Daniel Barnes

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It's been a year!

I haven't updated here in a while-- but here's the overview of the classes I took this year and what I thought!

FYE: Creativity and Logic

This class got me pumped up for the rest of the year. I got to work on a project with my friend Bridget, and we presented an idea for promoting music education in schools. We explored critical inquiry and creative problem solving, and it got me excited about the next four years at the college.

Topics in Ethnomusicology: Black Music Matters

I decided to dive into a music class for my first real block. We had a visiting professor, Dr. Norfleet, a lecturer and performer of music, and the class was very discussion-based. This class opened my eyes to the attention to detail and the passion that each student brings to each class-- and I think I walked out of the class with not only an understanding of the subject material, but how to responsibly discuss sensitive topics and consider all viewpoints.

Calculus III

This class was a tricky one. I was in this class with several of my friends from my FYE including Bridget, Miles, and Abigail, and tried to absorb as much as I could. While I did well in AP Calculus BC in high school, I only really formally took a compressed version of Calculus II through CMC. I was nervous going into the class, but the subject material was pretty manageable. I felt as though the grading was particularly harsh-- it was possible to come to the correct conclusion or the correct answer to a problem and still get a 70-80% on the problem, which was frustrating. Nevertheless, it fulfills the prerequisites of Calc I and II, which is helpful for a Computer Science degree.

Latin for Beginners

This was a fun class. This was two blocks long, and was intended to cover a year's worth of material. This means a quiz every single day of class, 20 vocab words a night, 20 sentences to translate a night-- and a lot of work to cram it all in your head. Latin in particular is very interesting to me because the syntax is like a puzzle-- words can be in any order and still mean the same thing (with different emphasis)-- so you're looking at the form of the word above the order. This was one of the more strenuous classes I've taken on the block plan, and it consumed a lot of my time trying to fit everything I could into my head.

Instrument Learning Theories for Band and Orchestra Instruments

This class was real fun. I was the only person who signed up for the class, so every day's 3-hour lecture was essentially a private lesson. The class was theory based and performance based, meaning I had to write reports about how to teach all the instruments I was learning about, while also preparing for a recital at the end of the block on six instruments. I chose to perform on oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, French horn, and tuba-- and gave a recital at the end of the year for a couple of my friends and a couple faculty members in the music department.

Hilariously, the audience was asked to fill out CHSAA solo/ensemble forms to grade my performance. My friends all gave me very nice grades like 1s or 2s (on a scale 1-5, 1 is the best)-- and some random CC students showed up and gave me 4s across the board (which is perhaps to be expected-- having only played these instruments for 3.5 weeks). I thought this difference in grading was hilarious.

Computer Science II

This class was definitely a weed-out class. After students take Computational Thinking and Computer Science I, they're feeling pretty excited about all the fun projects they were asked to do... and then, all of the sudden, they go into CS2 to make sure they're ready to take on a major. This class studied data structures and algorithms.

I went into the class nervous that I was taking on too much-- after all, I had never taken a formal computer science class and was entirely self-taught. I talked to the professor during office hours and just mentioned that I was nervous, and he said that I would be fine.

At the end of the class I ended up clenching the highest grade in the class, only missing two points on the final and getting a perfect score on everything else. I think this was a good sign that I was in the right place, and that I should pursue computer science to some extent.

During this class I also participated in a hackathon contest-- a 24 hour coding competition where you make a program in response to a prompt-- and I won the faculty award for the project I made, which is a nicer version of the announcement system the school uses (called the "digest"). This was pretty exciting.


Meanwhile, much of my time was spent making music. I participated in 4 ensembles (jazz band, concert band, chamber orchestra, and chamber chorus), took lessons (1 semester trombone, 1 semester euphonium, 1 semester piano, 1 semester voice), and participated in musical theatre (opera scenes showcase in the fall, musical theatre show "A Light in the Piazza" in the spring), and finished a extended format block on conducting.

I was selected to perform in the music department honors recital in the spring, where I performed Atlantic Zephyrs on euphonium-- and this was very exciting for me. This summer I'm working at Theatre Aspen, playing trombone in their orchestra pit, which is even more exciting.

I'm excited to get started on my summer!

By Daniel, on June 12, 2018, 12:59 pm