords would sound one after the other.

Grammar and Spelling




January 2023 Smart Goal Project

music” by Robert Couse-Baker is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Focus / Instrument


Intention (SMART Goal)

By March 1st, I will have evidence for a completed piano song, using this video, as part of session 4 of School of Rock.


Leader(s) in the Field / Exemplary Work(s)

I chose Phillip Glass as a leader because he is well-known and personally I really enjoy his music. He has made beautiful compositions and he is a huge role model for me in terms of piano playing. Phillip Glass had a great deal of experience and accomplishments.

Training Source(s)

-Tlakes about minor chords (0:31)

SMART Goal Schedule

-Play around with different melodies (5-10 mins)

-Recor ideas (2 ish)

-listen back to past recordings and pick out things I still like (10 ish)


SMART Goal Starting Point Evidence

SMART Goal Ending Point Evidence


21st Century Skills

Ways of Thinking (Creativity, Innovation, Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving)

Ways of Working (Communication & Collaboration)

This was a solo project so I didn’t collaborate or communicate with anyone further than sharing materials and being mindful of others.

Tools for Working (Info & Media Literacy)

I used a keyboard as well as a smaller one-octave keyboard that plugs into the computer so I could play things directly into Garage Band and mess with still there before playing it on an actual piano at home.

Ways of Living in the World (Life & Career)

This project really taught me the importance of time management and multitasking because it was difficult to balance this with the rhythm, melody, harmony, and base projects.

Grammar and Spelling


Melody Research, Analysis, and Recording Project

Fast musical notes on a music sheet” by Horia Varlan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


The Melody Project is all about how to make a melody and the way that different notes work together and how we can use them to create tension and release tension. We used hook theory to make our own melodies and listen to melodies from popular songs.

My First HookTheory Melody

I have prior musical knowledge but I just started working on writing my own songs so I am still learning how to create good melodies. For this melody, I was thinking about thirds and keeping the notes moving. I also wanted to end on the tonic so that any tension there was would release.

Melody Composition Terms and Definitions

  • Theme: A long, flowing melodic idea.
  • Motive: A short, rhythmic idea (Beethoven’s 5th).
  • Period: 8-12 measures or a musical sentence.
  • Phrase: Usually 4 measures.
  • Antecedent (Question) Phrase: First 4 measures of a period.
  • Consequent (Answer) Phrase: Second 4 measures of a period.
  • Scale Degrees (C Major Scale)
    • Tonic: C (1 , 8) – Stability and resolve.
    • Supertonic, Mediant, Submediant: D, E, A (2 , 3 , 6) – Moderate tension, useful for transitions and carrying on an idea.
    • Subdominant, Dominant, Leading Tone: F, G, B (4 , 5 , 7) – Causes the most tension, leads to the tonic.
  • Steps: Any movement using half or whole steps.
  • Leaps: Any movement using intervals larger than a whole step.
  • Conjunct motion: Melody is built primarily out of steps.
  • Disjunct motion: Melody is built primarily out of leaps.
  • Repetition: Repeated material (i.e. motive) used to create a link between two phrases of the period.
  • Contrast: Two phrases that contain contrasting material to create tension and interest.
  • Variation: Halfway between contrast and repetition. The two phrases include some recognizable material and some varied material (i.e. taking ideas up an octave).

One of My Favorite Melodies

Let it Be by The Beatles

What I like about this melody is that it uses the third scale degree as a sort f anchor instead of the tonic. This song is in the key of C major so the third scale degree is E and the tonic is C. Manny of the jumps are also in thirds and there isn’t a whole lot of dissonance. Dissonance can be really good and scary for many melodies but I like how this one is claiming because of the lack of dissonance and tension.

My Second HookTheory Melody

In this melody, I like the first half of the second phrase with all of the 8th notes because the rest of the melody is mostly quarter notes so it gives it some variety. I knew that I wanted the second to last note to be the dominant or the leading tone to create some final tension right before we returned back to the tonic (c) for the last measure. I also figured out how to use multiple octaves in Hook Theory so I took advantage of that.

What I Learned & Problems I Solved

During this project, I learned about Supertonic, Mediant, and Submediant and how they can be used to help create and release tension. The rest of the theory stuff was a good review. I also learned how to navigate Hook Theory because I haven’t used it in depth before so that was a challenge for me.

Grammar and Spelling





Songs to Share

What song has the most plays on your music device?

Song Title: All Good
Artist: Samm Henshaw
Video Link:

What song might you listen to when you are sad?

Song Title: Rivers and Roads
The Head And The Heart
Video link:

What song might you listen to when you getting ready to go out with friends?

Song Title: Knock on Wood
Eddie Floyd
Video link:

What song might you listen to when you are alone?

Song Title: What A Wonderfull World
Jon Batiste
Video link:

What song makes you feel amazing?

Song Title: The Chain
Fleetwood Mac
Video link:

Who is your current favorite artist?

Artist: Jon Batiste

Microphone Auditions Project

Microphones” by Roadside Guitars is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


The microphone project is an exploration of different kinds of recording microphones where I had my voice recorded in these microphones and listened to them side by side to hear how the microphones changed and colored my voice.

Microphone Audition Podcast


The RE-20 was my favorite microphone because I like the tone of my voice in it and how it made my voice warmer.

The RE-20 is a cardioid dynamic microphone

It is designed for the radio and television broadcast market

It is an end-address dynamic tailored for close-recorded vocals like podcasting, YouTube streaming, and close-up singing

Read more:

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

This project introduced me to many new microphones and taught me the importance of choosing the right microphone for you and for what you are working on. The main problem that I solved during this project was figuring out how to edit the track on sound trap because I haven’t used sound trap a ton in the past (I guess you could say that this also falls under something I learned). I ended up duplicating the track a bunch of times and then shortening each from both sides so I would have chunks of good recording put together over 12 different tracks.

Terms and Concepts

  •  Microphones
    • Dynamic – The sound waves themselves create the electrical signal by moving the membrane diaphragm of the microphone. Very popular and very well known. It is good for the low and middle range, NOT the high range.
    • Condenser – The membrane has an electrical current that waits for sound. When the sound waves hit it, it responds instantly. They are all over the place, but they need an electrical charge {amplifier} from something {battery}.
  • Polar Patterns
    • Omni – Picks sound up from all directions equally. This is used for interviews because it can pick up more than one person, without having to have two separate mics.
    • Cardioid – Picks up one half of the microphone, also known as a ‘directional mic’. Most sensitive in the front, about 180 degrees. Shaped like a heart.
    • Bi-directional – ‘Figure of 8’, picks the front and behind of the mic, but the 90-degree angle on both sides does not get picked up.
  • Transduction – Converts one form of energy to another.
  • Voltage – An electric force or a potential difference shown in volts.
  • Phantom Power – Activates the condenser in a microphone. DC powered mostly between 12 and 48 DC voltages.
  • Sensitivity – Voltage at its known sound level. Can be called by its voltage or decibels. A higher number means more sensitivity, everything is mostly in negatives. Sound pressure.
  • Frequency Response – The range of sound the microphone can produce and how sensitive it is within the range. You want it nice and flat.
  • Transient – A variation in current, voltage, or frequency.
  • Placement – Placement of the microphone is key, depending on the sounds you want, it can just be the distance from you or the instrument from the microphone. This part of the microphone can affect others emotionally in a way to connect with the audience.
  • Proximity Effect – Decreased sensitivity to low mics, which reduces background noise and vibration and counteracts when used very close to the source.
  • Output – A place where the sound leaves the system.
  • Characteristics – This is the Relative Response and Frequency measured in a Hertz graph to show how good or bad the microphone is. This can show the quality of the mic.
  • Noise Rating – The signal (sound source) to noise ratio measured in decibels (dB). Noise is any sound in the background you don’t want. Electricity vibrates at 60dB so you want the ratio of the signal and noise to be higher than that. Preferably 90dB or higher.
  • Hardware
    • Clips – A clip is something that you use to hold a microphone on something {for example – stand }, but, using the wrong kind of clips can affect the performance, make sure it is tight so it has the correct effect.
    • Stands – This ties in with a clip, this is what the clip will connect to. This keeps the microphone towards the object you want to hear without having to hold it or keep it still.
    • Windscreen – Something that covers and protects the microphone, mostly a foamy material.
    • Direct Box – A device used to connect an instrument directly into the audio mixer.

December 2022 SMART goal project

Man writing music” by rockmixer is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.


Focus / Instrument


Intention (SMART Goal)

By Jan. 13, as a pianist and songwriter, I will have evidence for a piano song I will write by referring to this interview with Jon Batiste for session 3.


Leader(s) in the Field / Exemplary Work(s)

-Rythem in songs (0:35)
-Right-hand melody (dancing and crying)(0:50)
-Stories in the music (1:30)
-Drones (4:10)
-creating space and its purpose (5:52)

Training Source(s)

– Chord progressions (0:35)
– Chord inversions (1:25)
– melody (4:20)
-break down of melody (4:50)
-take the time to experiment using a simple chord progression (1, 4, 5)

SMART Goal Schedule

  1. listen to what I have done so far
  2. listen to other piano songs or non-piano songs for inspiration
  3. don’t copy the inspirational songs
  4. write and brainstorm more of the song in 10-15 minute increments
  5. take a 1-2 minute break to clear my head
  6. record progress with something like voice memos (should take the song length)


SMART Goal Starting Point Evidence

SMART Goal Ending Point Evidence


21st Century Skills

Ways of Thinking

This project challenged me to learn new skills for music writing and to find new ways to use chords to make melodies that I haven’t done before.

Ways of Working

This was an independent project so I didn’t collaborate with one and there wasn’t much communication needed to complete this project other than communicating about equipment.

Tools for Working

For this project, I used the notes app to write down ideas for the song and I used voice memos as well as the recording function on the keyboard to listen back to what I was working on.

Ways of Living in the World

Having songwriting skills could help me in my future in my career because I want to go into the music field and it might be important to understand the basics of how songs are written.

Self-Evaluation of Final Version

I think I am going to continue to add and refine this song when we do our songwriting session. Overall I liked how it turned out and I think it just needs some more polishing, I need to add some more emotional aspects to the song like different dynamics.

Grammar and Spelling