EDTC 300 · Learning Project

The Song That Never Ends – Final Learning Project Post

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.

1) YouTube:

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.

2) Windows Live Movie Maker:

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!

5) Screencastify:

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!

Advertisements
EDTC 300 · Learning Project

Week Six – Stringing It Together

MONDAY:

This is it folks, my final learning project post. I thought that for my last week I would play one of my favourite songs, which is “For Emma” by Bon Iver. This song is short and sweet and is a perfect way to end my learning project.

The sheet music I will be using this week is from a new online resource called Tabstabs. Here is what the sheet music looks like:

So far, this resource is decent; however, it is not my favourite sheet music I have used throughout this learning journey. That being said, it does hit all of the necessary features that help me complete my goal of learning the song. There is not a specific outline of all the necessary notes in the beginning; however, the introduction shows all of the notes! If you hover over the chords, there is a pop up of what the note looks like with the correct fingering. There is also an option for auto scrolling which is really great for when I am going to start playing the song. The downsides to this resource is that there is no strumming pattern, the lyrics and notes seem to be a bit off-kilter, and the website is less aesthetically pleasing compared to other sheet music sites I have used.

Since this is my last week, I thought it would be fun for me to create my own strum pattern! Throughout this journey I have been watching a lot of ukulele and guitar videos. In my own exploration I found a strum pattern called “The Strum Slap”. This is where you hit all of the strings on the ukulele to add a percussion type sound and beat. Since I have not done anything like this before, I thought that creating a strum pattern for “For Emma” that incorporates this technique would be really fun. The strum pattern I have created is Down * Up Down * Up Down * and so on. The “*” represents the strum slap technique. Here is a short video of me practicing the strumming pattern.

Tomorrow I will check in and show you how I am putting together the chords and the strumming pattern!

TUESDAY:

Like last week, I wanted to try out another online ukulele tuner. If I did not own my own handheld tuner, I would definitely be searching the web for a reliable, easy to use, accurate ukulele tuner. The online tuner I will be looking at this week is from Ukulele Tricks. This website has a really clean layout and looks pretty easy to use. You have to allow access to your microphone, and then there is a big red dial that shows where your note is falling, and how much you need to adjust it to get the desired note. Below the dial there is also audio recordings of what each note should sound like so you could tune by ear, or simply just check that your note sounds similar. At the very bottom they also offer instructions on how to use their website properly, in case you are confused or can’t quite figure it out. Here is a video of me trying the website out for the first time:

Just as I have done for the past two weeks, I wanted to check the accuracy of this website using my handheld tuner. Since people without a handheld tuner will be completely relying on the website to tune their ukulele, I think that checking that the website is accurate is an important step to take. Here are my results for Ukulele Tricks online tuner:

Now that my ukulele is in tune, I can show you my progress for today! I mainly focused on putting the strumming pattern and notes together. I really like how this strumming pattern is unlike anything I have done so far! The song is definitely coming together.

I will check back in tomorrow to piece more of the song together!

WEDNESDAY:

This song is a little bit more difficult than I initially expected. The strumming and notes are fairly easy, but adding the singing on top is more difficult! There are times during the song where the singing is not meant to directly sync with the ukulele. I am just going to keep practicing and I am sure that I will get it! Here is my progress so far:

One way to that I have helped myself overcome this obstacle is to look up the song on YouTube and play along to keep myself on time. While looking at different videos, I stumbled onto a blog that features a video that combines all the songs from Bon Ivers album into one video. It is an incredible video to watch, so I highly recommend that you check it out! I even noticed that the creator, EatMyUke, used a similar strumming pattern to the one I created! That was super cool to see, and made me really excited to keep practicing this song to show you the final result tomorrow. Here is the video if you were interested:

THURSDAY:

I have completed my final ukulele video! I am so proud of myself for actually completing my goal that I set out in week one. This is my fifth full song that I have learned through online resources.

The last new resource that I used this week was an online video editor called Kapwing. Since the only editing that I do is trimming my video and adding captions, this editor seemed like an ideal option to use!

It specifically adds captions to videos, which means that I was unable to trim the video in this editor. However, my windows photo application has the option to trim the video, so I did this and then used the online editor. How was using this editor? Honestly, editors can be overwhelming, especially to people who do not use them super often. This editor was not overwhelming at all! It was really simple to use, and it allowed me to add in captions one by one, and it even automatically lined them up beside each other, which is something that my favourite editor, Windows Movie Maker, fails to do. If you are looking to simply add captions or subtitles to your video, I highly recommend checking out this video editor. As you can see from my video, there is a little watermark in the corner. However, it does not take up a lot of space and doesn’t cover the captions, so I don’t mind it! Here is my final performance of “For Emma” by Bon Iver:

Final Review Friday:

For my last week of my learning project, I think that I found some amazing online resources to help you learn ukulele. Let’s dive into the final breakdown of the new resources I used this week:

Tabstabs:

Although I admit that this is not my favourite sheet music resource, it was helpful to learn “For Emma” this week. Let’s go into the pros and cons.

PROS:

  • when you hover over the chords, there is a pop up of what the note looks like with the correct fingering
  • there is an auto scrolling option where you can control the speed
  • the introduction shows all the chords needed in the song
  • lyrics and chords are in one place

CONS:

  • there is no strumming pattern
  • the lyrics and notes are off-kilter
  • the website is not very aesthetically pleasing
  • there is no outro indicated, so I made up my own

Ukulele Tricks Online Tuner:

This was probably the most accurate tuner that I have used throughout this journey! I highly recommend that you check it out if you are trying to tune your ukulele but do not own a handheld tuner.

PROS:

  • you can play your ukulele and the tuner tells you the exact number that you are trying to reach
  • it gives you a check-mark when your note is correctly tuned
  • there are audio recordings if you wanted to tune by ear or double check that your note is in tune
  • they link to free 14 day video lesson course at the bottom
  • they have a video on how to use a handheld tuner if you own one
  • they give instructions on how to tune by ear

CONS:

  • the notes were slightly off; however, not enough to make a huge difference

Kapwing:

This editor was only designed for adding captions to videos, so if you are interested in doing this simple feature, I would highly recommend this online editor.

PROS:

  • it is simple to use and has a clean layout
  • you could pause the video and add captions to that specific spot
  • you could automatically place captions one right after the other to remove any space between them
  • you can change the font to how you want it to look
  • you don’t have to download this editor, you can just edit online

CONS:

  • there is a small watermark on the video
  • the only thing this editor can do is add captions

I hope that you enjoyed following me on this learning journey! I really enjoyed completing this project, and I know that I will continue to learn ukulele from online sources. Check out my next blog post when I review the entire learning journey. Have a great day everyone!

EDTC 300 · Learning Project

Week Five – Striking a Chord

MONDAY:

Welcome to week five of my learning project! I can’t believe that it is almost over. This week I have decided to challenge myself by learning “Joanne” by Lady Gaga. The first resource I will be using this week is Guitar Tabs Explorer. Here is what it looks like:

Week two I used Ukulele Tabs, week three I used Ultimate Guitar Tabs, and week four I used DoYouUkulele. From the start I know that this resource is not as helpful as DoYouUkulele from last week as there is no strumming pattern or outlining of the necessary chords at the beginning. The chords I will need this week are C, Em, F, Am, G, and D. The website does show what the chords should look like when I hover over the chord on the sheet music, which is very helpful. Additionally, the chords look to be perfectly lined up with the corresponding lyrics. This sheet music also offers auto scrolling!

In order to find the strumming pattern, I went to YouTube and found a tutorial. The chords she is using differ from the sheet music, so I will just be using her strum pattern and following the chords outlined in the sheet music. The tutorial video suggests using the basic strum pattern of down, down, up, up, down, up. Since there are a lot of quick transitions between chords the strum pattern has to be broken up. Since I have never broken up a strum pattern before, the tutorial was very helpful and taught me how to do this.

I will check back in tomorrow to share my progress on combining the strum pattern and chords together!

TUESDAY:

Today I am introducing two new online resources. And to top it off, I am using them at the same time! The first resource I explored today was UkuBuddy Tuner. Last week I used an app to tune my ukulele, so this week I wanted to find a website. In order to show you the website, I used the third resource for this week called Screencastify. I have never used a screen recording resource for my laptop. This resource is used a lot during class, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to try it out! Before you can get started, there are three steps you have to take: signing in with a Google account, setting permission for using the camera, microphone, drawing, and annotation tools, and finally, introducing yourself. Following this easy setup, the website instantly shows a tutorial video. Having this video automatically pop up after registering is incredibly helpful and informative. Here is my overview of the UkuBuddy Tuner using Screencastify:

I did not realize until after recording the ukulele tuner that you would not be able to hear the chords on the website. Since the screen recording is using my microphone, it cannot record the sound on my laptop as well. If anyone knows of a way to overcome this hurdle, please let me know below!

Since I am brand new to Screencastify, I did not utilize all of the features that it offers. Hopefully I will get more opportunities in the future to play around with this resource.

After using the UkuBuddy Tuner, I wanted to see how accurate it was compared to my handheld tuner. Here are the results:

In comparison to last week’s tuner app, this website was less accurate. That being said, it was not a huge difference and would work well for a beginner.

Finally, today I worked on combining the strumming pattern and the chords. The quick transitions are something I have never done before, so this took the most time to get used to! Let’s just say practice, practice, practice is needed! I think that I am on the right path and I am happy with how the song is coming together.

Tomorrow I will be putting everything together and practicing singing, strumming, and playing the chords following the instructions of the sheet music.

WEDNESDAY:

I think that this might be my favourite song yet! Although the quick transitions are difficult to master, they are really fun and challenging! Here is the beginning of “Joanne” by Lady Gaga. As a side note, my throat is still not 100% but I really wanted to add in the singing. I have found that singing actually makes the playing easier. It is much more challenging to play without at least humming along. I hope you enjoy this snippet of the song:

As you can tell, my cat Jack is enjoying my learning project as much as I am. He has been spending a lot of time with me during this project, and really enjoys sitting down and listening to me play all the songs! Tomorrow I will show you my final product for this week.

THURSDAY:

To stick to my theme of three resources per week, I used the same video editor that I used in week three, Windows Movie Maker. I find myself coming back to this editor because it is so simple and easy to use! Here is my final video for this week. I decided to add in my own flare to the song by creating an introduction, pause in playing, and outro. I hope that you enjoy it!

TIME TO TEACH FRIDAY:

Be prepared for change! Instead of going into detail with each resource that I used this week, Katia has challenged to help others learn a skill related to my learning project. Since this week I focused on learning the song “Joanne” by Lady Gaga, I am going to break down how to play each chord in this song. I think that this will be helpful for more than just this specific song because these are really common chords used in a lot of songs. I also decided that I wanted to try out Screencastify again for this challenge. This resource allowed me to show a visual of each chord while also demonstrating the chord in person. I hope that this how-to video is helpful and will teach you how to play all the chords in “Joanne” by Lady Gaga.

I did go through the chords fairly quickly, so feel free to pause to help you view the correct fingering of the chords! Was this how-to video helpful for you? I have never made one of these before and I would love some feedback! Even if you aren’t interested in learning ukulele, did the online and live presentation help with understanding the chords better? Thanks in advance for giving me some constructive feedback!

EDTC 300 · Learning Project

Week Four – Unexpected Interruption

MONDAY:

You might be wondering what the title of this week is about. Well, I currently have strep throat and cannot sing or even talk very well! So, to protect my throat and my overall health this week, I will most likely not be singing alongside my playing. I am hopeful that my throat will recover by the end of the week, but for now I am going to plan as if I cannot sing. Therefore, in order to continue to challenge myself this week, I chose to introduce a song that includes unfamiliar chords.

This week I will be playing a classic ukulele song called “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson. The popularity of this song made it very easy to find a new sheet music resource. The sheet music I initially thought that I would be using this week was from a site called Ukulele Cheats. Here is what the sheet music looks like:

Like week two of my learning project, and unlike week three, this sheet music outlines all the required notes for this song at the beginning. I have realized that this is a super helpful component to include on the sheet music, so I am very happy that Ukulele Cheats has done that! Like the last two weeks the notes are lined up with the lyrics, which lets me know when I should be transitioning. Two downsides of this site is that there does not appear to be a strum pattern listed, and there is no option to auto scroll. Since these are vital components for my sheet music, I decided to search for a better sheet music resource.

While searching for a sheet music that had a strumming pattern and an auto scroll, I stumbled upon a better sheet music resource called DoYouUkulele. I have never heard of this site before, but it looks very good. This resource includes the strumming pattern, the required chords at the beginning of the sheet music, auto scroll, and lines up the chords with the lyrics. It also includes various videos that are connected to this song. One slight difference is that the first sheet music uses the D7 chord, while this music uses a D chord. Since the second sheet music hits all the components that I am looking for, I will be following their instructions.

I will check in again tomorrow to show you how I am doing with learning new chords!

TUESDAY:

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to find an online resource for tuning. My second resource that I am using this week is an app called TuneforUkulele. I downloaded this app thinking that it was just a simple tuner, but this app has so many more amazing features! Here is a recording of me going through some of the features this resource offers:

As you can see from the video, this app has a lot of different sections, so let’s break them down:

  1. Chords Category – Here you can test your knowledge of the chords G, D, Em, and C. All the other chords cost money. You can test your knowledge by naming them, drawing them, matching the audio with the correct chord, and playing the chords yourself and see how many you can get correct in one minute.
  2. Tabs Category – For free you can practice playing Mary Had a Little Lamb in either game mode or sheet music mode. However, you have to pay for all the other songs on the beginner, easy, normal, hard, and pattern songs.
  3. Fretboard Category – Unfortunately this whole category is not free. Bummer.
  4. Ear Training Category – Here you can practice identifying notes by sound. You can practice the individual chords E4, G4, C4, and A4, and with different instruments. You can also practice 100 cents resolution and practice identifying pitch on a fretboard.
  5. Metronome – You can choose the speed you want, or you can tap the speed you want to follow. You can also alter the time signature and add accents to the notes.
  6. Tuner – This feature allows you to record yourself and tune your ukulele live.
  7. Chord Identifier – You can look up so many chords and see them on the fretboard.
  8. Weekly Plan – You can create a customized plan on how much you want to practice on a daily basis. The app records how often you are practicing and charts it on the home screen.

Now, in terms of the actual tuner, it was very accessible and easy to use! I wanted to try to screen record my phone while using the speaker, which I discovered how to do here, but since the app is listening to your microphone the two features cannot work simultaneously. So here is what the app looks like when you are tuning:

I thought it would be a good idea to compare the app to my ukulele tuner. Here is what I found:

Finally, I practiced the new strumming pattern. It went pretty well, but the new chords are definitely difficult! This song includes the chords C, F, Am, E7, G, and D. The two new chords I introduced are E7 and D. They are tricky to get my hands wrapped around, but it is definitely coming. Here is me practicing the strumming pattern and the new chords with the strumming pattern.

See you tomorrow with another update!

WEDNESDAY:

Today I practiced the chorus of the song, which is probably the most difficult. In general I am starting to get the hang of it and I think that I will be able to play the full song by tomorrow. My throat is still not great, so I am humming in this video. Here is what I accomplished today:

Can you tell that I enjoy playing outdoors? I think it makes the experience that much better. See you tomorrow with the final video for this week!

THURSDAY:

Today I downloaded a new video editing software called Wondershare Filmora 9. This was a free editing software, but it does offer higher versions that you can purchase. I found a video that explained how to add captions to my video; however, I just could not get it! Just as I was about to give up and go back to my other resource, I finally figured it out. Here is what the editor looks like:

In terms of usage, it was definitely more complex than Windows Movie Maker. Also, I did not realize that this puts a watermark onto your videos when you upload them onto YouTube. I spent a lot of time adding on the subtitles, so I am disappointed that they are covered up for half of the video. If you listen really closely, I am humming along. I find that singing actually makes playing easier and keeps me on track, so it is hard not to at least hum while playing. I apologize for the big watermark covering the chord subtitles, but I hope you enjoy my final version of “You and I” regardless!

Tomorrow I will be reviewing all the new resources that I used this week. This song was very fun to learn, and I highly recommend checking it out if you are interested in playing ukulele yourself!

Final Review Friday:

Week four has come to a close! Even though I was unable to sing this week, I think that I still found a way to challenge myself with this song. The three resources that I used this week were all very helpful in my learning journey, but let’s break them down to see if they might be a resource you would want to use yourself!

DoYouUkulele:

Like the last two weeks, this website is comparable to Ukulele Tabs and Ultimate Guitar Tabs. Last week I stated that Ultimate Guitar Tabs won over Ukulele Tabs. This week, I am going to confidently say that DoYouUkulele wins over both of them! This site is super user friendly and easy to use.

PROS:

  • provides a strumming pattern
  • allows you to hear the strumming pattern
  • provides sheet music, lyrics, and chords all in one place
  • has a controllable speed for auto scroll
  • introduces all needed chords at the beginning of the sheet music
  • the chords perfectly align with the lyrics
  • the website is clean, simple, and user friendly
  • there are videos surrounding the sheet music that might help you successfully play the specific song

CONS:

  • you cannot hover over the chords in the sheet music to find out what the chords should look like
  • the auto scroll is not voice activated – but this did not really impact my experience

TuneForUkulele App:

I was looking for a simple ukulele tuner resource this week, but I ended up finding a really cool app! I did a detailed outline of everything in this app on Tuesday, but here are the general pros and cons of this app:

PROS:

  • you can play various games to test your knowledge of the chords G, D, Em, and C
  • you can practice playing Mary Had a Little Lamb in a game mode or through an automated scrolling sheet music
  • you can practice identifying notes by sound
  • you can use the metronome and customize what speed you want
  • the tuner is fairly accurate and easy to use
  • you can look up different chords and see how they should look on the fretboard
  • you can create a customized practice plan and the app charts how much and how often you are practicing

CONS:

  • the app gives the illusion that everything is free, but only the first option in almost every category is free – all other options require a membership purchase
  • the entire fretboard category is not free
  • ads pop up every once in awhile

Overall, I would definitely recommend this app to a friend just trying out the ukulele. I probably would not purchase the membership option because I think that you could find other apps similar to this one that are completely free.

Wondershare Filmora 9:

I initially really disliked this editor. It was a little bit confusing to use, and I could not for the life of me figure out how to get the subtitles to show up on the video. I followed the video step by step but it did not help. By a fluke chance I finally figured it out that you have to put the subtitles bar above the video bar. After using it to create my final video, I started to understand the structure a lot more.

PROS:

  • you can add fun titles to the beginning of your video
  • you can add a clean credits page to the end of your video
  • you can view the breakdown of your video and view the time expanded or crunch the time together while editing
  • free to download
  • you can directly export your video to YouTube
  • the text automatically lined up in the same position as the last text

CONS:

  • adding text was extremely tedious – the editor put default writing on the subtitles which meant that I had to go in and delete all the initially writing, and then add in my own
  • the editor adds a one minute watermark onto your video, which I did not realize until I uploaded it onto YouTube
  • there is no walk through tutorial when I first opened the app – this would have been extremely helpful to understand instead of learning by playing around with the app

In comparison to Windows Movie Maker, this app is very confusing and decreases the quality of your video by adding the watermark onto it. Would I choose this software over Windows Movie Maker? For what I am trying to accomplish, no I would not. If there was no watermark I would most likely recommend this software to a friend, but otherwise I would not.

I hope that I introduced you to some new online resources this week. Do you have any recommendations for what I should check out next? I hope you all have a great day, and I am excited to jump into week four!

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!