Welcome!

Whether you're a current AMPD student at York University or hope to become one, this blog is for you! All of the content you will find here is written by AMPD's Student Ambassadors and Mentors (SAMs), upper-year students in each of our seven programs.

Do you have an idea for the blog, or an upcoming event you want covered? Send us a message through our 'Contact Us' page, and we'll be happy to set something up with you.

Check out the latest content below, or click on a program heading above to see what's going on in your area of AMPD!

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Interview With First-Year Theatre Student Yu Liang – Part 2

Fourth-year Theatre student Alex Colle sat down with Yu Liang, a first-year International student from China currently studying Theatre at York. This interview is the second in a two-part series.

ALEX: When you came to York, what did you apply for?
YU: Theatre, Dance, and Visual Arts.

ALEX: What was that process like?
YU: I still feel it’s amazing. When I applied, I just wanted to apply to a school that could teach me performance theatre. Then I saw York had theatre, had dance, had art, and had film! When I came to Canada, nobody told me about the arts school at York. Read More

The Breathing Gym with Sam Pilafian

Written by Emilio Bernardo-Ciddio


From February 16th to 19th, the Hannaford Street Silver Band (HSSB) hosted their annual Festival of Brass, a Toronto-wide event that includes a plethora of masterclasses, performances, and workshops. Each year, guest performers or conductors are featured. In the 2017 edition of the event, the HSSB invited the renowned Boston Brass Quintet to participate in the events. On February 18th, the tuba player for the group, Sam Pilafian, gave a workshop on his famous Breathing Gym method. Read More

Top 4 Free App Recommendations For Dancers

Written by Jessica Ortaleza

Need to get organized? Want to loop or replay a specific part of a song? Looking to create dynamic formations, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that. Read More

Interview With First-Year Theatre Student Yu Liang – Part 1

Fourth-year Theatre student Alex Colle sat down with Yu Liang, a first-year International student from China currently studying Theatre at York. This interview is the first in a two-part series.

ALEX: Tell me a bit about your life before you came to Canada.
YU: In China I graduated from engineering. I graduated at 22 years year old, worked for 3 years, and then I quit. I have a double degree with business administration and I found a very good company. The job was very good for young people. I was the assistant for the boss. The salary was good. But nearly a whole year I didn’t smile. It’s like I was using my life to exchange money. After ten years I knew I could become a manager – a very high manager. You put your life in that industry. Several years later I would have been in a higher position. But there are no valuable skills. I can only use 30% of my energy in my work. The rest – 70% of my energy is towards my relationship with people. That’s kind of wasting time. I didn’t feel like I had a relationship with my work. My work was program manager, and later I became the marketing manager. But I felt that work was far away from me.

In 2015 I went to attend a workshop that was held by a NGO. There I met lots of very interesting people. There were some people who were doing social work for rights for women, for workers, for homosexual people. And some were doing performance arts in a museum, showing some ideas to journalists and photographers. Just seven days. But I felt like I could smile again. I could laugh again. In just seven days I felt I grew up hugely. Some days I even got experience and the improvements as equal as when I did my job. Equal to one year’s experience. If I do the things I like, I will grow up very fast. Much faster than with something I don’t like.


ALEX: I understand that you put up your own play in China. What was it about theatre that spoke to you?
YU: I’m very proud of that. I brought up a period of torment and then I decided to write a story depicting my life. That was the first script in my university experience written by a student and put on stage talking about homosexual boys’ experiences. The growing up experience. When I showed the script to my fellow actors, they had a very, very confused feeling. Some people don’t want to touch this topic. But later, those members in the group grew up a lot. So I think it was quite educational. Read More

A Look Into SENIOR PROJECTS

Written by Dakota Stevenson

As a dance major in your final year at York University, you have to take a course called Senior Projects or complete an Independent Studies course.

Senior Projects is a course where students develop one project or a series of self-directed, linked projects, which may consist of research or field studies on a topic of interest (theoretical or creative) leading to a major piece of writing, a performance, an internship, or some combination of these activities.

Independent Studies is a course where students develop one project or a series of linked, self-directed research projects, which may consist of research on a topic of interest (theoretical or creative) leading to a major piece of writing, thesis, or series of essays.

A few of the students in the Senior Projects class now are working on ideas such as: Read More

MUSICIAN APP RECOMMENDATIONS

Written by Emilio Bernardo-Ciddio

TEMPO ($1.39) – Developed by Frozen Ape. Every musician needs a metronome app, and Tempo is simple, user-friendly, allows for sub division and set-lists programming, and is very reliable.

TIME GURU ($2.79) – Developed by Avi Bortnick. Time Guru creates gaps in the beat to help train your inner pulse. For example, if you have the metronome set to 4/4 time, the metronome will randomly mute one of the beats every measure. You can choose how frequently beats are muted(in percentage), and you can also set the app to mute more beats over time. This app is excellent for improving your time and inner pulse, and promotes having a constant groove.

DRUM SCHOOL ($7.99) – Developed by Ferenc Nemeth. This app is designed to teach percussion fundamentals and drumset skills, but it’s also perfect for training musicianship and learning to keep a constant groove. You can choose from dozens of drumming styles to play along with including, salsa, hip-hop, world music, and more.

TONAL ENERGY ($3.99) – Developed by Sonosaurus LLC. Everyone needs a tuner, and this one is our favorite. This app allows you to visualize where you fall on the intonation spectrum, it can transpose to different keys (perfect when working with transposing instruments and beginners), and you can choose different instruments to play drones in all registers. It also has a built-in metronome.

BETTER EARS ($14.29) – Developed by appsolute GmbH. Better Ears is a an ear-training app the helps improve recognitions of intervals, scales, pitches, tempos, chords, chord progressions, single notes, scale music reading, chord music reading. This app is great for the time you can’t practice but still want to train; perfect for use while traveling or commuting.

DECIBEL METER PRO ($1.39) – Developed by Performance Audio. Decibel Meter Pro is an app that helps track your sound output.

TUNABLE ($5.49) – Developed by AffinityBlue. Tunable is a chromatic tuner, tone/chord generator, metronome, and recorder that helps you learn to play steadily, in tune, and on beat. Featuring a unique “tuning history” display for visualizing pitch over time, Tunable is the perfect toolkit for beginning to professional musicians.

CLEARTUNE ($3.99) – Developed by Bitcount Ltd. This is a simple and easy-to-use tuner and tone generator with a nice big display that is easy to read from a distance (even on your phone). It also offers a variety of pitch and temperament settings – with custom presets – which can be handy for those who frequently have to switch between modern and baroque instruments, for instance. Several readers praised its ease of use for beginner-level students.

PETERSON ISTROBOSOFT TUNER ($12.99) – Developed by Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc. This comes from a company known for its strobe tuners (said to be the most accurate and precise type of tuner). It is sensitive to a wide range of pitches (the whole range of a harp, for instance), has an input boost (iOS only) if you want to use an external mic, and also includes a noise filter (iOS only) so you can tune you, not the other folks sitting around you in orchestra. However, the strobe display may be a matter of personal taste. Some love it, while others find it to be distracting.

Sources:
http://bostonbrass.com/music-training-apps/
Android and Apple App Stores

Suzuki Training Method for Acting

Written by Ehin Gukhool

As a Theatre Studies student, I have always been interested in acting. It was a way to learn about myself by dissecting the character’s emotions and means to their actions. I would have to dig deep into my emotional memory to connect and identify with these scenes. This meant that I had to remember and look back at the fun emotions and tougher feelings of the past. From time to time, I would have to relive the painful past experiences, and tears would make their way down my face.

I had realized the importance of letting yourself feel the emotions that derive from the circumstances of life. I had to stay positive and develop skill sets to keep myself smiling. I became much more empathetic to those around me. Acting taught me how to become a more genuine person, because I had to remember and relive the pain of the past. I had gained a clarified perspective of the importance of creating fun, and good memories for the present and future. Read More

A Festival of Light and Wonder

Written by Vaiva Slapsys

If you’re not one to walk among the historic cobblestone streets of the Distillery District on a normal Saturday evening, now is definitely the time to make the trip down and explore the magic that it offers. Not only is it a beautiful place to visit every other day of the year, but from now until March 12th it has been transformed into a wonderland of light and colour that will take you away from the harsh winter winds and transport you into a place of imagination and inspiration. Read More