Here comes my last learning project post! I'm almost sad to be writing this... almost. Learning the ukulele has been an adventure. There have been a fair amount of frustrations and confusion with what feels like minimal success. I have discovered that for me, it is not possible to learn a full song or even memorize multiple chords. Having the initial goal to learn a full song was way off. I am now happy with only learning part of a song. I remembered that this project shouldn't be bringing me stress and that not reaching my goal is okay. I found that before feeling obligated to meet my plan I was enjoying learning the ukulele, but as the time left got shorter I became more stressed with resulted in me avoiding playing. I am a procrastinator and this class was no exception.
So here we are. I am not able to play a full song. BUT that okay. I still learnt a tremendous amount. What did I learn you ask? Well let me tell you.
... how to tune a ukulele
... what the four strings were
... I learnt how to strum multiple ways
... I learnt how to play major, minor, and seventh chords
... And most importantly, I learnt the best ways to teach myself a skill on the internet
So here it is.. my final song... well part of a song.
*hint - all these videos are different*
However the videos usually just turned out like this...
In these videos I focus on the very beginning (intro) of the song and then in other clips is the chorus. I am still really struggling with transitions between each measure. This may not seem like much to a friendly listener, but I am proud of this. I started from literally knowing nothing, besides the name of the instrument and now I can make some sort of music.
On the plus side, I do plan to continue learning how to play. One day I will be able to play all of Cigarette Daydreams and continue down my list of song suggestions. But in a much longer timeline. Learning a new skill is much harder than I thought and I am so proud of the entire #edtc300 clan for trying their best on their own learning project.
Thank you for sticking around through my musical journey. I had learned much more than I thought I would. The internet does truly have everything. However, for my own personal learning I would of benefited from some in-person instruction as well. That is my next step for continuing my own ukulele adventure to compare how I would benefit from both types of instruction. Just so happens I am very close to a musician so I have access to this one on one instruction.
Instead of my normal ukulele picture at the end of my posts I wanted to share this image from Pinterest that I absolutely loved.
I have finally began working on STEP 7 of my Learning Plan. This step is about choosing the song picked from STEP 6 and to learn how to play it. Simple enough? WRONG!
The first step I did after choosing the song was to look up what chords I had to play. I went back to the UKETABS.com website that I have used before, directly to the page with chords for Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant.
I instantly found the chords and I was quite pleased. They all seemed to be easy and within my capabilities. The basic chords I need to know are A, Bm, D, Dmaj7, Em, and G. I had never heard of the chord Dmaj7, but as I was researching more with people who have played this song there was a recommendation to use Dm instead. I found this to be mush easier for me, while still sounding the same. (But lets be honest, everything is still sounding the same to me)
I began practising these chords. The one thing I absolutely love about this site is that as you scroll down on the page, these chords stay prominent at the top. This really comes in handy when you are progressing on the song but forget where your fingers go and which chord is which.
SO this looks great, right? I should be able to play the song..... WRONG again. I need to know the strumming pattern. Here is where my biggest challenge came into play. I looked through google, but no where I could find specific strumming patterns. I was told by friends and what I read online when you don't know the pattern, to just strum how you feel and works with the music. I found that this was not a good option for me. I am still feeling unsure with my ukulele skills and having trouble hearing the tune, so I needed more.
Next I turned to YouTube. YouTube has everything, right? RIGHT. Thankfully I turned back to the good ol Ukulele Teacher and he had a tutorial of this song on his page.
After giving this video an alarming amount of views I began the attempt to play the song. I discovered that I needed to do a pattern of about 8 strums. Basically I needed to do seven strums down and one strum up.
Well now I'm nervous. Practising moving to each chord was hard enough, but now I have to strum... and quickly. Oh no. There's definitely not enough time in the class for this to work out, but I'm going to try anyways.
Here I am very slowly practising finding each chords and only few strums. This is my process of trying to learn the chords. REPETITION. So much repetition.
Stay tuned for next week where I *hopefully* can move a little faster and make the song sound some what recognizable.
Don't forget to follow #ukecandoit for my #learningproject related twitter posts
You may or may not understand and/or appreciate my joke. Sorry to disappoint, but there we be no wonderwall playing... yet!
Now that I have learnt some important chords (check out the last post) I am now moving down my learning project plan. This week I am deciding on the song I am going to teach myself how to play.
When making this very tough choice, I first decided to look on my favourite ukulele channel, The Ukulele Teacher, and see what kind of songs he has tutorials on. Along with this I did some googling about what songs were easy. Once I noticed that there were hundreds of songs that will be relatively easy to learn, I decided I wanted to choose something I would enjoy. I then thought to myself what songs I liked would be cool to learn. After days of thinking I finally figured it out.
The next best ukulele cover will be ...... Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant.
This is one of my current favourite songs. If you don't know it, you should check it out.
After I decided I wanted to learn how to play this song, I put a poll out on twitter with a few options just to see what I would get... even though I already knew I wanted to learn this song in particular.
The options I decided to include are:
- I'm Yours by Jason Mraz (ukukele cover)
- Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant (ukulele cover)
- Drunk by Ed Sheeran (ukulele cover)
- Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers (ukulele cover)
The very first person to vote on my poll chose the same song, which I thought was kind of funny and another confirmation that I should learn it.
As the poll continued, the votes were changed and my choice did not end up winning. I still found this poll to be very interesting and as a way to bring more interactions with my peers and twitter community into my #learningproject
However, I am still going to first learn Cigarette Daydreams. But now have lots of awesome songs to continue after this first song is (if ever) completed.
To check out my progress and future cover of this song - don't forget to follow #ukecandoit
Welcome back to the average ukulele show! This weeks episode I am going to talk about what chords I have been *attempting* to learn.
Firstly, props to any musicians out there. Remembering which chord is which and where to put your finger is so hard, I have a much greater appreciation for any players of the strings instruments in particular. You are all guitar heroes!
Now back to chords! In case you don’t know what a chord is, don’t sweat. I will explain it for you. A chord is essentially notes combined to play together harmoniously. Apparently it’s the first, third, and fifth notes of that notes major scale. This meant absolutely nothing to me and I still do not understand what that means, but I’m not here to argue. Learning ukulele is enough of a task.
Once I mostly knew what a chord was I decided to jump right into it and learn some myself. I used a very helpful website, Ukuguides.com on the page Basic Ukulele Chords For Beginning Players. This page is also where I found these wonderful pictures below.
First I learned the major chords:
A B C D E F G
This video shows me going through each of the major chords. Once I could find where to put my fingers to play the chord I practised strumming a few times. I found A, C, and F to be the easiest and therefore my favourite chords to play. I am still needing to look at a picture, like the one above, to remember what the chord is. I am not even close to having anything memorised yet.
From there, I learnt the minor chords.
Am Bm Cm Dm Em Fm Gm
The minor chords weren't too much of a challenge after practising for awhile. As you can see it still takes me time to move from chord to chord. I also do not have any of these memorised either, besides Am because of how simple it is.
Lastly I decided to get into some treble (HA) and learn the 7th chords.
A7 B7 C7 D7 E7 G7
These seventh chords were treble indeed. I found B7 and F7 took a lot of extra practising and they are still a challenge. My favourites from this group are A7 and C7. I can really rock the note where I only have to hold down own string.
Overall, I found learning the chords to be a task that takes much longer than a week to complete. I am still struggling to remember what each chord is and how to move my fingers to make it work. Again, I am so impressed by all musicians who can play chords much more difficult than these and I hope to turn my ukulele villain into a guitar hero... ? I'm not sure how to tie this title into my post anymore so I better just end it here.
If you happen to be impressed or curious on my strumming, you can find out how I taught myself how to do it here.
Don't forget to follow my progress on twitter using #ukecandoit
This week my plan was to focus on strumming, which is exactly what I did. I knew I wanted to get a strong strumming technique down before I learn the many chords (which is my next posts plan). I began by using the Ukulele Hunt website to search up some additional information on strumming. The page I used was called Ukulele Strumming for Dummies, which I found *somewhat* fitting for me. This site had written information for strumming hand positions, where on the ukulele to strum, and multiple videos of strumming patterns.
After gathering as much information about strumming I could off of this website, I moved onto Youtube. The two videos I found most helpful:
- How To Strum the Ukulele // Beginner Ukulele Tutorial
- How to strum a ukulele for beginners - 3 different methods!
The best part about these videos is that these women show multiple ways how to strum and from different angles. If YOU are learning ukulele and trying to figure out the best way for you to strum, check out the first video. It shows how hard you should be strumming and gives exercises to do before.
The three types of strumming I tried were:
- with my thumb
- with my index finger
- with my thumb and index finger pushed together
Explaining how to strum isn't as easy as I thought, so instead here's a video of my (average) strumming.
The last way I showed, with my thumb and index finger pushed together, is now my favourite method and what I am going to be practising throughout my ukulele playing days. Now I really need to focus on relaxing my wrist while strumming to get a more smooth and easy strum.
Through all the research I did, the best advice I received was to strum how you feel comfortable. There are many more ways to strum than I have shown and almost everywhere I found information, encouraged you to do whatever you like the best. I found this advice to be so relevant as forcing myself to strum one way would add on more difficulty, which I do not need. So my advice to you, if you are or ever have the urge to learn how to play ukulele, strum however feels best for you, as long as it works you will be great!
#ukecandoit (check out the 'Latest' as shown below, to follow my learning project tweets)
This week I focused on my personal ukulele teacher. This 'teacher' includes iPhone apps, YouTube channels, and a lot of google. When I first attempted to start playing ukulele I looked up a few chords and watched a few Youtube videos. As you may or may not know (as said in my other learning project blogs) that this didn't work out too well. However, I think this is because of my lack of effort, rather than the use of technology to learn. So here I am again, using technology, to teach myself some magically ukulele skills.
The very first thing I looked to was YouTube! My first (and favourite channel) I found was The Ukulele Teacher. This channel has a variety of videos from beginner lessons to learning complex songs. It is great for ukulele players of all skill levels.
Other channels I follow include:
- Elise Ecklund
- U Can Uke
- Ukulele Underground
- About Ukulele
- Ukulele Cheats
- Ukulele Tricks
Yet none of them are, in my opinion, as great as The Ukulele Teacher. But all are still useful for a beginner like me.
After looking at YouTube channels, I chose to dig into apps! When looking for apps I found ones that looked appealing and had good reviews.
The ones I have downloaded are:
- Real Ukulele
- The Ukulele App
As shown below, there is also an app called Yousician, but I have recently deleted it and would not recommend it.
The first one I found was based off of The Ukulele Teacher! This instantly appealed to me and I downloaded it. There are multiple pages such as: about, news, lessons, tools, videos, and options. The main pages I used were videos, lessons, and tools. Here are a few pictures of what the app looks like.
Lastly, what I researched on google was saving images of chords, like the one below.
Now you have seen my ukulele 'teacher' for the next few weeks. I'm excited to start (finally) becoming a ukulele star, according to my learning plan. Stay tuned for the next post where I learn multiple types of strumming!
Remember to follow my progress on twitter using #ukecandoit (hint - make sure to check the latest tweets in order to find mine)
So it has begun... Getting reunited and tuning my ukulele (aka step 1 and 2 of my plan) has been this weeks task. It may seem simple, but hear me out. Hearing music is not in any way something I exceed at. It was truly quite the process. As I used to dance throughout all of my elementary and high school days, counting music is something I am quite capable of, so I was really unprepared for what I was about to embark upon. Trying to tune my ukulele is something completely new and different for me. But to keep up with my attitude throughout this learning project.... #ukecandoit
. . .
Getting reunited with my ukulele began just as you would if you were meeting a good friend. I planned a time to meet, put on some comfy clothes, had snacks and beverages ready, and a positive attitude. My ukulele has been living in my room on a small spot of my floor leaning against my dresser for months now. I'm sure my ukulele felt good to get up and stretch its strings. As we both began to talk by strumming the strings, all negative feelings were put aside and we were ready to go.
Once we were acquainted again, I began the tuning process. This is where I pulled up the two apps I have on my phone and determined which one would be best for me. As a beginner I needed something easy that helped me, because this is where the difficult part started. The apps I compared are Simple Ukulele Tuner and Tunefor Ukulele tuner free. In my opinion, both the apps worked great and I was continually switching back and forth, double checking my tuning job.
In case you are a beginner like me and may not know how to tune a ukulele, this is how I'm 97% sure you do it. On a ukulele there are four chords: G, C, E, and A. I worked my way from left to right, chord by chord, while tuning. Therefore, I began on G. I pulled up my app and went on my way. To use both apps, you click on the chord you are tuning and the tone will play. You then strum the chord and turn the nob until the sound on the app is correct. This may sound confusing, which it is. It took me a few hearty tries with each chord before (I think) it was tuned correctly. If I am being honest, it sounded the same for me before and after it was tuned. I now realised that every time I play I am going to need to pull up my apps, as my ears can't do the job for me. This week I am thankful for technology!
Overall, this week was a success, according to my plan. Can't wait until next week where I really get to dive into playing my ukulele.
Remember to watch #ukecandoit to check out my progress
The decision has been made. Drum roll please ......... I have decided I am finally going to learn how to play the ukulele. *takes bow*
In January I purchased my own ukulele and I was very determined to learn how to play it. That lasted about a week and a half before pre-internship got crazy and my ukulele started to collect dust. This class now gives me more motivation to learn how to play this instrument again. However, music is not my strong suit, but I am willing to try my best and hopefully be able to strum a tune or two.
MY GAME PLAN:
STEP 1: Reunite with my ukulele. Its been awhile and we need to get reacquainted.
STEP 2: Tune my ukulele. I already have two tuner apps on my phone, Simple Ukulele Tuner and Tunefor Ukulele tuner free. I found both of these to be great apps for a beginner.
STEP 3: YOUTUBE. This is going to be my main source of learning while teaching myself how to play. I am going to follow channels like The Ukulele Teacher.
STEP 4: Strumming. This is a key element of playing the ukulele and I am going to focus on getting a proper technique going.
STEP 5: Chords. This one is going to be tricky. Now to learn some basic chords. Eventually I will focus on the chords needed for step 7.
STEP 6: Pick a song. Here I will choose a song that will be my main focus for the rest of the project.
STEP 7: Play a song. My main goal here is to play *most of* the chosen song from above.
STEP 8: Be a pro ukulele star.
*hint* use ^this hashtag to follow my journey on twitter