Music to My Ears: Summary of Learning Guitar

Music to My Ears: Summary of Learning Guitar

Hi everyone! Several weeks ago I decided to learn to play guitar for EDTC 300. While it wasn’t always music to my ears, I did learn a lot and had fun along the way! As we focused on learning through online means and documenting the process with online tools, I had the opportunity to try out a wide range of new platforms. Below is a breakdown of each week.

Week 1: Introduction

Created using Canva.
  • I shared a video of the chords I knew at the start of my project, my limited knowledge of tabs, and how slowly I transitioned from chord to chord. 
  • I set goals for the next several weeks.
  • I had little confidence in my ability to play chords that actually sounded decent. However, I knew I had a good foundation with my knowledge of music from years of playing piano.

Tools/Resources Used:

Week 2: Tuning & Guitar Theory

  • I learned to tune a guitar. My favourite method was using the Snark vibration tuner. 
  • Learned so much guitar theory, from this awesome video
  • Learned about guitar strings and parts of the guitar. 
    • Elephants And Dogs Got Big Ears
  • Learned the G chord. 

Tools/Resources Used:

Week 3: Chords & Strumming Patterns

  • Learned Bm7 chord.
  • Started working on the F chord.
  • Created my own chord chart diagram using these free fretboard diagrams.
  • Created a Pinterest board to organize ideas, diagrams, and songs in one place (such as these 10 Guitar Chords for Beginners).
  • Tried playing some songs to practice chord switches.
  • Made my first screencast for part 2 of week 3 to help people read chord charts if they’re interested in learning! 

Tools/Resources Used:

Week 4: Barre Chords

Screencast of Animoto.
  • I tried out Animoto to share my progress.
  • Created a screencast of Animoto basics.
  • Did exercises to strengthen my hand muscle to play barre chords.
  • Began working on the F barre chord.
  • Kept working on chord exercises on the Yousician app.

Tools/Resources Used:

Week 5: Playing Songs & Learning Guitar Maintenance

  • Learned B7 chord.
  • Learned Dm chord.
  • Kept working on barre chords.
  • Definitely noticed improvement on my chord switches!
  • Loved using InShot to provide a glimpse into my practicing.
  • Updated (from week 3) my chord chart with new ones I learned.

Tools/Resources Used:

Week 6: Putting it all Together

  • Took to social media to ask others about how often they change guitar strings.
  • Stepped out of my comfort zone and created a song in GarageBand.
  • Created a book to demonstrate some of how far I’ve come since week 1. For example, I doubled the amount of chords I know and feel more confident to put those chords to use and play songs.

Tools/Resources Used:

Did I Achieve My Goals?

Looking at my goals I created in week 1, I definitely accomplished most of them. The only goal I didn’t attain as greatly was my ability to read and play guitar tabs as I made the decision not to focus on them. However, during week 2 I learned a lot about guitar theory which will improve my ability to play guitar tabs. I have also discovered more resources to help my guitar tab reading and playing in the future.

Take-Aways From Online Learning:

  1. Opportunity
    • There are many online resources out there that can teach us nearly anything. All you really need is time and resources (depending on what you choose) to learn a new skill!
  2. Flexible
    • What I loved about online learning was I could work on it whenever I had time. If I was learning in person, I would have set times for guitar lessons, but this way I felt more in charge of my learning. This is something I want to keep in mind for my future classroom. I think it’s great to give students opportunities to shape their own learning and to learn at their own speed.
  3. Support
    • Thanks to social media, there are lots of support systems out there to keep you motivated. It’s easy to leave comments on various websites asking questions, or to post your progress somewhere and get feedback if you choose to do so.
  4. Choice
    • When learning online you can choose from a wide range of resources as I listed in each week’s summary. I love how you can experiment with different online sources and find what works best for you.
  5. Affordable
    • Instead of paying for in-person guitar lessons, I was able to learn so much from free online resources. Of course, our technology such as laptops or phones cost money, but if you have access to tech, you have access to great online learning. Again, something to keep in mind for my future class.

While there are many positives to online learning, I sometimes felt overwhelmed with the amount of information online. With that in mind, I think it’s important to investigate online sources and choose what works best for you!

Additionally, I loved trying out new tools, such as InShot, to document and enhance my learning. I believe this will help in my future classroom as I have a better understanding of various online tools. Furthermore, I see the importance of getting myself familiar with new online resources so I can help students navigate them. New doesn’t have to be scary!

What I Would Do Differently

  • I wouldn’t plan on learning tabs at the beginning as I think I’ll use chords more in the future.
  • Some weeks I learned new chords and also learned songs. I should have incorporated that week’s new chords into the songs instead of finding a song with any of the chords I knew. This would have helped me better excel with specifically learning new chords.

In Summary…

Learning guitar wasn’t always easy! My fingers hurt at times, I got frustrated with my inability to play a chord, or switch chords. However, that’s all part of learning! Something to keep in mind for the future as there will be times when students and I are frustrated and it would be easier to give up. Yet, it’s so rewarding to push through and be able to see progress over time! I was always motivated by encouraging comments from my peers (as seen in my networked learning video), so thank you EDTC 300!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a short time and I look forward to improving my guitar skills, continuing to learn online, and trying out new online tools!

“Never be afraid to try new things, and make some mistakes, it’s all part of life and learning.”

– Unknown

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