Monday, December 28, 2015

My Piano Recital

Last month, I played in a piano recital and performed two pieces, one by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the other by Gustave Lange.  The first piece I performed was called Turkish March and the second one is called Schelmerei.  

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer who created many gorgeous operas, concertos, symphonies, and sonatas that helped build the beautiful music of the classical era. He was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria, and was the youngest son of Leopold Mozart, a composer and instructor.  Mozart was a child prodigy and from the age of four he could play full symphonies and by age 6 he was already composing pieces and performing in Vienna and other parts of Austria. Throughout Mozart's life, he composed many pieces that were known throughout Europe and he traveled around Europe to perform his many works. Sadly, on December 5, 1791, Mozart died at age 35 from illness, leaving behind 600 compositions, including works for symphonies, the piano, and the opera. Some of these compositions are considered to be the finest works in the Classical period. One of my favorite pieces by Mozart is Ronda Alla Turka commonly known as Turkish March. This piece  imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands which was common in Europe at the time. 
Gustave Lange is a German composer born in 1830 and died in 1889.  He wrote music during the Romantic period.  The piece I played is called Schelmerei which means playfulness.  This piece is the first of six characteristics of music that he wrote. I especially enjoy playing this piece because it makes me feel happy and upbeat.  All of the sharp major notes really bring the piece to life.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Michael's First Piano Recital

In September, I had a piano concert at a church.
I first  played The Wild Horseman by Schumann. He was born in Germany during the Romantic era of music  in 1856. Robert loved books, writing, and music. When Robert was a boy, he took piano, flute, and cello lessons. Schumann married his piano teacher's daughter Clara Wieck, and they had a daughter named Marie. When Marie turned seven, Schumann gave her a birthday present of some of his songs. Later he wrote 18 pieces for young children, and 25 more pieces for older children. One of the songs he wrote was The Wild Horseman.

Next, I played Clowns by Kabalevsky. Clowns is a piece that has many staccatos and is a fun song to learn. Dmitri Kabalevsky was born in St. Petersberg, Russia on December 30, 1904. Kabalevsky was a modern composer and wrote a lot of music pieces for children including Clowns. Kabalevsky also wrote serious pieces such as symphonies, concertos, and music for the theater. He died at the age of 83 on February 18, 1987.

I was really nervous during the recital, and I was glad when it finished.  I still play these songs, and I like them very much.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Michael's Post: Labor Day Biking Marathon

This past labor day my family and I went biking at Marina Dell Ray. We went from Venice Beach to Manhattan Beach and back. We bicycled about 20 miles round trip. All six of us biked in a row, and I was first. The weather turned out to be sunny and windy. The bike ride from Venice ran along the beach so we at Manhattan Beach for a break. We had a small snack and went swimming in the ice cold ocean. 

My sisters biking to Manhattan Beach

Me eating a snack before going to the beach

My sisters having a snack

When we got back we were all very hungry and thirsty so my father took us  to Cheesecake Factory. First, we got the avocado rollls which were delicious. I always order chicken nuggets with french fries. My sister and I split the chicken nuggets and saved all the french fries for last.

At Cheesecake Factory

View of Marina Del Rey from the restaurant.

 The next day we went to Oxnard for more biking but we had to bike on the streets because there was no path on the sidewalk. It was a sunny and hot day. After we biked for along time we were all hungry and thirsty. This time instead of going to Cheesecake Factory, we went to Souplantation and got soup, pizza, and for dessert we got a chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream. We had a great time this weekend, and I hope we go biking again soon.

At Souplantation 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Synchronized Swimming

During our Maui vacation, my siblings and I worked on a synchronized dance in the pool.  This was our second summer attempting to choreograph a routine that emphasized every team members skills and was creative.  I choreographed the routine while my sister, Sarah, taught my other siblings how to do the skills.  Sarah is a gymnast so she was able to teach us some gymnastics to incorporate these skills into our routine.  We worked for the entire vacation and finally finished on the last day of our trip. Here is the video from our routine from two years ago.

Our final sunset as we leave the beautiful island of Maui
Goodbye Maui.

What did you think of our routine? 
Did we improve? 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Beach Activities in Maui

Over the past two weeks, we have been traveling the beautiful island of Maui.  There are many gorgeous beaches in Maui with white soft sand and turquoises blue water. Some beaches are good for swimming while others have large waves perfect for boogie boarding.  We did many activities at the beach such as boogie boarding, surfing, fishing, running, gymnastics, and snorkeling. Each beach was good for different activities. One of our favorite beaches was Mauna Kea located on the south side of the island as it had waves that were the right size for boogie boarding.  We had two boogie boards so my siblings and I  partnered up and rode the waves all together. At this beach, my sister practiced gymnastics and entertained the crowds with her flips.  I ran on the beach and at times, the sand sunk my feet which was hard but great exercise.
Friendly birds

Michael and dad swimming together

Boogie boarding

During the junior life-guarding program, I learned how to surf so I begged my dad to rent us a surf board. The next day, I taught my siblings how to surf and we had fun on the waves at Cove Park!  This beach is perfect for surfing as the waves roll in far away allowing you to ride the wave all the way in. We walked approximately 200 feet to the waves and the water level was only waist deep!  It was difficult at first to paddle on a wave but my sister, Sarah helped push me on to waves and I returned the favor when it was her turn.

Playing on the board

Snorkeling on the south side of the island
Another highlight of Maui was the snorkeling.  The best snorkeling spot was the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve which is located on the southern coast of Maui.  One of the things I like most about snorkeling Ahihi Kinau is that the coast line is mostly made up of lava rock intermixed with coral.    The crevices of the lave rock and coral make it the perfect place for fish and other sea life to flourish.  Many of Ahihi Kinau's most beautiful marine life make their homes in the shallow so we didn't have to swim far to see these large multicolored fish. Some of the fish that we encountered were the Yellow Tangs, Parrot Fish, 4 Spot Butterfly Fish, the Moorish Idol, Trumpet Fish, and our favorite, the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, the state fish.  Another sea animal that we commonly saw was the sea turtle.  Sea turtles are gorgeous animals as they gracefully glide through the water around fish.  As soon as we see one, we race after the turtle in hope of touching it. One evening, while swimming waste deep in the water, something pushes off my leg and I start screaming. It turns out to be a giant sea turtle! Snorkeling in Maui is always exciting as you see different fish every time.  

Michael caught a goldfish

My brother enjoyed fishing at our local pond.  My dad would take him to the pond in the evening and he would catch gold fish. Michael and my dad caught 13 fish but they were two small to eat so they let them go. 

Watching the sunset


Maui is known for its breath taking sunsets. Every evening, we would go down to our local beach and wait for the sun to wither away.  The sky turns gorgeous hues of pink, yellow, red, and orange.  The sunset is different every night but just as gorgeous. During our stay in Maui, everyone had at least one beach activity they enjoyed and that is the spectacular part about Maui. 

Gorgeous sunset

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Guest Post by Michael: Snorkeling Boat Trip

getting ready to snorkel
While in Maui we went on a boat trip. We had to wake up at 6:30 in the morning.  We were going to two islands named Molokini and Lanai. When we were on the boat they gave us our fins and snorkel masks, and they served us breakfast such as banana bread with fruit.  Maui has very good banana bread because it has more chocolate chips and the bananas are sweet and delicious. It was a 30 minute ride on a big catamaran called Ocean Voyager to Molokini.

My sisters on the boat
When we got to Molokini, there was a slide to go into the water. I was first in line to get in the water. The water felt really cold when I first went in. We all snorkeled for 30 minutes before we got out. I saw many beautiful fish. My favorite fish was the humuhumunukunukuapua'a which is the state fish. After, we were planning to go to the island Lanai. When we were going to Lanai we saw flying fish. In the middle of our boat trip, the captain said that it wasn't safe to go to Lanai because it was too windy and he rode us to a bay for more snorkeling. We didn't see that much fish but we did see 1 turtle and 4 reef shark tails. After everyone was out of the water, the kids on the boat all played around and went down the slide. I was the person that went and refilled the bucket in the ocean and poured it down on the slide to make the slide very slippery. The day was really fun even though we didn't go to Lanai.
snorkeling in the water near Molokini

Having fun on the water slide

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Junior Lifeguarding

My division warming up.
Over the summer, I have been participating in the junior lifeguard program, a program run by our local fire department. I had to wake up early every day to arrive at the beach by 8:30 every morning and stay until 11:30.  At the beach, we were divided in three age groups.  I was placed in the B group as I am 13. During our training,  we learned how to save people who may be drowning, paddle, surf, and swim in the ocean. 

Swimming in the ocean to do our buoy swims was the hardest and the scariest part.  I was always worried about stingrays, sharks, and other kinds of sea animals.  Someone in my division got stung by a stingray and had to go to the emergency room to get the stinger removed. We were running into the water to complete our buoy swim when the boy got stung. We are taught to do the stingray shuffle which is a shuffle that lets the stingray know that we are going to invade their territory  but the stingray didn't move.  I loved swimming with the dolphins as they would always put on a show for us.

I also loved to surf.  I have my own short board at home but the long boards are a lot easier to stand up on and I caught a lot of waves this summer. It was hard at first, but then I got the hang of it.  I also was allowed to tour the lifeguard tower and a lifeguard station.  We also learned how to use the cans that the lifeguard swings in the air to use if they need to save a drowning victim.   The other Junior lifeguards and I practiced saving each other. We would swim out past the surf line and pretend that we are drowning and then our teammate would practice swimming us in.  We also competed against different junior lifeguard squads form all the local beaches.  I especially did well in the running and always placed either first or second. 

On my last day, I received a Junior lifeguard badge which my Grandma sewed on one of my favorite sweaters.  I also received a certificate saying that I have finished my fourth year of junior lifeguard training.
Holding my surfboard

Lined up after our buoy swim

My sister Sarah just watching and boogie boarding

My instructor Lance and I

Friday, July 24, 2015

The 2015 Youth Track Season

Every since I was a little girl, I have been training and competing in track. Track is my favorite sport, and I train every morning and evening to prepare for meets.  My best and favorite event is the 3000 meter run which is approximately 2 miles.  On school days, I woke up at 6:30 am to run in the morning to improve my time. I ran from my home to the local high school track.  At the beginning of the season, I was one of the last in the line of competitors which was a disadvantage as I had to merge into lane one.  But as the season progressed I made my way up to the front of the line making it easier to merge into lane one. All the training paid off as I made it to Varsity, a competition that requires you to qualify under a specific time of 12:13 minutes.  I accomplished this goal with a time of 12:07 and placed 5th at the competition. This was the first of two qualifying competitions as top 8 contestants from Varsity move on to the Southern California Youth Championship to compete amongst the best girls in the Southern California.  I had to train extra hard for this competition as there were other great runners who also wanted to do well. My hard work paid off when I won 5th place again and received a green medal.

In August I will start running for the cross country season.  I have already started some training and will write a separate post at the end of the season.

What sport/activity have you worked hard to achieve your goal?