Week 1 – Learning Project

Link back to my UPDATED learning project outline: Crunch Time – Making a Decision about my Learning Project

My first face-to-face guitar lesson was on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Music in the House, Regina. It is an old house in the downtown Regina area. When you walk in, you see multiple rooms featuring an instructor and a student and your ears are met with the muted sounds of many fingers working on a variety of instruments. When I walked in the door, I looked to the left to see and hear someone learning to play the drums, a few steps further down the hallway, another student learning the guitar before reaching the room where I was to meet my instructor. There were other rooms that I didn’t make it to yet but so far it seems like a quaint little place where students of a variety of age and ability meet with their instructors to learn their instrument of choice.

Image result for acoustic guitar anatomy

Upon arrival, I hauled in my borrowed-from-a-friend guitar which my instructor quickly tuned for me while listening to my answers about what I hoped to achieve from my lessons. My instructor proceeded to describe the anatomy of the guitar and handed me a pic (and taught me how to hold it). My instructor taught me about how strings, frets and fingers are numbered and had me practice playing a variety of notes by calling out something like “third string, second fret” (which you play with your second finger). My lesson wrapped up with learning G, C, D, Em and Am chords using tablature which I am to have memorized by next lesson.

Halfway through my lesson, I expressed that I was having difficulty seeing the strings which meant that my borrowed guitar was too big. Something I didn’t think about before my lesson! This led to a quick trip to Long and McQuade, Regina to rent an appropriately sized guitar which was much better for practicing on this week.

This week I also tested out my free Yousician trial. I am still deciding whether this app is worth the investment. But so far, I am enjoying it. If you have used Yousician before, please let me know what you think! I’d appreciate some feedback before making the purchase.

I quickly personalized my learning in the following ways and got started with the lessons.

Images Source: Yousician

The app teaches you to play using Missions and Workouts. This week I worked on the Play Strings and Play Frets missions. The app listens to you play using the microphone and gives feedback via text prompts, stars and other ways which I will highlight in next week’s post.

This was part of the very first mission. But the third mission, the app had me playing multiple strings and frets.
I had to practice this one a few times in order to improve how many stars I received.
After I realized that Yousician tracks your progress, I updated my daily activity goal to 30 minutes.

Images Source: Yousician

I have been following along with Catherine, Daisy and Amanda and really like how they are setting up their learning project using iMovie and WeVideo so I thought I’d give it a try too. Check out my first iMovie video to see some of my progress throughout the week:

I really like iMovie as you will see in my iMovie review this week. Not only did I have to learn some guitar skills this week, I also needed to learn to use iMovie. However, I ran into a few difficulties which I intend to improve upon for the next project update.

  • I found royalty free music using Youtube’s Audio Library but didn’t think about how I would be unable to play the Taylor Swift music (doh!) that my instructor had me practicing in order to switch between the C chord and Am chord. Therefore, part of my video doesn’t have the audio I want. For next week, I will have to practice playing all of the chords of the song on my own in order for it to be included in the video.
  • I have to figure out a better way to show you what I am learning on Yousician for the same copyright issues as I mentioned above.
  • I am pretty slow a plucking away on the strings so I think I’d like to use the fast-forward option that Catherine and Daisy used to cruise through the boring parts or speed up some of my playing to make it sound more coherent.
  • I recorded quite a bit of footage of myself practicing this week but I think I need to have more of a plan in terms of the layout of my vlog so that I am not just recording myself at random but with intention. Purchasing an iPhone tripod with the assistance of my classmates was a game-changer.

If you have any comments about Yousician or other tools you have used to learn to play guitar, please let me know!


7 thoughts on “Week 1 – Learning Project

  1. Hi Brooke, You’ve really thought this out well and have done some great work to date. When I went to watch your video I got this message
    ‘Video unavailable
    Watch this video on YouTube.
    Playback on other websites has been disabled by the video owner.’
    So not sure if I missed something there. Glad there are others doing the same type of thing and you are supporting each other with your learning.

  2. Great video, Brooke! I am so impressed with your dedication. I like that you are setting time aside each day to practice and that you’re getting a mix of online lessons and in-person lessons. I remember when I first started learning guitar, it was slow-going. It’s hard to get comfortable with the chords and strumming at first, but trust me, with practice and determination, you will see improvements! Something that I did to practice when I first started out was picking a song I really liked, learning the chords and strumming pattern in that song from YouTube, and practicing it over and over until I was confident with it. The first song I learned was “The First Cut is the Deepest” by Sheryl Crow haha. Thanks for the review of Yousician. I am looking forward to reading more about it in your next post. Good job!!

  3. Hi Brooke,
    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I never learnt how to play an instrument before, and I just started the piano. I know how you feel. I learnt to celebrate every little success. Thanks for sharing the Yousician app. I will definitely give it a try. I found a similar one, called Simply Piano. Unfortunately this on is only for piano. I liked the interactive side of the app, but, just like you said, not sure if I would like to invest in it.

    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear you strum more. 🙂

  4. Nice work so far! I teach guitar to my students, and one of the websites we use a lot is http://www.justinguitar.com Lots of great videos and mini lessons!

    I’ve never used Yousician before, but I may also check it out. Also, good idea to practice daily to build up the finger calluses!

  5. Keep up the effort Brooke! Learning an instrument has a very steep learning curve. I’ve never had the feel for guitar but I admire those who do. Yousician seems like a neat application. Do you know if it’s only for guitar? Are there versions for other instruments?

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