I went to Kayaköy art camp (Fethiye, Oludeniz) during summer. I chose salsa dancing as my workshop because I used to do ballet and I have always loved dancing. There were seven more campers who chose this workshop. Our supervisor, Mr. Alican, was a salsa teacher who was teaching salsa as a hobby. During the first week, he taught us the basic steps in salsa. I learned that there are several types of salsa. The most common ones differ in the way basic steps are counted. There is On1, known as the LA style; and On2, known as Mambo or NY style. In On1 salsa, the first basic step of the man is forward but in On2 it is backwards. Despite the difference, both are danced to the 123, 567 counts with holds on the 4 and 8 counts of music. At first, it was a bit confusing for me to spot their difference but now I am quite clear. We danced On1 and in order to get familiar with the steps, we had to repeat them again and again. This was very tiring at first because each lesson lasted 2 hours. Each of us had a partner to practice, but sometimes we had to dance pretending to have a partner. I learned the side rocks, back rocks, basic guapea and basic steps as a beginning. Since I play the piano, my musical aptitude is pretty good. Thanks to that, I did not have any trouble catching the rhythm. After we finished the basic steps in the first two lessons, we started to practice the turns. It was difficult to coordinate with my partner sometimes because unlike the steps, we had to do different moves while performing a turn. I had to give a signal to my partner during the men’s turns and similarly my partner had to give a signal to me before leading me to do my move. We completed the first week after practicing the beginner moves and turns. Our supervisor told us that we will use these moves in the upcoming show.
Hours Completed: 12
I went to Istanbul Çapa Faculty of Medicine as an intern at the beginning of this summer. I still don’t know what kind of a career I want, so I went there to observe the hospital environment. I had homophobia, so this internship was an opportunity to get over my phobia. Luckily, I was going to see hundreds of blood tubes every day because they put me in bone marrow bank department. As a beginning, a professor and a laboratory personnel lectured us. They gave us a brief information about organ transplantation including liver, kidney and bone marrow. Similarly, they introduced the tests that are used to match donor HLA’s and the recipient’s HLA. I learned that HLA stands for human leukocyte antigen system and it is a complex gene encoding the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins in humans. These cell-surface proteins are responsible for the regulation of the immune system in humans. The proteins encoded by certain genes are also known as antigens, as a result of their historic discovery as factors in organ transplants. Different classes have different functions: HLAs corresponding to MHC class I (A, B, and C) present peptides from inside the cell. For example, if the cell is infected by a virus, the HLA system brings fragments of the virus to the surface of the cell so that the cell can be destroyed by the immune system. Apparently, my strength during the internship was my patience while trying to understand the science background of the HLA tests.
In the bone marrow bank, there were many laboratories testing the matches of HLAs. There were three basic lab tests applied to each marrow candidate and its donor. Marrow transplantation was not carried out unless all three of the tests results were positive. These test included DNA isolation, flow and blood serum test. The first two days were tough for me because I had a hard time getting used to seeing blood. However, I could stand seeing blood after a few days. The internship was quite beneficial for me because I could overcome an important fear of mine. Similarly, I saw that the laboratory tests are crucial before the operations and they have to be carried out carefully. We were not allowed to do the tests ourselves but I could observe them in detail. Especially the DNA isolation was really interesting because I could see the DNA like a string with my own eyes. We spend 5 days there and the shift was from 8 am to 4 pm. Although it was a fun experience to be in the hospital, in the laboratory I was really tired by the end of the day and I can say that this was my physical weakness in this activity.
Hours Completed: 41
Since Bobtail Rag is jazz, I really needed to memorize the anomalies in the piece. As a method, me and my supervisor, we jot down little notes to the piece. Notes that will make me remember the things that we’ve talked about in the lessons. The piece is actually finished, however I still don’t feel confident. I pause too often after the 17th measure. I know that this problem will easily be solved if I tackle the song individually and apply grouping. As I play the song, I search for the exact places of the chords or some irregular notes, this destroys the overall tempo as well as the memory. My supervisor thought me a new method for the complex chords that are on the 3rd page of the piece. It was really interesting for me when I first heard of it. This new method is called “molding”. I play the chord. Don’t change my hand’s position and remove my hand off the piano. Imagine its position. Shake my hand and place it on the keyboard immediately without looking at the notes. Basically, my visual memory combines with my musical knowledge, this makes me remember the chords faster. For the next lesson I am aiming to play the song with less errors. I will definitely use molding and grouping.
Hours Completed: 4
Unfortunately, we had to cancel a lesson which was on 23rd of March. My supervisor got ill and he asked me to postpone our lesson. I will write about the one month period including my individual practices as well as two lessons. I enjoy Bobtail Rag more as I continue playing it. It is always better for me to play the pieces I like. I figured out the structure of the piece in approximately two weeks. This exactly matches my supervisor’s guess. He suggested that we shouldn’t move fast. For this reason, I joined my hands till 17th measure and finished deciphering the rest of the piece with separate hands. So, I had to practice all of the pages patiently. This didn’t make me impatient. On the contrary, knowing that I was perfecting the piece made me conscientious. I’ve found the audio file of Bobtail Rag. Whenever I get stuck, I listen to it and try to hear the parts that I’m having trouble with. I’ve also discovered that jazz doesn’t obey some fundamental music rules. For example, if there is C sharp in a measure, all Cs should be played as C sharp. However, in Bobtail Rag, this is not always valid!
Hours Completed: 6
On our 2nd day, we went to breakfast in a horse farm. There, we met children who are under legal protection. The farm was huge and there were lots of activities to join. Some of them are: gunnysack race, football, ebru, making bracelets from soap, wall painting, t-shirt painting, volleyball etc. I joined volleyball and ebru. I met lots of students aged between 5 and 18. We talked about Edirne and other small talks. I was good at communicating with people and representing myself. This was an organization of Tut Elimi Edirne Association. I talked with two university students who were volunteers in this association. They told me that they used to be under legal protection as well and that they wanted to help their sisters. “The only thing they need is to be loved.”, they said. For this reason, they wanted us to visit more often and spend time with them. All of the children had different stories. Some of them lost their parents, some of them used to be a victim of abuse, some of them had alcoholic parents… Meeting them helped me see the real world, the other side of the coin. Edirne’s local television came to interview us. I volunteered to give the interview and our teacher selected me. They asked me several questions in front of the camera. I was really excited and afraid to say something wrong because the whole situation was sensitive. “How did today contribute to your life?” they asked. “In Istanbul, my life is mainstream. School, home – home, school. Every day, I see the same people and I barely get to have a chance to meet people from different social backgrounds. For this reason, meeting these children was avail to me.” I answered. I would like to explain a little more, but I wasn’t comfortable with the camera, so this was difficult to me. Unfortunately, when the activities were over, it was also the time for us to return to Istanbul.
Hours Completed: 7
I was really happy to be back in Mithat Paşa Primary School. This time, we were there to carry out our promises. Thanks to our sponsors, we had 5 loaded bags of new books and boxes of paint. The students were waiting for us with great felicitousness. Just like the previous visit, we spent approximately an hour to talk, hug, play little games etc. Some of the children recognized me. They ran towards me and said: “I remember you, your name was Doğa!” I cannot express how happy I was. Although I didn’t remember all of their names, I remembered their faces. Since we had limited time, we then got to work. Each school, Enka, Ayazağa Işık, Uskudar American and our school, had different plans. We all had something different for the school. Ayazağa Işık organized a treasure hunt, where Uskudar American set up the projector they brought. As Terakki, we first placed the books to their library. After that, I joined wall painting. Mr. Dew gathered us in a room and explained our task. We were going to draw and paint the collages that we’ve made earlier. With a simple transfer technique we painted the back pages of our collages with dark pastel color. Then, we taped the pictures on the wall and went over the outlines with pencils. Students helped us as well. A girl named Kardelen helped me a lot. We worked together to finish the outlining. The technique took a lot of time and patience. It is actually really difficult to draw when the picture itself is bigger than you! Hopefully, when we removed the papers off the wall, our patterns, in other words our peculiar collages, were there. The next step was to paint. We took acrylic color and brushes to paint the wall. There were lots of colors of paint, at first our task was under control. Only a few students were helping us to finish our work. However, the colorful paint attracted too many students. Almost all of them wanted to paint the wall. The result was a chaos. The students started to paint and draw random things everywhere on the wall. Since we didn’t want to devitalize, nobody prevented them. To be honest, the wall looked like a mess at the end. But at least, a mess that had a good memory, a result of an entertaining artwork.
Our second step was to make a hopscotch and a mirror game on the ground. We used spray paint to do the mirror game and wall paint to make the hopscotch. Because of the wind, we had several problems, our template on the ground was not moving still. We solved the problem by gathering stones. While our school was still busy with painting, the other schools were done. They started playing basketball and volleyball with the students. Then we finished our job as well. When it was time to leave the students investigated our work with interest. Our rocket-like-hopscotch and mirror game took so many attention. Students were happy to see color in their playgrounds. I was also glad to achieve our goals: to improve and enhance the visual material and the library of the school. I taught some of the students the mirror game. It was new to them.
When it was time to leave, all of us were sad. Suddenly, a music started to play. We were all surprised. Two men came, playing shawm-and-drum. Our traditional music… The students from all five schools started to dance the halay or belly dance. I danced too. It was a great surprise and a memory. I told to myself that I liked being with these people and that I didn’t want to return.
Hours Completed: 7
After finishing Rondo totally, we spent our first lesson working on it and going over the parts that I couldn’t play fluently. On 24th of February, we started a new piece called “Bobtail Rag” by Tony Pegler. This is the last piece that I will play in the exam. We started slowly by deciphering the piece. Since it is a jazz piece, there are lots of patterns that I’m not familiar with yet. The piece seems so disorganized and random, however when all notes come together I think the melody will be interesting. I was really patient while deciphering the piece because no two consecutive notes are concordant! Even though I love learning new styles, jazz is stranger than I have thought. My goal for the next lesson is to revise till 17th measure and try to play the piece fluently. Of course, separate hands… At first, I should get used to jazz and the piece’s melody, then I can join my hands.
Hours Completed: 8