Clarinet 101: My Experience in Middle School Band

In sixth grade, I was required to take band class, where I could choose one of six wind instruments. A wind instrument is an instrument that you blow into to create music. I had heard good things from my associates about the clarinet, so I decided to give it a try. I learned the basics and played songs like Pirate’s Cave, This Old Man, and Olé. I ended up loving the item and I am here to share my experience with you! This guide will help you learn how to take care of a clarinet, how to make sounds on it, and even basic notes.

Like the image above, the clarinet is a wind instrument with a long body with holes evenly spaced throughout its length. By covering these holes, you can make sounds on the instrument. In a standard clarinet case, you will have a mouthpiece, barrel, and a small wooden stick. This stick is called a reed, and is integral to the construction of the clarinet.

A reed (like the picture above) is a small wooden stick, thicker on one end than the other. This part fits adjacent to the mouthpiece, and it comes with a metal ring to hold it in place. Make sure the skinnier end is what you will be blowing into. To make a sound, start by covering your bottom teeth with your bottom lip. Then put the mouthpiece in your mouth, while being careful that it does not protrude too far in, for it will make a squeaking noise as a result. Blow hard but steady into the mouthpiece without covering any holes, while stretching your jaw muscles. The result should be a high sound, which is actually the note G. Make sure to replace your reeds every couple of weeks, because they will break and impede your progress with the instrument. 

The next thing to learn on the clarinet is finger placement, by following the photo above. Place your left thumb on the hole on the bottom of the instrument. Obviously, this is the only hole on that side of the clarinet, so this step is fairly easy. Then place your pointer, middle, and ring fingers on the three holes on the top. Your left pinky will not be pressing any holes for now. The right thumb will go on the bottom, on the finger rest. This rest shall stick out from the main instrument and provide a socket to hold your thumb, which will provide purchase and stability to hold the clarinet. Finally, place your final four fingers exactly like the left hand, but on the three other holes. You will want to keep your fingers close to the holes but not covering them, unless you are using them to play a note.






Now that fingering and the reed have been covered, the only thing left to teach is a few basic notes. The chart below details the placement of a couple of notes. G is simple- no fingers on the holes. F is a little harder, with your left thumb covering the hole on the bottom. Make sure to put the meaty parts of your fingers over the holes, to prevent squeaking while playing. The final note in this post is E, which is your left thumb and pointer covering holes. 

I have loved getting to partake in a band class and learn an instrument. Hopefully this post has inspired you to look into the art of music Continue reading

My Ideal World: Aeryworld

If I could choose an ideal planet to live on, I would want it to be a huge metropolis, like Coruscant in Star Wars. This planet is called Aeryworld, and the capital city in Aeryworld is called Mytopia. One of the best things about Aeryworld is that everyone is immortal, and you can decide when you want to stop aging. To solve the problem of overpopulation, the planet expands to accommodate the extra people.

Aeryworld is an ever-expanding planet in an infinite extra dimensional space. Everyone is united under one faction, and the planet acts as a direct democracy. The center of Aeryworld is maintained by the government, which I will explain later, but the world is more unkempt as you get farther away from the center.

The people who live in Aeryworld are a vast array of humans and animals. Treating someone badly because of their gender, race, disabilities, and differences is unheard of. The animals on Aeryworld are not harmful, but otherwise act like they do on Earth. The only animals that are different are Metallics, a species of robotic animals that roam the biomes of Aeryworld. Because Aeryworld is a huge expanse, every person is equipped with a bracelet that they can use to teleport anywhere on the planet. The only exception to this is secret areas sealed off to the outside world.

World expansion is a huge thing, so it is controlled by a supercomputer that acts as the planet’s core. Inside this computer is a large set of algorithms that randomly generate biomes and structures that fill this rapidly expanding world (sort of like the algorithm that creates the world in the video game Minecraft). The original biomes and structures are chosen by me, the creator of the planet, but there is a yearly vote for new stuff to be added to the algorithm. These places are quickly inhabited by new people that shape the culture of the place. This supercomputer also controls many satellites that orbit the planet and can observe large parts of the world and report them back to me and the central government.

The government in Aeryworld is essentially a direct democracy, but there is a pantheon of robots that were created by the supercomputer at the planet’s core. Their only purpose is to enforce the law and do not have a direct say in the government, because everyone votes on everything. These robots are ultimately controlled by me, but there is a certain set of laws ingrained into them that even I cannot access. These laws protect me from turning against the world and committing evil acts, because I have all the power.

Because everyone in Aeryworld is immortal, there is a need to have infinite forms of entertainment. Every book in Aeryworld is a portal into a world that the story takes place in. Every time a group of people enter the book, it opens up a new world in the multiverse, so that lots of people cannot take over a single story and it becomes too crowded. People that originate in the story cannot exit the world, and they act exactly like they would in the book. This is also a great way to take care of people you want off the planet- you can kick them into a story and then lock up the book in a safe! These containment books are surprisingly very fun and enjoyable, so the bad people will want to stay there and never come back to the surface world!

The main mode of transportation on Aeryworld is the teleportation bracelets, but there are also flying cars to expedite a journey. The main food on Aeryworld is a substance called aceloaf. When eaten, the user can decide aceloaf’s taste, smell, and texture. The monetary unit is a coin called captchaxx, and it is stored in bags of holding, a purse that leads to an extra dimensional space. Most people in Aeryworld are very rich, but there are some exceptions.

You might be wondering where I would be in my ideal world. Even though I technically have complete power over the planet, I would live my life undercover as a regular person. I would get to interact with all my family and friends, who I would bring with me to Aeryworld. That is my ideal world to live in!

Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences

I am the kid in the right with the glasses, next to the dinosaur. Taken by a DA teacher.







In January my school took a field trip to the Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences. This museum is an awesome way to learn about natural science and appreciate the environment. The museum is huge, and I only got to explore part of it, but I loved what I saw of it. Here is my record of the trip!

The buses were very large and comfortable. The whole grade of about 100 students were divided into two buses and we were transported to the museum. The entire ride to Raleigh was 40 minutes, and the journey was filled with excitement and comfort. I got to sit next to my best friend and my classmates sang a vast repertoire of songs from social media and our history as a school. My favorite was 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, but we only got down to 35 before we arrived. The ride had been enjoyable, but I was ready to enter the destination.

I have always been a fan of museums, and the Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences did not let me down. I believe that the museum is seven floors, but my class only got to explore half of them. For safety, our advisory was paired up with another advisory, and we each got to choose a partner who we would stick with for the rest of the trip. I chose one of my best friends, and I was glad that I had people to talk to about the museum and its amenities.

The first floor was all about ocean and aerial life, with exhibits ranging from the life of sea turtle young to the great snowy owl. My favorite was the model of the RMS Titanic. The second floor started with a bang – a vast array of whale skeletons! This floor was about different habitats and biomes. Overall, I enjoyed this more than the first, but it was still not perfect. The third was when it really took off!

The third floor discusses weather patterns and meteorology, and how climate change and pollution can change the environment. Having learned about some of this in 5th grade, I was familiar with the concept and fit in. The fourth an final floor that we got to see focused mainly on the concept of race, but there were other smaller side topics. This exhibition discussed the beginning of the term race and how this made-up term changes the everyday lives of workers and civilians. This was my favorite floor and a great way to end the field trip.

As a conclusion, I would definitely recommend this museum to museum-lovers like me. Check out the race exhibit for sure, and do not forget the dinosaurs!

The Star Wars Movies: Ranked

One of my favorite movie sagas is Star Wars. I got into it the moment I started watching, and I am still a big fan of the series. There are eleven Star Wars movies (If you count Rogue One and Solo) and many different shows. The Star Wars movies are the first things that I watched, and some of them are better than others. In this post, I will rank the 11 movies from favorite to least favorite. I was not born in the 20th century, so I do not have a huge affinity toward the original trilogy, if you are wondering while reading through.

#11: The Phantom Menace

This is by far the worst movie out of the saga. I probably have only watched it two times (Compared to watching the other ones five times each) and I even struggled remembering the title of it when writing this post. The plot has a lot of faults, including why they needed a treaty with the Trade Federation in the first place, which is the event that sets forward everything else in the story. Darth Maul is the main villain, but he only has three lines in the whole movie! George Lucas tried to add some slapstick comedy by introducing Jar Jar Binks, but he does not do anything except slip and fall the entire movie and the comedy is terrible! This also is a very bad way to start off a new trilogy, the prequels, which is my least favorite trilogy anyway! If you are planning on watching Star Wars, do not watch this movie first.

#10: A New Hope

This is the most controversial movie to put as second-last on my list, because it was the very first Star Wars movie in the first place. Admittedly, I did really enjoy this when I first watched it, but it did not hold up (Being made in 1977) with some of the newer ones. The technology is sort of bad (But it was awesome in 1977) and I actually found it quite boring to watch. The overall plot and hooks are great though.

#9: Empire Strikes Back

The reasons why I put Empire Strikes Back so low on the list are very similar to what I put for A New Hope. The technology isn’t so great, and some of the settings are not created very well. There are some awesome moments in this movie, like when Luke trains with Yoda.

#8: The Rise of Skywalker

This movie wraps up the whole saga, but does not do it very well. I was disappointed because I thought it would be as good as The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi. There were a lot of loose ends that did not get tied up at the end of the story, and I think that it was influenced way too much by fans’ decisions.  This is still a good movie, but there are some parts that can be confusing even for die-hard Star Wars geeks.

#7: Attack of the Clones

This prequel has a lot of exciting moments, but it fell short with some acting flops and too much CGI. The love between Anakin and Padme is poorly written. Even though thousands of clones are shown on screen, not a single clone costume was made because of CGI. Even though the CGI allowed for some pretty great effects, it felt fake on screen. I do love the battle of Geonosis, and some of the other fights in this movie.

#6: Revenge of the Sith

This is the turning point from mostly bad review being displayed to mostly good. This is by far the best out of the prequel movies. Throughout, you see Anakin facing his fears and slowly turning to the Dark Side, until the final showdown with Obi-Wan that leads to him being remade as Darth Vader. This movie is sort of dark (Which I like) but it is executed well. It is still chock-full with political nonsense, if I had to say something bad about the movie.

#5: Return of the Jedi

I found this movie to be very fun and funnier than most of the other movies. Jabba is always sort of funny on screen, and the Ewoks were very cute and cuddly for a Star Wars species. It ends with the Death Star 2 getting blown up, and the Emperor and Darth Vader destroyed. Some of the Jabba’s palace dancing scenes are very sus but overall the rest of the movie is very well made.

#4: Rogue One

Although this is not technically part of the saga (It does not have the signature title crawl at the very beginning) it is one of my favorite Star Wars movies. It tells the story of how the Rebellion got the Death Star plans, and there are a lot of really cool scenes. My favorite scenes were when the two Star Destroyers collided, and when Darth Vader tried to retrieve the plans at the very end of the movie. There are actually only two characters in this movie that appear in another Star Wars movie (Darth Vader and Leia, the latter has only one line in the movie) and the eight characters who appear in the movie the most all are killed in the end, but it is handled really well. I would not recommend this one for someone who does not like a sad story. Also, I would rate this as the most diverse out of all the Star Wars movies.

#3: The Force Awakens

Being the first movie to kick off the new trilogy, I was immediately hooked the moment I started the film. The main characters are portrayed much better than the characters in either of the other trilogies, and the humor is less forced and comes naturally. I realized that the film has a lot of similarities to A New Hope (There is a droid who is carrying an important document that is found by a teen who lives in a desert planet, the bad guys are creating a planet-destroying super weapon, and a rebel gets rescued from the Empire) it does not feel old at all. I was also surprised that they killed off Han Solo at the end of the movie, because he was a fan-favorite. Overall, I think that it was a good decision.

#2: Solo

This is also one of the more controversial placing on this list, because of many reasons. For starters, Harrison Ford does not play Han in this movie, but I think the new actor did a great job with the role. This movie is Han’s backstory, and I absolutely love some of the choices that they made with the film. The ingenuity of the characters really makes you root for them, and the fight sequences and environments are very cool. The characters are very funny (Like Rio and L3) and are fun to watch. I would recommend this to any form of Star Wars fan.

#1: The Last Jedi

This movie is an awesome spin on the Star Wars saga. This is the second movie in the new trilogy, and it starts off with a bang with a dogfight with a super star  destroyer. The movie keeps up the pace for the whole two hours and thirty minutes, only slowing down when it switches to the scenes of Rey on Ahch-To. I have heard bad things about Luke turning out to be stagnant and not the hero he was expected to be, I think it is a fun and realistic take on such a far-fetched movie like Star Wars. The scenes on Canto Bight share opinons about racing, mistreatment of animals, and casinos that I agree with. Kylo and Rey’s growing bond strengthens, and gets very tense when Snoke and his star destroyer are destroyed near the end of the movie. The movie also ends with a bang, and much to look forward to in the next one, which I was ultimately let down by.

And that is the end of my rating of the saga. Hopefully this will help you decide which Star Wars movie to watch next!

Guide to Character Creation

Hello Again! I have gotten a lot of questions on how to do a very essential thing in D&D- character creation. Creating a character lays the foundation for an epic journey as a player, and this guide will show you the steps on how to create your own. It took me a long time to create my first, but with practice you will become an expert!

To create a character, you will need either the Player’s Handbook, or D&D Beyond. I will be modeling mine off of the Player’s Handbook, but D&D Beyond is equally easy to use. You will also need a character sheet like the one below. It is a good idea to print one out, because you will have to change things quickly over the course of an adventure.


D&D character sheet:

Continue reading

Brotherband: A Window Book

For the past week I have been reading Brotherband: The Outcasts by John Flanagan. It is a companion series to the series Ranger’s Apprentice, so I would recommend reading Ranger’s Apprentice first before you read Brotherband.

Brotherband is about a group of outcasts in Skandia, a seafaring district in the medieval world that Ranger’s Apprentice is based in. The world is actually based off of medieval Europe, and Skandia is where Scandinavia would be on a map of Europe. The main character is Hal, who is an outcast because his father is dead and his mother is a former slave. He is a very skilled navigator and shipbuilder, and is drafted into a set of Skandian groups called Brotherbands, who train in the Skandian arts of war and navigation. His Brotherband is made up of all the outcasts like him, and he makes friends and enemies as he tries to overcome the challenges of being different and competing with others in trials.

Although I really love this book, it is a window book for me for many reasons. For example, the setting is in medieval times and many of the technologies and ways of living life are not what I use today. Also, there is nothing that has ever really set me apart from other people my age, unlike the main character. Finally, a lot of the shipbuilding and war formation terms are new to me, but I enjoy learning about them.

I would definitely recommend Brotherband to any reader who is looking for something good to read. The books are long, about 400-500 pages, but a competent reader should be able to read it with no trouble. Although this is a window book for me, there are a lot of characters that would appeal and be similar to a large number of people. Be sure to keep reading!

Book Poem

For my 6th grade I created a book poem using the titles on spines of different books. This is a fun activity that would be fun to try if you are bored. I hope you like my (Somewhat dark) poem!

A Grimm warning

The dark secret

The throne of fire

The burning maze

Once upon a word

Dungeons and Dragons

One of my favorite hobbies is playing Dungeons and Dragons. If you have not played Dungeons and Dragons (or D&D for short) it is a board game where you play as characters exploring a fantasy world and going on adventures.

When I first started playing D&D, I was very confused because there are a ton of rules and not all of them you have to follow. This post is aimed toward people just starting to play D&D, and I will explain some of the many confusing things about this great role-playing game.

The first thing that you have to understand is that in a typical D&D game, there is one Dungeon Master (DM) and 3-6 regular players. The Dungeon Master is the most important role in the game- they create the entire story and everything that will happen in it. For example, the Dungeon Master could say, “You walk across the bridge toward the castle. You soon see two goblins staring down at you, and they pull out their bows and shout ‘Halt!’”. Then the players might want to fight the goblins, or they might want to bargain with them, or something different altogether. The DM will have to adapt the story to fit what the players say.

The second thing to know is that D&D is a sandbox game where you can do or say whatever you want- even things that could be very unorthodox! Never feel obliged to always do what other people are doing or always stick to the same strategies! 

The final thing to know about playing D&D is that some groups tend to like to play on a board, while others prefer to play just with imagination. I tend to like to play with a board for combat sequences, when movement really matters, but use my imagination for role playing.

Examples of D&D boards

The Books

After you get the basic idea what the game is about, you might think, “Where should I go from here?”. There are two sets that are an easy way to get into the game, Lost Mines of Phandelver and Dragon of Icespire Peak (Pictures below). Both of these sets come with dice, character sheets, maps, a rule book to explain the rules in more detail, and an adventure booklet that gives an outline of an adventure that the DM can prepare and use. 

These sets cost about 20-30 dollars, but these are definitely worth the cost! I personally recommend Lost Mines of Phandelver, because it comes with more dice, the directions are more helpful, and the story is more streamlined and enjoyable. Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns D&D, is coming out with a new starter set that I have not previewed, but I am interested about it and it might show up in one of my later posts!


After the starter sets, you will probably need more books if you want to continue playing D&D. The three most important are the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual. These are essential to playing DND after the starter sets. They are priced at about 40 dollars apiece, but I also think that these will be worth the money if you are a huge D&D fan.

Player’s Handbook: The Player’s Handbook is a great guide for players and DMs. It shows all the spells, characters, and items that are in the game. 


DM’s Guide: This book can be fun for players, but it is made mostly for DMs, hence the name. In here you will find tons of ideas and tips about how to run a game, how to make interesting characters for your players to interact with, and how to become a master at the rules of D&D.


Monster Manual: The Monster Manual is a must-have for all DMs, because inside you will find stats for over 300 monsters that you can use in your D&D game! As a DM you would be helpless without this book, but players will find nothing very essential for them to learn in this book.


There are lots of other published D&D books, but purchasing those can be up to you and how much time you want to spend on this hobby.



There are many websites that can really help you understand D&D. Two that I would definitely recommend are D&D Beyond and Longo. D&D beyond gives you stats for all your characters and items you could create, and it also has stats for every monster. Longo is a less well-known site, but I enjoy it even more than D&D Beyond. In it you will find everything that D&D beyond has to offer, in addition to most of the D&D books that you otherwise would have spent hundreds of dollars on to get, for free!


One final channel that I would recommend is Critical Role. Critical Role is a channel about a group of voice actors who meet up every week to play D&D. This channel is great if you want to know more about how a D&D game works, or if you are a die-hard fan that wants to expand your horizons. You can find this on YouTube, but it is also available as a podcast. The only thing about Critical Role is that it has a lot of language, so I would not recommend watching it if you do not want to listen to any harsh language.



Overall, D&D is a great game that you should definitely try if you have extra time. I would recommend it for ages 10 and up, because some of the pictures in the books can be frightening to younger kids, and the rules can be really confusing for someone younger. I will continue to post about D&D soon, and I hope that you keep reading my posts!

My Stop Motion Tale

My friend Holland and I both love stop motion, and we decided to make a short stop motion film together. Stop Motion is how you make movies by taking a lot of pictures with small changes each time to create a film. It is a great and simple way to get into film-making without it being too complicated

This film is called The Red and Blue Coat, and it is a short tale from Northern Africa. The Red and Blue Coat is a story about two best friends who are tricked into arguing about the color of a man’s coat. We also added some changes to it too. I added the link to this video below so that you can that you can watch it!

This was a project for our school, Durham Academy. We had the choice to do any wisdom tale we could (wisdom tales are collections of short stories from around the world) but Holland and I decided to go with The Red And Blue Coat because we thought it stood out.

Click this link below to see the stop motion movie~




Over the summer I visited Monticello with my dad, grandmother, and grandpa! Monticello is where Thomas Jefferson lived in Virginia. It was a three-hour drive, and we got there right before lunch. Before visiting his house, we stopped at a junction to eat lunch and watch a movie about Jefferson. Then finally, we were able to take a bus ride up to his house.

We stayed at Monticello for about three hours, taking the house tour and the slavery tour. Even though Thomas Jefferson clearly had good design skills, he owned over  400 slaves in his life, and only seven of them were let free. My grandparents, who had taken the tour of the house a couple years ago, told me that when they went, the slavery issue at Monticello was rarely mentioned, and it did not have it’s own tour. This was surprising to me that it had not been mentioned for so long.

After touring his house and learning lots of facts about Jefferson: for example, did you know that he was in over two million dollars of debt when he died? My family and I went to our hotel to stay the night. The next day we walked around the University of Virginia, which Jefferson had also built. Finally, near lunchtime, we packed our bags and headed back home. This trip was really fun, and it also had some good things to learn about, such as how Jefferson’s slaves were treated. Monticello is an awesome place to go if you are looking to travel.