EDTC 300 · Learning Project

Week Three – Scavenger Hunt

MONDAY:

I went into this week expecting to learn how to play “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran; however, I am not! I downloaded a few apps (which I will use throughout my journey), and none of them included this specific song. The only sheet music I found that was not extremely difficult was from Ukulele Tabs, but I used this resource in week two. I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt trying to find resources for this exact song! I guess that is one downside of wanting to play a specific song from online resources. If other people have not created helpful resources for the exact song you are wanting to learn, then you might have to change the song. Although there were some resources for the song, all of them were well above my beginner abilities. Therefore, I have decided to try out “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver this week. This is a very popular song, and there are many different resources available for me to try. I also think that this is a good step up from last week because the notes are very familiar, but I am going to be increasing the difficulty by introducing a strumming pattern.

The first resource I am going to use this week is Ultimate Guitar Tabs. Unlike Ukulele Tabs, which is a very similar website I used last week, this sheet music provides the strumming pattern alongside the notes and lyrics.

Unlike Ukulele Tabs, there is no outline of all the chords that are needed to play the song at the beginning. I have to scroll down and look at the whole song to collect which chords I need to learn. Luckily, all the chords are the same as last week’s song! How great is that?

I look forward to practicing the chords and putting them together with the strum pattern. See you tomorrow!

TUESDAY:

Today I wanted to show you how I have been tuning my ukulele! Next week I want to find an online resource for tuning, but for right now I have been using my handheld tuner. Here is a video clip of me tuning.

After I tuned my ukulele, I practiced the strum pattern. From Monday’s picture you can see that the strum pattern is Down Down, Up Down Up. After I got a hang of the strum pattern, I practiced all the chords used in the song. Looking back, I realized that I left out E minor. This is why having all the notes outlined in the beginning would be helpful!

I started with A minor, F, D minor, C, and G. Transitions are still difficult but I am slowly getting the hang of it. Adding in the strumming was not as difficult as I thought, but it might be more challenging when I add singing on top of it. That will be a challenge for tomorrow!

See you tomorrow when I practice putting everything together!

WEDNESDAY:

Screen recording alert! I have never tried screen recording before, and honestly, I didn’t even know it was possible on my iPhone. Here is the website that helped me figure out how to screen record on my phone. Today I wanted to share an app that I tried out today called The Ukulele App. This app is created in conjunction with the YouTuber The Ukulele Teacher. As you can see from the screen recording below, the lessons for each song connects to a YouTube video. This app also includes a tuner, a chord library, and a metronome. I have been using the “Skinny Love” video to practice this week. However, the video adds in a different introduction and transition from the verse and chorus. So, although I am following the sheet music version, this video has been helpful for practicing the strum pattern and chords. Here is the screen recording of the app:

I also discovered something new about the the Ultimate Guitar Tabs sheet music today. Like last week, this sheet music offers a hands-free auto scroll, so that you can play the entire song without having to interrupt yourself to manually scroll. However, this website also offers a voice-activated auto scroll. How cool is that?! You just have to allow the website access to the microphone, and then clearly say “stop” or “start” to have the website scroll. There is a slight delay from when I give a command and when the website reacts, but nevertheless, it was a very helpful addition. Here is my progress on the chorus of “Skinny Love”:

Tomorrow I am going to show my final version of this song. I am hoping to edit my video so that you can follow along with the notes that I am playing. See you then!

THURSDAY:

I have a new appreciation for people who record themselves performing a song in one take and nail the execution. It took me so long to record this song! Not only was it more complex than last weeks song, it was also much longer. This means that there were a lot more opportunities to make mistakes. And trust me, I think I made every mistake possible while trying to record! The final recording below is no where near perfect; however, I did successfully play the song. I made a few mistakes here and there, but overall I am very happy that I was able to make it through the song with only a few hiccups.

As I mentioned in week two, I wanted to find a more professional way to share my progress with you. Instead of simply recording my final performance and uploading it to YouTube, I thought that I would add in an extra layer. The last resource that I will be using this week is going to be Windows Live Movie Maker. I added in the chords that I am playing so that it is easier to follow along. Let me know if this enhanced your experience at all. I hope you enjoy it!

FINAL REVIEW FRIDAY:

The second week is in the books! This week was definitely more challenging then last week, and I definitely need to continue practicing this song to refine it. That being said, I am happy how my skills have improved from last week. I somewhat sound like I can actually play the ukulele!

Here is the breakdown of the three resources I used this week:

Ultimate Guitar Tabs:

This website is very comparable to Ukulele Tabs, which I used last week to find my sheet music. If I had to choose one over the other, I would have to go with the Ultimate Guitar Tabs. The name can be deceiving, but it offers great sheet music for both guitars and ukuleles!

PROS:

  • provides a strumming pattern
  • tells you how many beats per minute the strumming pattern should be played in, and provides an audio example
  • provides sheet music, lyrics, and chords all in one place
  • offers voice-activated auto scroll
  • if you hover over the chord on the sheet music, a picture pops up of what the chord should look like
  • provides different variations of the same chord that you could substitute in

CONS:

  • it does not outline what chords are needed in the beginning to successfully play the song
  • the chords are lined up with the lyrics so you know when to transition; however, some of the chords are behind where they fit into the lyrics – you need to use your own knowledge of the song to exactly know where each chord should be played

The Ukulele App:

Would I use this app again? Would I recommend this app to a friend? In all honesty, probably not. I have previously heard of The Ukulele Teacher on YouTube, and throughout this week discovered his app. Although it does offer a tuner, strumming patterns, a chord library, a chord finder, tips on progressions, and a bunch of lessons on different songs, the app only lets you use half of these features once. After your one trial session, you have to pay for the full version. Additionally, this app is mainly organized video links to The Ukulele Teacher’s YouTube channel. There are no in-app lessons. If you were thinking about downloading this app, I would just recommend going straight onto YouTube instead.

PROS:

  • you can search, favorite, and sort the different YouTube videos within the app – this makes it very easy to access a particular song you are looking for
  • offers a tuner
  • the chord library allows you to look up a chord, and it shows where to place your fingers and which fingers to use

CONS:

  • the app might not have the song you are looking for
  • the app is mainly an organizer for YouTube videos that you can access elsewhere
  • the tuner does not tell you how to adjust your string to hit the accurate note – you have to just try and match the sound as best as you can
  • after one free trial, you have to pay to use the strumming, chord finder, and progressions features

Windows Live Movie Maker:

The last technology resource I used this week was Windows Live Movie Maker. I have been searching and looking at a few different programs for editing videos. However, I downloaded a few and none of them allowed me to put text at various times throughout my video. Apparently this is a hard feature to find! I have dabbled with Windows Movie Maker in the past, and it has been very helpful for previous projects. I would say that this is a standard video editor, and it gets the job done. Nothing fancy, but very reliable, comfortable, and easy to use.

PROS:

  • add text to various places throughout the video
  • create a custom title and credits page
  • add special effects
  • can view the breakdown of your video
  • has an automatic preview screen to see how your changes/effects look when applied
  • easy to navigate
  • free to download

CONS:

  • this exact editor has been discontinued; however, there are still ways to download it

Overall, I can see myself definitely using two out of the three resources again. Have you tried out any of these resources before? If so, do you agree or disagree with me? I am curious to know! I look forward to continue to share my journey with you, and let you know what I think about various resources that are supporting my learning. Have a great day!

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