As the spring semester comes to a close, so does my learning project! I had such a great time learning the ukulele from exclusively online resources, and I hope that you enjoyed following along with my journey. This blog post is dedicated to looking over everything I accomplished, learned, and which top resources I would recommend to a beginning ukulele player who is looking to learn from online sources. Going beyond learning to play the ukulele, this project has enabled me with the skills to seek out valuable online resources, has given me the confidence to post videos of myself playing, singing, and teaching online, and has given me the opportunity to become a skilled video caption editor! This has been an incredibly valuable and fun journey, and I am excited to reflect on every step that I took to complete it.
Outline of My Journey:
Week One: Come On, Uke Can Do It!
This week I outlined my inspiration for choosing this specific project, the reasons behind this project choice, my goals for this journey, potential song choices, and how I planned on accomplishing my goals.
Week Two: Let’s Start Playing
Week two I learned how to play “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. I posted my first YouTube videos of me playing, and I recorded myself singing for the first time. This was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, but I am happy that I did it! The three resources I used this week were:
Week Three: Scavenger Hunt
This week I learned how to play “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. I initially wanted to play “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, but I quickly realized that this was far too difficult as a beginner ukulele player. I showed how to use a handheld tuner to tune your ukulele. I also used a ukulele app on my phone for the first time and screen recorded myself using it, which I have never done before. Finally, I edited my final video for the first time, which I continued to do throughout the rest of the entire project! The three online resources that I reviewed this week were:
Week Four: Unexpected Interruption
I had a bit of a hiccup this week. I ended up coming down with strep throat, which meant that I was unable to sing for the week. However, I still managed to challenge myself with a more difficult song called “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson. This week I started to analyze my sheet music resources more thoroughly, and started to get more picky with the quality of online resources that I was using. I compared an online ukulele tuner with my handheld tuner to see how accurate it was. I also had an unexpected watermark show up on my video from the editor that I used! That was a learning curve and something I learned to look out for when using a free video editor! The three new resources I explored this week were:
Week Five: Striking a Chord
This week I learned to play the song “Joanne” by Lady Gaga. To show an online ukulele tuner, I used Screencastify for the first time! I ended up loving this online resource and actually used it for my summary of learning project for EDTC 300. Additionally, instead of reviewing the three resources for the week, I ended up teaching how to play all the chords in “Joanne”. I really enjoyed this change in my blog posts, and I found it fun to break down a component of what I learned during this project. The three resources that I used this week were:
Week Six: Stringing It Together
For my final week I decided to learn how to play one of my favourite songs called “For Emma” by Bon Iver. Instead of finding a strumming pattern online, I decided to take all my new skills and create my own strumming pattern! I thought that this was a fun and personalized way to finish off my learning project. I also found one the most accurate online ukulele tuners this week, which I will discuss later on in this blog post. Lastly, I used an online video editor for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised with how it worked. The three resources I used to help me complete my journey were:
A Look at Before and After:
Feedback Using My PLN:
I thought that it would be a great idea to use my new personal learning network on Twitter to reach out to ukulele professionals to gain their feedback. I tweeted and direct messaged a lot of individuals and groups to see if they would take time out of their day to give me feedback on my ukulele playing. Sadly, no one has gotten back to me yet, but I am hopeful that someone will soon! Here are some screenshots of the individuals I tried to get into contact with:
Hopefully one of these individuals will respond and provide me some feedback to enhance my skills and help me become a better ukulele player in the future!
My Top 5 Recommendations:
I wanted to close out this blog post by recommending the five top resources that I used throughout this journey. These resources were incredibly helpful and valuable in helping me complete my ukulele learning project.
YouTube is very helpful when trying to learn to play the ukulele. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, so being able to see, hear, and copy people playing the song I was trying to learn was incredibly helpful. Additionally, there are a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube that can help you play the specific song that you are looking for. Sometimes there may not be sheet music made for the particular song that you are hoping to learn, but there is a high chance that someone created their own version and uploaded it onto YouTube so that you can listen to it and copy how they are playing. Furthermore, you can also upload your own playing to help others learn as well! I highly recommend using YouTube to support your learning of the ukulele.
Out of all the editors that I used throughout this journey, the easiest to use was Windows Movie Maker. I might be a bit bias considering that I have used this editor once or twice in the past; however, the simple design, easy caption creator, and being able to view the breakdown and final look of your video is incredibly useful. I found myself always comparing other video editor programs to Windows Movie Maker. Therefore, if you are looking for an uncomplicated and simple video editor, I recommend checking this option out. That being said, if you are looking for a simple editor to only add captions to your videos, Kapwing is a great option. Keep in mind that this specific editor does not do any editing other than adding captions, and it does add a small watermark to your videos.
3) Ukulele Tricks Online Tuner:
I reviewed three different online tuning resources throughout this journey, and this one took the cake. First of all, you do not have to download this resource in order to use it. You simply go to the website, allow access to your microphone, grab your ukulele and you are good to go! Out of all the tuning resources I reviewed, this one was by far the most accurate. It was easy to use, accessible, and overall a great resource for beginner ukulele players.
4) DoYouUkulele Sheet Music:
All six weeks I used different online resources for sheet music, and I really enjoyed using DoYouUkulele. This resource had all the necessary components: lyrics, chords outlined in the beginning, what the chords should look like, chords lined up with the lyrics, a strumming pattern, and a controllable auto scroll option. I had never heard of this sheet music before, but it was the easiest, cleanest, and most appealing sheet music that I used throughout my learning project. Although they do only offer a limited number of sheet music options, if you are looking for sheet music I recommend checking out if this website has one created for the specific song you are looking for!
If you do not already have this free Google Chrome extension, I recommend that you get it immediately. Being able to simultaneously record my screen and film myself was extremely helpful to complete my learning project. Screencastify enabled me to review online ukulele tuners, show you how I was using the website, and give you a live reaction of my impression of the tuner. Additionally, Screencastify came in a handy when I taught how to play the chords in the song “Joanne”. I was able to show a visual representation of the chord I was teaching on my screen, and talk and demonstrate the chord by filming myself. Having both of these options at the same time improved the lesson by appealing to more than one type of learner. If you are completing a project I recommend checking out Screencastify to see if it can strengthen your project!
I want to close out this blog post by thanking my EDTC 300 classmates for providing me feedback and support throughout my journey. You all enhanced my learning, and I am very thankful for that! I also want to thank Katia for creating this opportunity to reignite my passion for music and teaching me to find valuable online resources to learn a new skill from the comfort of my own home! I am excited to continue to grow and learn as a ukulele player. I hope that my own learning project journey has encouraged and motivated you to learn a new skill from online resources too!