Category Archives: Learning Project

It’s the FINAL countdown.

It has happened. It is the FINAL countdown (or the final learning project post). I have appreciated this course more than any other because I have been able to pick up my guitar and learn to play enough to feel confident in continuing the skill. This final learning project post is meant to conclude all of the learning that has happened over the last 11 weeks and to share resources that I have experienced and will be valuable to others. I hope that this post gives you motivation and confidence to learn an instrument. I will be grateful for this experience because of how valuable this will be in the continuation of learning the guitar.

An Overview of my Learning Project

Week One: Enthusiasm is everything

I started this journey of blogging by describing my personal connection, through my grandparents ability to play the guitar, and my enthusiasm towards learning the guitar after owning it for so long. I concluded with the things I needed to start this process and how I approached learning this new skill. Read this blog post here.

Week Two: Easter Bunnies Get Dizzy At Easter

Easter Bunnies Get Dizzy At Easter (EBGDAE) is the acronym for memorizing the strings. I also learned the anatomy of an electric guitar, how to hold the guitar and pick, plug into an amplifier and how to strum the guitar. The main resource I used this week was Fender Play and its’ sister app Fender Play Tuner. I used my Samsung phone to record a few songs and uploaded these voice notes to Google Drive for easy sharing.

Week Three: Strumming Along

In Strumming Along, I spent a lot of time learning the introductory courses offered on Fender Play. It consisted of learning the Batman theme song riff, strumming quarter, half and whole notes, how to read chord diagrams and tabs, and finishing with learning ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love’ by Barry White. This week was a confidence booster that I could play these songs and it started the enthusiasm train. I used my Samsung phone again to record some voice notes of me playing the two songs and shared them on Google Drive again. Read this blog post here.

Week Four: A String of Bad Luck

This week’s post explained how Fender Play started to not be as helpful as I felt it was too challenging but I kept pushing forward. This week felt a bit of enthusiasm fall off because it wasn’t giving me as many results as I was hoping for. I did learn how to play E minor and A minor notes, which are common notes in almost all songs played on the guitar. I used Spotify this week to help identify some songs that I was learning. I find it helpful to hear the original version so that I know what I am trying to generate.

Week Five: Fender Bender

This week I learned how to play more of the common notes that exist amongst songs, specifically the D, G and C notes. This was really great for laying out a path for me to continue with this journey. I skipped ahead in the Fender Play courses and found a Lady Gaga song which was incredibly fun to play. I did have to use Spotify again to learn some of the other riffs. Continue learning about this week’s learning here.

Week Six: I Know How to Shred

In I Know How to Shred, I used a new resource called Ultimate Guitar. After realizing that Fender Play was no longer helping me fast enough for this project, I researched for more resources to prolong my journey. I also used these: Guitar Mastery Method, GuitarLessons, and Songsterr. These resources aided the progress I had already made and allowed me to make even more.

Week Seven: I’m at a Payphone

This week’s blog post included the beginning of learning the song ‘Payphone’ by Maroon 5. This started to get me really excited because it felt like I was able to keep up for once. It felt like the last 6 weeks have paid off. I researched some individuals on YouTube who had tutorials for this specific song and landed on Fingerstyle Club. The guitarist had tabs and chords available through Patreon. I found this “finger-style” option a bit different than my normal but it was enticing. I also used my Macbook’s preloaded PhotoBooth app for creating the video on my blog post.

Week Eight: If Happy Ever Afters Did Exist

In If Happy Ever Afters Did Exist, I ventured a bit further into playing Payphone by Maroon 5. I attempted to use Ultimate Guitar tabs again to learn, however, I had to look up a couple of things to fill in some gaps in my skills. I found JustinGuitar on YouTube (Stop Struggling with Strumming!) and this helped explain strumming patterns to me. I also researched some other resources for this project, specifically Artist works and JamPlay.

Week Nine: Capo n’ Crunch

In this week’s blog post, I learned how to properly place a capo onto the fretboard and continued to learn Payphone. I also reverted back to the Fingerstyle Club version of Payphone because the result sounded a lot more like the song itself. In the previous resources, the guitar was usually the background music to the singing so it was not as exciting. I also tried Chordify based on a referral from a classmate. It was great but not as awesome as Fingerstyle Club Payphone tutorial.

Week Ten: All of my change I’ve spared on you

To conclude, here is a video of me playing what I have learned from the Fingerstyle Club tutorial. Enjoy and thank you for following along with my progression with the guitar! I used Photo Booth to create the video of me playing the first 3 bars of Payphone by Maroon 5. I look forward to playing the whole song one day soon!

Top 6 Recommendations for Learning Guitar

Further Explanation:

Here are my top 5 resources for learning guitar. These resources were valuable in beginning my guitar-playing journey.

  1. YouTube: YouTube is the best way to learn an instrument (among other things) because there are several different versions and ways of learning. I really like that you can Google Cast to a smart TV (I used this lots). I also used YouTube to upload many pieces of my learning project so that I could share things on my blog seamlessly. It is my highest recommended option for learning an instrument.
  2. Fender Play: Fender Play is a paid app, however, it is only $6.99/month. It has a WIDE variety of lessons and courses to lead you to mastery. It is something that I used at the beginning of this journey but trailed off due to the time constraint. It is something that I will continue to pay for to further my skills. It has a variety of delivery methods which makes it great for every type of learner.
  3. Ultimate Guitar: Ultimate Guitar Tabs and Chords is an app and a website that has MANY versions of each song imaginable. It is great because it has many options available to you including, metronome, song playback, chord diagrams (pro and chords), showing the fretboard, choosing the speed of playback, etc. It is user friendly and easy to start playing a song quickly. See my walkthrough here.
  4. ArtistWorks: ArtistWorks is VERY similar to Fender Play because they are both created with the same concept: learn from guitar masters. It is a paid app so I did not indulge in paying for this app as I did for Fender Play. It has a lot of positive reviews from what I can find online and I would recommend it as well.
  5. Yousician: From what I can see without paying, it looks very interactive and they make it fun to learn. One thing it does have over ArtistWorks and FenderPlay is that they give feedback to your playing. I think that interaction is crucial to learning a new instrument. Yousician offers guitar, bass, piano, singing, and ukulele lessons.

Classmate Shout-outs!

In this learning project I have been able to follow along with others from EDTC 300 that were also learning instruments. Check them out below:

To Conclude

I have had such a fantastic, frustrating, exciting, and defeating experience with this learning project and I feel much more confident because of it. I have many skills that will prime the continuation of these guitar skills. I have a lot to learn but I am grateful that something such as an assignment has made me pick up my guitar after owning one for almost a year and a half. Thank you to the University of Regina for having a course such as this available to its students and thank you to Katia, our professor, for providing us with the opportunity for such an assignment. I look forward to continuing this guitar journey over time. Thank you to those who have followed along and sang praises in their own blogs. Finally, I hope that you have gained something from following along with me. Rock on!

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Keep it going..

My learning project has been so much fun. For real. Not once did it feel like something I was forced to do, or a requirement. It was something I enjoyed, and I am making a promise to myself to keep it going. I want to continue to improve my golf game over the summer, and I have a feeling for the rest of my life (the teaching life lends itself to getting a few golf games in)! I will continue to use some of the different resources I’ve found along the way to help me improve any imperfections I may have (and trust me, I have many) in my game, including Chris Ryan and Meandmygolf, along with various tools used as mediums to help me with my game including Twitter and YouTube. Here is a recap of my learning over the past few weeks!

My very first blog post was about how good I would look on the course in my attire. In hindsight, super irrelevant!

Week One:
I remember starting this blog, talking about how little I knew about golf and seemingly adamant that the most important first step was having these new golf shoes that I got for Mother’s Day. The shoes ended up being a bit too big and I had to exchange them, however because they were bought online the new pair still hasn’t arrive. I’m telling you this because I want you to know that even though I thought that was the most important element to my game, I ended up enduring my entire project with just basic running shoes. That is certainly one thing I took away from this learning process, you often don’t realize the most important tools and skills until you are actually hands on learning! Very reflective of some of the content I’ve experienced throughout my time in EDTC300. I never realized how important Twitter was, until I was actively using it!

Possibly the widest stance in golf history?

Week Two:
This was my round at Deer Valley. Despite the incredibly breathtaking scenery, there was something hideous on that course that day. My golf stance! This is when my horrific driving stance was first brought to my attention. I always knew I kind of looked like I was hitting a baseball when I was golfing, but I didn’t realize quite how much it looked like a full body slapshot/baseball swing until I had it captured on camera! This was a great round for a baseline, to see where I was at, and see what needed improvement.

Week Three:
During this week I took what I noticed at Deer Valley, and I worked on correcting it. For example, I narrowed my stance, and also took some time to fine tune my pitching thanks to a tutorial on one of my favourite golf YouTube channels. Here is some of the improvement I saw after these changes were made:

Week Four:
This week had me out on the range at the Murray Golf Course, again focusing on my pitching and my drives. I used a super cool app called Video Blend to help me spot differences between a good swing and a bad swing (based on the product of the swing). Here are a couple cool examples of my overlays:

The face of my driver incorrectly faces down instead of out in front of me.

Week Five:
My husband had pointed out the face of my driver when I swing my club. He noted it seems to be pointing downwards as I start my backswing which actually, in turn, changed a lot of things about my swing (my right knee collapsed and rotate in too much, my hips unlined, etc). So I took to the internet to find out how to solve this and of course, trusty old YouTube came up with this awesome video. This allowed me head into my next practice on the range with a bit more knowledge and expertise!

Week Six:
Next it was time to put in some practice! Here you can see me changing my swing (this was NOT EASY) by adjusting my backswing to incorporate what I had learned the week prior.

Week Seven:
This week I took all the knowledge gained and headed out to Flowing Springs to put it to use! For once it wasn’t extremely windy, which was really nice!! I shot a 98, which is high, but I’ve never shot under 100 in my life. It’s pretty incredible what some practice can do over only a couple of months! Here’s a slow-mo of my final swing, where I put it all together:

Wrapping it up..
So to sum it all up, I’d like you to take a look at the following couple of videos. This is my husband and my daughter. My husband often just practices his swing around the house just focusing on little technique changes here in there. Notice my daughter, copying him:

I didn’t just add these on for the cuteness factor, although this totally does melt my heart! I wanted to give simple proof that kids are always watching, and what we model as educators is always being observed by kids. So although many of us pride ourselves on being life long learners, I think it’s important to show that to students as well, if that’s genuinely what we want them to be! Whether we are modelling appropriate digital citizenship or our desire to continuously learn and improve, kids are watching and they are silently demanding the best of us, so that they can, in turn, be their best as well!

My new drive!

This week I was working on opening up the face of my club when I’m driving the ball. Recall that prior to this, I had done some research and learned that I need to have the face of my club facing in front of me as I swing. Here is how the face of my club looked before:

As you can see, the face of my club was facing slightly towards the ground as opposed to straight at the camera. Ideally, if the camera man is looking at me straight on as they are in this view above, the face of my club would be looking right back at the camera man. Here the face of my club is not quite doing that!

So I took to the driving range to give this as go. Remember, even slight changes like this can be quite drastic. As I practiced this new swing I felt super awkward and uncomfortable. I know I need to get out of the comfort zone of what I was doing before because it wasn’t consistent, but it certainly takes a while to get the hang of! Here are four of my new and improved swings:

As you can see, on my backswing the face of my club was facing up (in front of me, to face the camera man) way more than last week! I was curious though, if it was remaining opened as I brought my backswing back down as I go to the hit the ball, so I took some screenshots to compare:

As you can see, the follow through portion of my backswing still has the face of the club facing ahead, but I think not quite as much as the backswing itself, so this is something I’ll work on for next as well. This weekend I’m going to go do a full round of golf and hopefully try and tie together all the different tricks I’ve been working on over the past seven weeks or so!
One thing that I’ve definitely noted is that you don’t just switch a part of your golf game and a miracle happens where everything is better all of the sudden! There is so much fine tuning and practice needed and this was proven to me today. It was pretty ugly to start, but I can see how this change could increase consistency in my drives over time!