EDTC 300 · Learning Project

Week Two – Let’s Start Playing!

MONDAY:

This week I have decided to learn to play “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. Today I wanted to find sheet music for this song, start looking at the chords, and find the strumming pattern.

Since this is a fairly popular song, I did not have any difficulty finding sheet music. I decided to settle on using this sheet music from Ukulele Tabs. The layout is pretty simple and already lines up the chords with the lyrics of the song! One downside about this site is that there is no indication of the strum pattern.

To find the strum pattern I went onto YouTube and found a tutorial video for this exact song! The video suggests using only single down strokes for the strumming pattern, but also provides a more complex strumming pattern as an alternative. Since this is my first song of this learning journey, I thought that the single down stroke strumming pattern would be a great place to start. This allows me to work on my chord transitions and linking the chords, strumming, and singing altogether.

Here are the chords for the song:

As you can see from the picture, Ukulele Tabs describes what chords will be in the song, as well as how the chords should look. If you look at the bottom of the picture, this website also provides links on how to use the website, and how to read the chord diagrams that are provided.

Tomorrow I am going to start playing with the strumming pattern, chords, and looking at the lyrics. I will update you on my progress again tomorrow!

TUESDAY:

Today I worked on practicing the chords used in the song, and then practiced stringing the chords together. I am happy that I chose this song as my first for this learning journey because the strumming pattern is so simple. This allows me to focus on my hand positions and making clean transitions from one note to another.

In order to know how to position my fingers for each chord, I found an article that shows the Basic Ukulele Chords for Beginners. Not only does this website give a breakdown of how to tune your ukulele, it also provides very helpful pictures and guides on which fret and finger should be used for a specific note. For example, to play C Major, you will put finger three on the bottom string in the third fret.

Here is a short video of me practicing the five individual chords. I started with single down strokes for each note, and practiced transitioning from one note to the other. Once I was comfortable, I did a double down stroke and tried to stay in time. I think that the most difficult thing for me right now is the transitions and correct finger placement!

After I practiced the chords individually, I moved onto the first section of the song. Here is a short video to show my progress with piecing the song together:

Tomorrow I hope to play the whole song with very few mistakes. Then I will gradually add in the singing! See you tomorrow!

WEDNESDAY:

Today I was able to play the song and add in the singing. I also discovered on Ukulele Tabs that you can automatically scroll the page at different speeds so that you can play along without having to pause and manually scroll the screen down. This was incredibly helpful when I started to play the song in its entirety.

Here is my progress today! I have just been recording these videos on my phone and uploading them on my personal YouTube account. I hope that I can find a better and more professional way to share my progress with you. Now, a little disclaimer before the video. As I previously mentioned, I am in no way a singer and am pushing myself out of my comfort zone by sharing my singing. I am very happy with my progress and am more focused on the ukulele and putting everything together than I am of my singing abilities. Hope you enjoy!

My goal for tomorrow is to play the entire song with very few mistakes. At the end of week I have decided to discuss the online resources that I have used, my thoughts on them, and any things that I wish were different, missing or that I would like to change.

THURSDAY:

I really enjoyed learning this song! I know that it is nowhere near perfect, but I am very happy with my progress. I did alter the octave of the song to make it a bit more comfortable for me to sing since I wanted to focus on playing the ukulele. I took a couple of times to record this final version, but here it is:

Tomorrow I will provide my overview of the resources that I used this week to learn “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish.

FINAL REVIEW FRIDAY:

My first week has come to a close. And might I say, I am genuinely looking forward to the weeks ahead. I started this week off simple by learning “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. In order to do this, I used three different online sources. Let’s begin by critiquing Ukulele Tabs.

Ukulele Tabs:

I suspect that I will be revisiting this site throughout my learning project journey. It was incredibly helpful, and I used it everyday this week. Now, instead of me rambling on about what I liked and what I would like to change about this site, here is a simple, straight to the point, pros and cons list:

PROS:

  • provides sheet music, lyrics, and chords all in one place
  • the chords are lined up with the lyrics so you know when to transition
  • there is an option to auto scroll so that you can play the song without having to pause and manually scroll
  • outlines what chords you will need to know at the beginning to learn the song
  • if you hover over the chord on the sheet music, a picture pops up of what the chord should look like
  • provides links to other pages on the website to teach you how to play each chord

CONS:

  • the website did not provide a recommended strumming pattern
  • sometimes the chords were lined up strangely with the lyrics – you needed to use your own knowledge of the song to make the chords and lyrics flow together

YouTube:

I used YouTube to both post my progress updates and to search for a strumming pattern for this song. Just like Ukulele Tabs, I believe that YouTube is going to be a very important resource for this journey.

PROS:

  • you can post your own videos and choose to make them public, private, or unlisted
  • you can find a variety of examples of people giving tutorials, playing, and singing different songs
  • you can learn visually
  • you can play along with the other person
  • you can replay a video as many times as you need to understand

CONS:

  • YouTube alone does not allow you to edit your video to make it more professional
  • you may not be able to find a tutorial or cover of the song you are looking for depending on it’s popularity

Know Your Instrument:

The last resource I used this week was an article called Basic Ukulele Chord for Beginners, which is from the website Know Your Instrument. This website offers information on different types of guitars (acoustic, electric, bass, classical) and ukuleles. The website seems to review these different instruments and links places to buy them online. Here are the pros and cons for the article:

PROS:

  • teaches you how to tune your ukulele
  • breaks down how to read a chord chart
  • teaches you how to place your fingers to play C major, A minor, F major, G major, A major, E minor, D major, D minor, E major, Gb minor, B minor, C minor, G minor, G7, C7, and A7
  • outlines tips for beginners on how to successfully play
  • provides written and visual cues on how to play each chord

CONS:

  • may not teach the specific chord that you are looking for

Overall, these three resources were all extremely helpful with enabling me to complete my first ukulele song! I hope that you enjoyed reading about my first week of exploring how to play the ukulele. Now I would love to hear from you. How did you like the layout of my week? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve it? Also, feel free to recommend any ukulele resources that I should check out in the following weeks.

I hope you all have a great day!

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10 thoughts on “Week Two – Let’s Start Playing!

  1. Brenna,
    This is amazing! I love how you laid our your progress for each day as well, the technology used and the pros and cons to each recourse. I have always been interested in the Ukulele and this just made me wanna learn how to play it even more! Also beautiful singing! Can’t wait to continue to follow your learning project journey.
    -Ashley

    Like

  2. This is really well done! You put a lot of time into it and I am glad to see that you are progressing quickly in learning your instrument!

    Like

  3. Brenna – you have such a beautiful voice! I am proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and singing along with the ukelele. Seems like you are grasping how to play the instrument quickly. Can’t wait to see what is to come!

    Like

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