Learning Project Wrap Up

If you think about it, we are constantly engaging in learning projects. Recalling a discussion we (ecmp255 class) had with Alec Couros, we talked about this idea when he invited us to think about what we all have taught ourselves to do via online. Things like cooking, playing a musical instrument, how to change a tire, different kinds of crafts, and document formatting were some of the experiences presented. It’s crazy, really, how accessible it is to learn how to do something (almost anything) by clicking in a search bar or using youtube. It is also so exciting to me to imagine how I can apply this in the classroom. If we are constantly engaging in online learning, why not bring in digital literacy and citizenship into it! Creating a learning experience in the classroom by doing this is a fantastic idea and one I will adopt in the future. Having some sort of documentation and applying outcomes will foster skills that will allow students to explore recourses, what is credible and what is not, finding support, determining the difference between real and fake news, as well as learning about the elements of the digital citizenship while exploring online. In addition, literacy is being brought into this because of the documentation element, science can be brought into this for learning an experiment online, math, physical education, arts education, anything!

What better way to teach about something than to teach from experience? Engaging in my own learning project for ECMP355 has been an experience that gives me a understanding of the process I spoke of above. I taught myself (or, the internet taught me) some techniques and chords on the guitar that I have been interested in. Something interesting about my learning project is that it did not necessarily go exactly how I planned, but realizing that is okay, is all part of the process! I started out with trying to learn the song Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Ray using this tutorial and began practising the first four basic chords. I realized that as the chords progressed I knew that it might be the type of thing I will go back to after some more basic training and practice with the technique of picking and playing chords. I started to use this website and learned a new song and was able to accomplish a lot more! I used other websites throughout this process to help me with understanding various techniques and exercises as well as some moral support throughout my project. As I said, since I engaged in this myself, asking students to participate in this type of learning experience will be so much more authentic. I can show them my example which would hopefully make them excited to engage in this learning experience.

I created this short little video to give an overall look of what my learning project journey looked like. Enjoy! (videos referenced in this are all found in my blog post in my Learning Project category)

Lyric Time

It was time to put some lyrics in. Slightly out of my comfort zone, I must demonstrate my progress as per project requirements! Singing and playing is actually not very challenging, however I am still trying to practice how to make my chords sounds a little more smoother without such emphasis on certain strings. I continued to refer to the Ultimate Guitar website which I highly recommend for anyone who is interested in learning a song on the guitar. Some of video tutorials on the bottom in order to learn about the strum patterns and picking, but I prefer to listen to the actual song over and over again to get an understanding of the rhythm and pattern.

Picking is definitely the next step I want to perfect with playing guitar. I have never really done too much looking into it, but I figured there must be some exercises that could contribute to this learning. I found this site here that does just that! As I continue to learn, I will look into some more (simple) songs that I can try and play. I am thinking of possibly looking into the song Hallelujah performed by Alexandra Burke.

Expanding My Horizons

Learning to play a song on the guitar via internet is going quite well. As I have mentioned before, playing the guitar is something I am kind of familiar with, but there are many elements I have yet to learn. For this learning project, I wanted to focus on and explore picking, and I used Like A Star to begin this process. As I engaged with my youtube tutorial, the chords got more complex then I had anticipated and I wanted to actually be able to have a finish product for this overall project!! So, as way to use what I learned from this song (and still learn from as I carry on with this particular song), I have expanding my somewhat limited picking abilities to other songs as well! Why not provide some variety, right? Basically, I noticed myself sitting playing guitar and after slowly but surely somewhat playing music, I want to actually play a song. I found a really nice country song titled, Girl Crush by Little Big Town which I have begun practising as well.

I applied what I learned from Dean from Fundamental Guitar and used this website to learn the chords. The thing I like about this website (many guitar chord websites have this feature) is that just by playing your curser on the chord above a lyric, it displays an image of what the chord should look like.

Also, side note, I learned how to take a screen shot on my macbook. This is not very exciting to most, I’m sure, because it was painfully  simple as I simply googled, “how to take a screenshot on mac” which directed me to the apple website with step by step instructions. Press Shift-Command-3, or for a portion, Shift-Command-4 and drag pointer, in case you were wondering. This is going to next my next few blog posts so much easier 🙂

Here is some picking progress I have made with this new song:

“Just Like a Song in My Heart”

I have been so busy this spring semester taking over a full course load so it is important for to me make time for myself and do things I enjoy doing. I am grateful that this project has required me to do just that. I have been a little behind, but I need to remind myself of that joy in this, not the work! As the song comes along, it reminds me of the joy playing music brings me and so when I get frustrated with this song I am learning, I will stop and play something I already know which gives me confidence and motivation to keep going.

I have been practising my chords here and there, but here is some video evidence that shows this is somewhat becoming a “song in my heart.” I warn you, this isn’t the prettiest four chords you will hear in your life thanks to me, but it’s just my progress, okay!?

So I found some online support. Here is a blog that lists 10 things to keep in my when learning how to play the guitar. Something that I found particular inspirational was the idea to, “Play what you like, like what you play.” It is very true. We need to like what we are learning in order to enjoy the process. I have noticed that throughout my musical “career” growing up and currently, I am interested in different types of music in different contexts. With regards to playing song on the guitar, I find myself really enjoying slow, country, bluesy, singer-songwriter songs. I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that my motivation is to be able to play this song around the campfire this summer. Because I enjoy this music so much, I think “liking what I play” will really enhance that motivation!

Learning Project – My fingers hurt

Thanks to the gentle spoken, patient man on the fundamental guitar youtube channel, I have successfully learned the first four chords to the song, Like a Star. My fingers are feeling the pain, but hearing the chords I play actually sound like the song, is somewhat satisfying. The chords I have learned so far are, Em flat 7, Dm7, Am7 and Am6, along with the picking. My transition from chords to chord is not, by any means, creating a song, so that will take some work. My goal this week is to memorize these chords and play them over and over and over again until I can make it flow.

This doesn’t look natural, Dean. What are you trying to do to me.



When Dean (youtube guy) would say what chord we were switching to, I used google images to help me see what the chords looked like. Sometimes it helped, and other times I just paused on the close up of his hands and copied. He did explain the chords and transitions, but I prefer to teach myself on my own once I know the chord name and what it looks like. I learned later, the guy on the youtube channel is named Dean and has a website called Fundamental guitar. He teaches rhythm guitar and has links for various tutorials. If you are into Corinne Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley or Coldplay, I would definitely recommend checking him out.

“Google it”

For now, I am going to stick with this tutorial because I think it seems to be working nicely. In the future, if I ever plan to do a learning project with my students, I will want them to explore youtube in a meaningful way, not just use the first video they find, and then learn about the author/youtuber/channel. It just so happens that this tutorial, which was the first one I found as it was on the top searches, has the most views (I see that as a form of credibility) and has very clear instructions.

Learning Project – Progress Report no. 1

I began my first session of learning the song, Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Rae by doing some intensive ear training. Tuning a guitar without an actual guitar tuner requires much silence and patients and this  useful youtube video. After this process, I simply began to follow the instructions from the youtube video I previously posted from my last post. I am currently in the process of memorizing the chords and picking for the first verse so I can practise without the video. Once I have these chords and picking memorized, I can practise them over and over again anywhere, anytime.

You can’t tell, but this guitar is extremely out of tune.

The trouble I ran into last time I attempted to learn this song two years ago was the lack of literally playing each chords 50 times in order to be able to transition from chord to chord fluently in order to create actual music. An additional learning outcome I will achieve through this learning project will definitely be patience. I fear I may get tired of playing the same thing over and over again, but what I need to realize is, that is the only way I will be able to accomplish this song (mini self-pep talk going on, here). My goal is to be able to play this song around the campfire later this summer, so that will also be my motivation!

Learning Project Introduction

I have grown up playing and listening to music as an extra curricular activity. Some areas of focus have been choir, private classical singing training, musical theatre, and piano. I have played a little guitar here and there, but for my learning project, I want to use the web to teach myself a specific song that I have always wanted to learn. The song is called, Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Rae. I have attempted to teach myself this song before, but did not get very far, as my “picking” technique needs much practice. My goal is to, at the very least, complete the first verse and chorus of the song with the help of various youtube tutorials and researching chords and strategies.

Here is an overview of my goal, challenges I see arising, my plan, and how I plan to execute this plan:

  1. Goal statement: My goal is to be able to play the song, “Like a Star” by Corinne Bailey Rae on guitar by June 22, 2017
  2. Challenges: I see challenges as being having a time being a factor. I know I will need to practice at least 5 times a week, and I will consciously need to set this time aside in order to progress. Also, I may encounter some frustration with this project. I will need to channel this frustration as motivation to keep going!
  3. My plan: I plan to use various youtube video tutorials to help me with this. Also, I plan to practice 4 days a week with documentation and/or videos about progressions and challenges I face throughout the process.

Here is the song I plan to teach myself:

Here are some tutorial videos I plan to use: