In-Depth Post #3; Synthesizers


During my second meeting, I learned about synthesizers and how to use them. I had tried to use them prior to the meeting, but I got confused from the overwhelming number of knobs and switches.

I am still not 100% sure how to use synths; my mentor recommends playing with one until I ‘get a feel for it’.

FYI: synth is an electronic instrument (usually controlled with a keyboard) that can produce a variety of sounds by manipulating frequencies and wave structure. Musicians can make use of synths by making sounds that are not from traditional instruments.

I have also discovered that a lot of these synths are quite expensive. So far, I have found as a good source to get free synths.

Incorporating the synths into Ableton works the same as how a normal instrument would, the only thing different would be designing a sound. There are also pre-set sounds that I can use, too.


How to have a Beautiful Mind:

How to be interesting:

Edward de Bono’s How to have a Beautiful Mind talks about how asking ‘what if’ type questions make a conversation more interesting. During my meeting, I tried to do this when I felt the conversation was slowing down.


Mentor: (after briefly explaining Serum, a popular synthesizer) So yeah, that’s about it, do you have any questions?

Me: Uh, would I be able to create normal instrument sounds too? What if I wanted a more traditional sound?

Mentor: Of course, actually, let’s make a kick drum right now.


Although the conversation was about to end, the ‘what if’ question kick-started a whole new conversation and I was able to learn one more thing.


How to respond:

De Bono says that “stories illustrate matters and show possibilities”, making a conversation interesting and lively (59). I already knew about how stories could make conversations interesting, as I have seen it being used a lot. So, I used it during my meeting.


Mentor: Is there anything you wanted to know in particular?

Me: Yeah, somebody I knew told me they knew someone that used Serum to make non-musical sounds and they made a living making sound effects for movies, is that even possible? Can I create any sound? For example, would I be able to create, let’s say, a snap sound?

Mentor: Yup, for sure.

Me: So theoretically, I would be able to create any sound if I had a wave table like Serum?

Mentor: Yes, a lot of people spend their entire lives designing a perfect sound. Or you could use a pre-set – by the way, this is called sound design.


In this conversation, I was able to confirm something that I had heard from a friend while also learning about the limits of Serum and other synths.



My goals for the next two weeks are to continue to develop a song with structure, perhaps making use of synths to do so.

I also aim to get my schedule back on track this week, I have been slacking off during the weekends – which is when I had allotted time to work on In-Depth.

In-Depth Blog Post #2

The first month of 2019 has gone by, and I have made good progress for In-Depth. I have selected a DAW software and have begun learning the basics of the program. Additionally, I had my first meeting with my mentor. During the meeting we talked about plans for the next few months, what my mentor does, what I had learned on my own, and next steps. Having someone guide me on what I need to work on next is something I have found useful over this past month.


On my own, I was able to learn how to navigate and use certain tools of Ableton. Although I don’t know what some things do, I am able to create short beats with what I do know. For example, although I don’t know how to adjust the settings of certain MIDI effects, I am still able to use the basic instrument. And using the base instrument, I can create something. The result of this was the audio I posted in last weeks blog post.

Here is a run-down on what a MIDI effect is:

A MIDI effect is like a filter the instrument goes through before we can hear it. For example, holding a chord on a piano plays all the notes at once, but if you were to add an arpeggiator (MIDI effect), the chord will play as individual notes in a rhythmical pattern. This pattern can be adjusted to change how many times the notes will cycle. However, this is just one example of the many MIDI effects available in Ableton.

My mentor then suggested that I try to use proper song structure. Currently, I am working on creating a chorus for one of the proto-songs I posted last week.

My progress so far has been exceeding my expectations. My initial goal for January was to select and get started with a DAW software. So far, my progress has been going well.

Incorporating Aspects of How to have a Beautiful Mind:

How to differ:

“Different opinions can all have their own validity”

When selecting a DAW my mentor suggested that I purchase the standard edition of Ableton (costs around $500) as this edition did not have any limitations. However, I did not want, and could not afford to spend that much money. And although we both have good intentions, we both had differing ideas on what the ‘best program’ would be. For me, it was something affordable, yet effective. For my mentor, it was something effective with no limitations.

How to agree:

“There is no contribution if you simply agree with everything”

In How to have a Beautiful Mind, Edward de Bono talks about making contributions to a conversation. During my meeting, I tried my best to pay attention to what my mentor was saying, and rather than agreeing with everything, I tried to find ideas that did not align with my logic bubble and asked about them. For example, my mentor said I should learn all the keyboard shortcuts. Although I agreed with using shortcuts for tools that I use often, I didn’t feel the need to spend time learning the shortcuts, it usually comes over time.

Goal / next step:

By the end of February, I aim to have completed 1-2 songs that have good structure.

final zip blogpost

My inquiry question asks how an organization might incorporate images as a medium to symbolize their tenets and products. I was initially drawn to this question because I was curious why images seemed to communicate and invoke certain ideas without myself ever realizing. Images set a mood without telling me; I simply understood. My intentions were to figure out why this might have been. The question today is more accurate to how text and images are altered to symbolize and invoke certain ideas.

During this process, I have become better at putting my thoughts into words. I struggled on many of my DOL’s because I didn’t know how to translate my thoughts/experiences into words. However, I have improved, slightly, and developed some personal methods on how to start paragraphs and sentences. Additionally, I have learned how I can use images and texts to attract attention and subtly trigger moods and emotions using colours and shapes. Both skills are important to school, starting sentences and paragraphs are especially useful in all classes. Using colours and images effectively may not seem as important; however, this skill may be immensely influential during presentations and lessons of any variety.

Over time, my answer to this question has been changing little by little. In conclusion, texts and images can be altered to symbolize certain things because of the ideas that are hardwired into our minds by our culture, society, and human nature. For example, this image ( wouldn’t hold meaning if society didn’t tell us what a wine glass is, what a fork is, and what they mean together. When looking at this image, many people don’t think about the deeper meaning, but their brain processes it unconsciously. Our brain identifies these familiar objects and relates experiences to them, symbolism is very powerful. Additionally, colour can be used to conjure feelings and ideas, and this is because of how humans have evolved. Colour vision has played an important part in identifying foods and plants. Because of this, colours like red, yellow, and orange (common colours of fruits and berries) feel bold and pop out. This can be used subtly to manipulate images and texts. For anyone interested, the first three paragraphs are pretty interesting (

My artefacts demonstrate my work because I have incorporated my learning to create texts that cause the observer to feel a certain way. I have created these images using the things I have learned, trying to incorporate as techniques as I could. Something like this:


Here are the curricular competencies that I have chosen and how I think they relate to the artefact above:

  • Recognize how language constructs personal, social,and cultural identity
    • Recognizing how language constructs identity, I have tried to take parts of an identity someone may label as ‘happy’ and used those things to bring forth that emotion.
  • Apply appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, visual, and multimodal texts
    • Many strategies can be used to comprehend this image. First, the blue background is used to bring the pink and yellow forward. Additionally, I have used flowers as a symbol of happiness and calm. And finally, I have taken advantage of flares (the red swirls) to create a path for the eyes to follow.
  • Recognize and appreciatehow different features, forms, and genres of texts reflect different purposes, audiences, and messages
    • This picture would be most effective to a general audience. People interpret ideas differently, and although many would find this image to be bright and cheery, some may find it unenjoyable, perhaps due to a bad experience or memory. Therefore, this image would likely deliver a similar message to everybody.


Cool Citations:

  • This website gave me a brief understanding of the process logo designers go through when designing a logo. It also gave me a brief idea of what I could do to plan and make my final artefact.

  • This website explains why images are effective and how they can be used in articles, blogs, presentations, videos, etc… to catch a viewer’s attention.

  • I used this website to get a brief understanding of colour vision, and how/why we have developed it.

  • This website explains how an images can be put onto different mediums to grab someone’s attention.

  • This website lists some common techniques that organizations and companies use to advertise themselves and their products to the public using visual methods.

  • This website gave me an understanding of how colours can be manipulated in ads, presentations, posters, and much more to create certain moods and emotions.

  • This article gave me an idea of how images have emotions in them. Talks a little about symbolism and how different individuals may interpret pictures differently, and also how identical images may have varying success depending on timing.

  • This website gives simple examples of symbolism and how they can be applied in different mediums.

  • This article gives examples of logos with symbolism. I understood what simple, yet genius, designs could accomplish through this source.

  • I learned the story of how a great logo was made. Additionally, I learned that images without any initial meaning can be given meaning with more ease.

  • This website gives more examples of effective logos that are famous and simple.

  • A video about how an image can be given meaning, and how different audiences may not understand certain ideas.

  • Another website I used to research how colour is used in advertising and its result.

  • A website that explains how colours can impact our emotions and behaviours. Talks about the effects of the individual colours and what emotions they can trigger.


After this inquiry, I have gained one big question: how is symbolism used across different mediums? Is there a single medium that is predominantly more effective? This question excites me because I have learned about symbolism in texts (during class) and images (during ZIP). I am curious to see what other mediums there could be, and how effective symbolism would be in each of them. I may find out in class, or I may find that people have different opinions on the matter.


This concludes my ZIP 2019

In-Depth Intro Post

In-Depth Introduction Post


It’s already In-Depth time! For my final year of In-Depth, I am aiming to learn how to produce music on Ableton Live 9 Lite. Particularly, I want to learn and understand how the tools available to me function and how I can make use of them.

I want to learn how to produce music digitally because it has been a small passion of mine since middle school. Back then, a friend of mine had become interested in music production; the stuff he was able to do piqued my interest and I wanted to do the same thing. However, the equipment was costly, and I couldn’t join my friend. I kept this passion for a long time, but, some time later, I was discouraged and forgot about it. Even last week, when I was selecting my In-Depth, I hadn’t thought about music as a choice. It was only when that same friend recommended music that I decided to finally invest my time into this skill. Additionally, I believe that this will prompt me to practice my piano and theory, which I really need to do. I do not like to practice the piano on my own time, lumping it together with this project may incentivize me to practice more.

As for my mentor, the same friend recommended his past mentor who, thankfully, was available. I have yet to meet my mentor in person, but he has a basic understanding of what I need from him and what In-Depth is about. In fact, he is a alumni from Gleneagle.


Lastly, I have explored around in Ableton and produced some simple things. For those that are interested, here they are: ***blog can’t upload audio, quality is bad in video ***

Document of Learning #3

Describe the ups and downs you have encountered to date in your inquiry. Specifically, when you were frustrated or struggling in your inquiry, what did you do to address the situation?


During my research, I became frustrated trying to find related sources. It was frustrating because I was unable to put my question into words. Many of the articles I found were about different topics and I didn’t get much research done. I resolved this quandary by taking a short break and thinking over how to reword my question, talking to Mr. Morris was also helpful. Even after I drafted a better question, it was still difficult to find 100% related sources, which was fine because I found enough sources to connect gaps in knowledge and add my own ideas.

I have also struggled with these documents of learning. Specifically, I have a lot of trouble starting them off. Today, I tried fixing this problem by just typing random things, getting into the ‘zone’, and working on from there. Following the “to begin, begin” quote from today’s class.

Speaking of the ‘zone’, I seemed to reach peak performance halfway during each class. I get the most work done when I’m in this focused state. To take advantage of this, I tried to recognize what I was doing before getting into this mood. I figured out that I concentrate the best when I have been doing the task for a while, similarly to how I started this document of learning (by typing randomly) and getting used to the workflow.

Document:Intelligence_Checkup.2 – ZIP DOL #2

Reflect on your inquiry and how your understanding is changing, becoming more focused, or is perhaps being reaffirmed by your research. What do you now know that you didn’t know when you started this inquiry? 

During the past few days, my inquiry question has been developed to adapt to the English curriculum. The question I am in the progress of answering is still the same; my question was simply reworded to accurately fit my intentions after conversing with Mr. Morris. However, I do not believe that my question is in its final stages. Currently, it has merely become a better shell, and there are still improvements that will be made throughout this learning experience.

Since the first blog post, one thing I have gained is how I can mold my project to fit the curriculum accurately. Additionally, I have discovered how I can more effectively string together article, blogs, and personal opinions to create new insights into my inquiry. In the past, the topics I had research were all relatively straightforward, I found the facts/opinions and consumed them. But now, I must research two similar topics and relate them together. For example, I used my notes on colour theory and the logo design process to infer how artists and companies take colour into consideration when they design a graphic. I have also learned that in-depth research can lead you down a rabbit hole of information. I have learned that knowing how far to go and when to stop is also a crucial part of research.  

Although the previous blogs goal was ambitious, I think that I can still manage to get more research in before I need to move on to the implication of my ZIP learning. Over the weekend, I will aim to finish the icing on the cake and complete the research portion of ZIP, perhaps I could even begin the implication and make some draft logos, ads, and banners. 


ZiPPiTY ZAP – D O L # 1

Record a journal entry of how you used one of our in-class focus blocks. What did you accomplish during this time? What did you struggle with? What might be your next step in you next focus block? Set a goal.

During our first two focus classes, I have begun my research. Because I had finished my ZIP proposal before the end of the break, I had a lot of time to work with during these blocks. On the first day, I started my work by finishing the draft for my rubric; I decided that setting a goal before doing anything was very important because it would set a destination. When I finished my draft, I then began to conduct my research. At first, I had trouble finding useful/insightful sources, but, after rethinking and rewording my searches, I was able to find a few great blog/article posts detailing the process most designers go through when designing a new graphic. After noting the most significant points, I attempted to find articles related to why we link experiences to images. Although I spent quite some time looking, I struggled to find anything with those keywords. I thought for a while, and I realized that I should broaden my research then synthesize the data. This would result in more information to work with, along with my own insights I may develop during more research. I aim to complete 3 additional pages of notes by the end of Jan.9th and finish my research altogether – another 3 pages – by the end of Jan.10th.


Notes that I took that some may find interesting:

Principles of Great Logo Design:


  • Flexible, clean, and simple designs make for an easily recognizable design
  • Distracting or confusing designs are easily ignored or overlooked


  • People should get the general idea in mere seconds
  • Quickly recognizable
  • Meaningful, communicates an idea


  • Remains as a good design after time
  • Does it communicate the same or a similar message as it did 10 years ago?
  • Will it last 10,20, or 30 years?


  • Does it work across different sizes, mediums, and contexts?
  • Simple to incorporate and use


  • Resonates with target audience
  • Related to topic


Logos go through many iterations

  • Brainstorm – spit out a plethora of designs, good and bad
  • Selection – identify the desirable traits
  • Amalgamation – combine desirable designs
  • Selection – choose the most desirable designs
  • Refinement – improve the design further

ZIP Proposal – Logos and Design

How might an organization incorporate images as a medium to symbolize their tenets and products?


Many people say a picture is worth a thousand words. That is why, during ZIP this year, I would like to learn how companies incorporate images as a medium to portray themselves. An early form of this question first came to my mind while using Skype and Discord with my friends. On these programs, many people have a ‘profile picture’ that they use throughout most of their time on the application. Whenever a friend changes that icon, it would feel strange and unfamiliar. That is when I realized these pictures were acting as a label for the box that was my experiences with a certain person. The picture represented and embodied the interactions we have had, acting as a sort of logo to that friend. I didn’t put much thought into it at the time; however, I thought it was a great question, that I’ve always had, to explore using ZIP as a motivation.

Currently, I do not have much knowledge on designing logos; I have done minor things before, but nothing to the extent of calling myself knowledgeable on the subject. However, I do have skills that can help me approach the question. Being able to research effectively, learn independently, and conduct interviews will help me throughout the research portion of this learning experience. Additionally, I am well apt to draw simple things and have learned how to use Photoshop during IN-DEPTH and Digital Media 10 & 11 which help when it comes to apply the things I learn. Like most people, I have also seen many logos over the span of my life; I understand how a picture can bring forth a thousand words.

By the end of ZIP, I would hope to have gained a reasonable understanding of what designers do to transform a doodle into the face of experiences a company or product has made. I would also like to learn how I can apply these techniques myself and use them in simple things such as my profile picture in different social medias. And finally, I would like to improve my capabilities of drawing simple designs that can relay many more ideas than words can achieve alone.

There are many people that I can approach when researching this question. Friends, family, peers, seniors, all most certainly have seen a logo before and may have some insight. Additionally, I could also seek out to graphic design teachers at our school or even to the parents who may have done some work in the field. I know my father has done some design for his business and may be able to guide me through his thought process when he created his logo. It would also be convenient if I was able to find an alumnus that did research on a similar topic; previous TALONS students that took design as their IN-DEPTH or as a school course may have had a similar question.

Because the internet is so wonderful, most of my research will likely be done online. There are many things I would think to search and learn from. These resources can be anything from articles, informative videos, critics, research papers, to graphic design communities online. I imagine this type of research would be simple because of the sheer amount of information and history there is to art and design. Websites such as Skillshare may also prove to be helpful as they provide a great library of information where professionals can share what they have learned through experience. However, although there is this great sea of information I can dig into, the vastness of the knowledge may make it difficult to find the most important pieces of it.

At the end of this inquiry exploration, I plan to demonstrate the fruits of my learning by having the visitor experience the process that I went through during this year’s ZIP. Nobody wants to listen to a 5-minute lecture about a topic that may not interest them; the best way to share my learning will be to get the audience invested in the question as much as I have. First, I will share some popular logos, such as Coca Cola, or Disney, and spark a question in the minds of the viewers: how does this logo describe so much without words, and how can I identify it so quickly? Sharing the learning process would be much easier and interesting for the observer from then on. Next, I will show the guest the designs I have created and share how they exercise different techniques. Hopefully this series of events will get the audience to inquire and understand the topic the same way that I have.


Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat


Finish Proposal



Work on Rubric



Work on Rubric



Finish Rubric



Begin Research



Begin Research





















Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Create and

Apply learning



Prepare for presentation



Prepare for presentation



Final touches for presentation



Catch up on anything necessary










The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula Le Guin’s Style

What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?

In Ursula Le Guin’s The Wizard of Earthsea there are many examples of different literary techniques in action. Of these techniques, the use of imagery and expanded moments stood out the most. Le Guin uses these techniques with skill and finesse to give emphasis to different moments, objects, and characters. For example, when introducing Duny’s aunt, Le Guin describes her house saying that “[…] the children feared the place. It was low and dusky, windowless, fragrant with herbs that hung drying from the crosspole of the roof […]” (pg. 3-4). Although Le Guin never directly describes Duny’s aunt, we learn so much from just an explanation of the character’s house. Le Guin also uses imagery to instill feelings. When the Krags attack, time seems to slow down as Duny feels as if “he should die, spitted on a Kargish lance, while still a boy: […] without ever having known his own name, his true name as a man.” (pg. 10). Again, without being told the feeling itself, we all know and feel the terror of believing in one’s own death. Another example is when Le Guin skips a month to “[…] the day [Duny] was thirteen years-old,” (pg. 16). By doing this, Le Guin creates emphasis on Duny’s “[…] Passage at the feast of Sunreturn this winter” by showing that a single day is more important than an entire month. If she had not done this, and Ogion were to name Duny right away, this moment wouldn’t feel as impactful as it had. In conclusion, Ursula Le Guin uses these techniques to put meaning and emphasis behind certain events and moments throughout the story by telling and not showing and using the expanded moment with great skill.

Light and Darkness

“Light and darkness are easy to identify in the world.”

I disagree with the statement ‘Light and darkness are easy to identify in the world’ because light and darkness are ever changing relative to each other. For example, lets say that the world is a dark room. After a while in that room, your eyes will adjust and you may think it is bright. But if there was a lamp in the room, the contrast will act as a point of reference and the rest of the room will seem darker than if there was no light. Additionally, there many ways people can interpret the definition of light and darkness. Identifying what is light and dark in the world is a simple task until you factor in more than one perspective. In conclusion, dark things in the world will only be as dark as we make of them.