During my research into Jane Jacob’s work, I planned to interview someone who was more knowledgeable and possibly connected to her. After carefully crafting guiding interview questions and practicing my interviewing skills with other TALONS 10 students, I targeted 3 potential interviewees who I believed was most knowledgeable about Jane’s work. I aimed to interview authors and journalists who wrote about Jane, the managers at her foundation, and even tried looking for family members. At the end, I resulted with two people who worked at Jane’s foundation and an author of an article on Jane. I sent out emails to each of the interviewees with a few days in between to respond. After a few days of an interviewee not responding to my request, I moved on by sending another email with another individual. This was an effective way to get interviews, however, we must acknowledge it is no guarantee.
It was unfortunate that none of my interviewees replied, and a bit disappointing that the preparation wouldn’t be applied. In these situations, I suggest understanding why this might have happened. In my case, the popularity and talk about my eminent person dated a while back. The articles about Jane were written in the early 2000s, therefore, I would say authors and managers at Jane’s foundation are focusing their attention elsewhere. This is understandable, as Jane passed away in the early 2000s and haven’t made any significant headlines since then. This only means that there will be less people who are able to receive an interview about her. For the future, it is wise to consider that the people who was once working at one’s foundation may have moved on, and thus, hold a different email address. They still have significantly valuable information and knowledge about the chosen person; however, it would be difficult to reach them using their old email address. One of my interviewees had an email address under @thecenterforthelivingcity.org which is the foundations name. It would be good to search for other forms of contact and other addresses under the interviewee’s name. You may look for one’s LinkedIn page, Facebook page, and even Twitter pages, all appropriate sites to effectively get in touch and likely platforms one checks on a frequent basis.
Congratulations, you have done something which 7.753 billion people have not done, clicked on my learning center. I have dedicated my eminent 10 project this year towards the Urban Planner Jane Jacobs. I know the job title sounds quite boring and quite frankly, pretty irrelevant to you, however, I am sure you will get a blast flipping through my stunning virtual flipbook. And hey, just remember, if you read my flip book, you would have done something 7.753 billion people have not done before, quite the deal. So, if you are somewhat interested now, you can click the hyperlink to enter my Stunning Flipbook About Jane Jacobs. Enjoy the ride.
One more thing, if you were to come back feeling inspired and energized, feel free to put some questions into the comment box in this blog. I’ll be sure to reach out and answer your questions as soon as humanly possible. Thank you, and have a great morning, 12:00pm, evening, and night.
This blog post will be about my Eminent person, Dmitri Shostakovich, the Soviet composer. It is also written from the point of view of Shostakovich himself.
Why I am Eminent
I should be remembered among influential artists in classical music because of my uniqueness in style. No other composer sounds like me. Although there are some like Schnittke who take heavy influence from me, my sound is truly my own. I was able to compose music that complied with the Soviet art limitations of my time and to also compose music that truly expresses what I wanted to express with them. Of course, there were times where the government or public did not like what I was composing (like my opera, Lady Macbeth for example), but every great artist receives backlash and criticism, and that is what I think I am: A great artist.
Although I did not compose as many symphonies as Haydn (with a count of 104 symphonies), I am known for my orchestral works which consist of 15 symphonies and 6 concerti, many of which were composed during the aforementioned time of art constrictions in the Soviet Union. Since I was able to compose such compelling art under such limitations, it shows that I was a very brave individual in such difficult times and I think that one can learn from my experiences to stay resilient in such times, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.
September 25th, 1906: I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
1915: I start taking piano classes at age 9.
1919: I compose my first orchestral piece, a Scherzo in F# Minor.
1924 – 1926: I compose and premier my first symphony.
1932: An opera I have composed, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, is completed.
January 26th, 1936: Stalin visits the Bolshoi Theater, where my opera, Lady Macbeth is being played. Stalin did not approve of the opera.
January 28th, 1936: A government-approved magazine, Pravda, releases an issue on the third page of the magazine titled “Muddle Instead of Music,” talking about my opera negatively.
November 21st, 1937: My fifth symphony is premiered in Leningrad, and it received an ovation that lasted over half an hour.
March 5th, 1942: My seventh symphony (the most popular one, titled “Leningrad”) premiered in the city of Kuybyshev (now known as Samara).
August 9th, 1975: After many composition releases, I die in 1975.
I have received many awards throughout my lifetime, and even one after. Here is a list of all the awards I have received:
Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1940)
Stalin Prize (1941)
Stalin Prize (1942)
Stalin Prize (1946)
Order of Lenin (1946)
People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1948)
Stalin Prize (1950)
Stalin Prize (1952)
People’s Artist of the USSR (1954)
International Peace Prize (1954)
Order of Lenin (1956)
Lenin Prize (1958)
Wihuri Sibelius Price (1958)
Member of the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium (1960)
Hero of Socialist Labour (1966)
Order of Lenin (1966)
Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society (1966)
USSR State Prize (1968)
Order of the October Revolution (1971)
Léonie Sonning Music Price (1973)
Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR (1974)
Shevchenko National Prize (1976 (posthumously))
Besides these awards, I am also known for my repertoire of orchestral music, which includes 15 symphonies and 6 concerti, of which many were written under the government limitations of Soviet art.
A Tribute Piece to Myself
I wrote a short piece to commemorate my life. In it, I use my signature motif, DSCH. You can hear this motif in the first four notes of the piece. Here is the score for the piece, and below is my piece played by a computer.
This is the only part of my Learning Center that is outside the point of view of my Eminent person.
I held an interview with Mr. Trovato, the music teacher at my school, and talked to him about how composers compose music. The truth is that different composers compose music in different ways. “Some people hear a melody they like, some people take a walk and hear a bird singing and that inspires them, it’s different for everybody.” After this interview, I decided to think of ways that I could come up with a melody that I could write a whole piece about. I had to keep in mind that I needed to represent Shostakovich in some way in the piece, so I experimented with different melodies until I was reminded of his signature motif, DSCH. You can hear the motif in the main theme of the piece I composed. Before conducting the interview, I had a lot of trouble thinking of who to email since my Eminent person, Shostakovich, is not very well-known outside of the classical music community. Even then, he is not nearly as popular compared to composers like Mozart and Schubert. So, for the majority of the time, I was stuck trying to find someone who could fit the criteria as an interviewee. However, I soon realized that the person to interview did not have to be incredibly fancy, like a foundation. I then simplified what I could ask the interviewee to “how different people compose music”, as that is directly related to what I decided to do for my learning center: To compose a piece of music. So, I interviewed a person much closer to me than where I imagined: My school’s music teacher.
After interviewing Mr. Trovato, I felt relieved that the interview did not have to be such a stressful idea, and that had given me the perfect boost to my “morale” that I had needed. I was then ready to start experimenting with different ideas and what the main theme of my composition could be. A few days later, I was experimenting on the piano that I have at home with my mom watching TV and my dad playing on a Persian instrument, a setar, until I remembered the DSCH motif that I hear so frequently in Shostakovich’s music. Not only did this motif appear so much in his music, but Shostakovich was also generally known for his quotations in music. After experimenting a bit with what could be done with both the left hand and right hand on the piano, I knew that this would be the motif to use for my piece. Soon enough, I had opened a document on MuseScore 3 and started composing.
If I had not interviewed Mr. Trovato, I would not have known to experiment with different themes and melodies to come up with the perfect one to use. I would now like to thank Mr. Trovato for being my interviewee on such short notice over email, and my friends for helping to look over various parts of my Eminent project (speech and musical piece for examples).
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, November 22). Dmitri Shostakovich. Wikipedia. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Shostakovich.
The Wikipedia page for Shostakovich is detailed, to say the least. From it, one can learn a lot about various aspects of his life, ranging from general information to awards and notable works from him, and that is exactly the type of information that I plan on using from this page. The thing about Wikipedia pages is that they can be edited by any party, meaning that multiple parties have contributed to it. Not only that, but considering that Shostakovich is now long dead, I suspect that a lot of information has been gathered about him and that many people have found out what information is correct and what information is not.
Brown, D. (2021, September 21). Dmitri Shostakovich. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dmitri-Shostakovich.
Britannica is also another source of information that never fails to provide useful information if Wikipedia is not to be trusted. The Britannica site for Shostakovich covers much the same topics and assures one if the information that they have gathered from another site is correct. That is exactly what I used this Britannica site for.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, June 1). Muddle instead of music. Wikipedia. Retrieved November 27, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muddle_Instead_of_Music.
The Wikipedia page above covers the Pravda issue about Shostakovich’s opera, Lady Macbeth. I used this source for part of the timeline of Shostakovich’s life, and I think that this page once again is reliable like other Wikipedia pages because of their ability to be contributed to by any parties.
Dmitri Shostakovich. Preceden. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2021, from https://www.preceden.com/timelines/310245-dmitri-shostakovich.
This website presents the events of Shostakovich’s life in a neat, clean, understandable way. I used this website for exactly that: The timeline. I have also skimmed through other sites and found that the majority of the information on this site is correct, so I have come to the conclusion that that site is credible.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, November 24). Symphony No. 7 (Shostakovich). Wikipedia. Retrieved November 28, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._7_(Shostakovich).
Finally, this is the Wikipedia page for Shostakovich’s seventh symphony, the Leningrad, his most popular symphony. This source is credible for the same reason as the other Wikipedia pages I have used, and I have used this source for exactly what you may think: For information about his seventh symphony.
As part of my final assignment for the Eminent Project this year, I was asked to conduct an interview with an expert or someone knowledgeable on the history of my eminent person. However, I couldn’t secure an interview in the end, with no response from any of those I reached out to. In this blog post, I will reflect on the steps I took to get an interview, why I couldn’t get one, and what I could’ve done differently in the future to secure one. So, the first step I took to get an interview was to do some research on who I could reach out to for my interview. The first obvious choices that came to mind were Frank Lloyd Wright’s foundations and committees, specifically the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Fallingwater Advisory Committee. I got to work creating email drafts to send to both of them, making sure to personalize each email to its recipient. After finalizing and sending the emails, I patiently waited for a few weeks, with the lack of response growing more worrisome by the day. At some point, I realized that I couldn’t wait for their response any longer and decided to find another expert regarding Frank Lloyd Wright I could contact. This time, I decided to go onto the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture website’s faculty page, where I did some research on the professors. I eventually found a few professors that are very knowledgeable on the history of architecture, with a few possessing expertise in specifically the history of American architecture. I chose the one that I thought would suit the nature of my interview the best, and went through the process of drafting, finalizing, and sending an email to the professor. However, the professor also ended up not responding to my interview request as well, which is unfortunate because the professor’s expertise on Frank Lloyd Wright would’ve made for such a great interview. By the time I realized that the professor wouldn’t be responding to me as well, it was a bit late to send out another request. With this, I decided to give up in my attempts to conduct an interview.
As hindsight is 20/20, looking back, what could I have done differently to up my chances of securing an interview? For starters, I could’ve perhaps chosen people that were more likely to have time to participate in an interview, instead of someone like a professor that is most likely already very busy with their job. Someone like a YouTuber or blogger that had knowledge of Wright would probably have more time and flexibility to participate in my interview. Another way I could’ve gotten an interview is by choosing an eminent person that was world-famous so that I would have a wider array of people that I could request for an interview with.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get an interview for my eminent person this year. I did, however, get an interview for my pervious eminent person this year before I changed, so this really changed and helped me make up for not getting an interview.
I think that first of all, I should’ve been more open-minded when looking for a person to interview. I tunnel visioned on people who were close with my eminent person and didn’t think about reaching out to someone who maybe wrote a few articles or blog posts about him. It was only after the due date for getting an interview when I found someone on the Alpinist blog site who had written many many great posts on Marc Andre. Part of the problem with tunnel visioning on these people was that they were really hard to get a hold of and required a bit more work to contact. Not only this but I was also so nervous about reaching out to people that it took a lot of convincing to get myself to send emails. If I ever have to reach out to people for interviews, I will definitely be more open-minded and hopefully confident.
However, as I mentioned before, I was able to get a better view on what the interview gave insight on with my previous eminent person. I was doing Louisa May Alcott before Marc-Andre and I did an interview with a professor from Kansas State University who studies Alcott’s work. I was so nervous for the interview and had originally just wanted to get it over with, but as I did the interview and reflected on it later on, I realized just how valuable the interview was. Talking with someone about something they’re passionate about is really inspiring and makes you more interested in that person. He was really interested and genuine in his love for Alcott’s books and message that it inspired me as well.
With this in mind, I had a better idea of what I had to do to make up for not having and interview for Leclerc. I know that I needed to get a view of him through the eyes of people who knew him, were inspired by him or were apart of his life. I went looking for a lot of resources where there were people talking and giving their opinions of what kind of a person he was like. People like his close friends and girlfriend were really helpful in this. I also looked for more videos of him and about him. I found that I was able to learn a lot more about a person when watching them interact and talk than I could on a few words on paper. One really big resource to me was the documentary, The Alpinist. In the documentary, not only do they talk about his accomplishments, but also his impact on other people, his personal life and countless interviews with other famous mountaineers about Marc-Andre. I found that out of anything I connected most with him through watching the documentary.
A pint of example is equal to a gallon of advice. This concept is essentially explaining how it is infinitely more helpful to lead by example than it is to give basic directions. A good way to think of it is playing a new board game for the first time. I know for me personally; I find it easier to play a “practice round” where I can learn the ins and outs of the board game in a real scenario similar to a real round. This exact same point swings back to our original concept, except in our case it relates to leadership. I think it is important to know this concept as a leader because for numerous people (myself included), it is incredibly easier to learn by watching someone do something than it is to learn when someone just tells you vaguely what to do. When planning adventure trips this year, it is important for grade tens to remember this because we need to give examples to grade nines. Last year the grade tens would show us their past go-gear lists, and how to make them so we could understand the most clearly. I found this extremely helpful so I’m going to try and use this concept this year with the current grade nines.
It is easier to teach what is right than to DO what is right.
Sometimes as leaders, we take the easy route. Who wouldn’t? However, the think to remember is that in all scenarios, it is easier to teach what is right than to DO what is right. This means that when you are teaching anyone how to do something, remember to show them how to do what is right. This includes but is not limited to, leading by example. Leading by example is a great way to show learners what is right and what is wrong. Another effective way of teaching this is to teach the kind of leadership that you as a leader use. This will give learners a representation of what it will look like in the real world, and they will begin to imitate it. This point is important to me because I personally find it easier to mimic someone’s behaviour when it comes to leadership. I found that when we were planning for the adventure trips and leadership projects last year that I started to lead how I saw the grade tens leading. I saw the things they did that were effective, and the things they did that did not seem to work for them. I took those observations into mind and was able to create my own leadership style based off of those. This will be useful when planning for adventure trips this year because it is the biggest opportunity the grade nines have where they get to really develop how their leadership style is. It gives them a chance to grow as leaders.
The Tour Guide Leader.
The tour guide leader takes people to their destination, rather than the travel guide leaders who send people to their destination. This is a metaphor that represents how a helpful leader will not only show people what to do but will be with them throughout that process. This way leaders can give advice and knowledge to learners as the event is happening. This is important to me because I know the feeling of essentially being pushed into something where it is such a new environment, without any previous knowledge of what its like. During the planning for leadership projects last year, the grade tens did not really give us enough information about what we would need to do or know while we were indeed on those trips. This caused a lot of confusion for myself and my fellow grade nines because for the most part we had no idea of what we were supposed to be doing. Regarding adventure trips, it is essential that my peers and I, as grade tens, be tour guide leaders for the grade nines (to the best of our ability and knowledge), because it is very important that they do know what to do during any TALONS events. Whether it is leading a group of people, or knowing how to pitch a tent, no learner should be on the trips without properly knowing what to do. It could lead to things like serious injuries, or people getting lost.