Yousician guitar lesson progress

I have talked about some positives of using Yousician in the past, and I want to add a couple more things I learned about this app.

  1. E-mail progress report: it will provide you a snapshot of your progress. As you can see, I have been working on my fretting positions.
    Screenshots of Yousician email report, edited using Paint

    2. Weekly Challenge: it was 2 songs practicing 2 ways: frets and chords. I did try fret exercises, but I found that the beat for ‘Funk’ was not in my body. I just couldn’t get it. I need to get used to the Funky beats.

    Weekly Challenge Email

    3. Certificate: PDF downloadable certificate was sent to my mailbox. I am not going to print it out, but it did give me a little bit of tickle in my heart.

    Screenshot – certificate of completion

    I am not sure if these features would motivate you, but it did for me a little bit. The weekly report reminded me when I did not practice much in a week and I did try practice more in following week.

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Tablature vs. Chords

As I continue my guitar lessons, I quickly realized that I don’t have a good strength needed to play chords well. I know if I keep practicing it I will be able to do so, but meanwhile, it is painful. So I decided to discuss tablature vs. chords today.

Screenshot from Andrew’s Kids Guitar Zone (https://www.youtube.com/user/Kidsguitarzone/)

I have been using Andrew’s Kids Guitar Zone YouTube channel, and he uses ‘tablature.’ It is simple because it shows which string and frets I need to use. I think I forgot to explain about the guitar anatomy I learned, so please check my resource. Anyways, it shows similar to how I read music when I learned to play the piano. It makes more sense to me because I actually did not learn about chords when I was taking piano lessons (well over 30 years ago…), and guitar chords really do not make sense to me yet. I hope I get there, but meanwhile, I am sticking to my path to the Fret Master since Yousician lets me practice in three ways: The Lead Guitar Path (frets), Knowledge, and The Rhythm Guitar Path (Chords). I did try working on the Knowledge lesson which was to work out my ear, listen to the sound and then to play it. I am terrible at it right now, I don’t have the guitar sounds in me yet.

I just started to try the Rhythm Guitar Path a couple weeks ago, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it is tough. I am pressing down the strings so hard, and I am usually focusing on it, so my strumming becomes weak. I tried E, Em, and Am. Em is my favorite so far because I can make this sound easily. E and Am are a bit tough for me because I cannot use my pointer finger well enough due to the awkward positioning.

But I would love to be able to master the chords eventually because guitar chords are the basics for playing songs that I want to learn. I just keep trying until my fingers toughen up.

  
Chords from http://www.fastguitartechniques.com/

I found this website https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/ that shares over a million songs with guitar tabs and chords. I got myself a chord for Do-Re-Mi I wanted to master as I talked about it in my first post. I don’t think I will get there right now but I am hoping that I can post a video of me singing and playing Do-Re-Mi with my daughter in near future.

do_re_mi

Screenshot from https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/j/julie_andrews/do_re_mi_crd.htm 

Smoke on The Water (Green Screen edition)

As I have promised, I created a video of me playing guitar with the Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water live video. And I am going to explain my process of setting up this video.

 

Screen shot from my YouTube account
  1. I recorded myself playing guitar in front of my green screen studio (one corner of my office) using iPad.
  2. Upload the video to my YouYube account, set as private. It took about 20-30 minutes to upload.
  3. Download my video from YouTube account into my PC. I was able to download from Video Manager in Creator Studio.
  4. Searched for the song and downloaded it using https://www.onlinevideoconverter.com/ into my PC.
  5. Open Movavi and started my movie editing.
  6. Fiddling around with a little bit at first, but it was a simple operation to add media and using green screen effect.
  7. A tough part of editing was to match up the tempo of my guitar and the original Deep Purple song. I learned that I should have played guitar while listening to this song instead of trying to adjust it later. I had to speed up my guitar up to 120%, but still, it did not match up quite right.
  8. Added ‘opening’ and ‘end’ using the text tool.
  9. Export it to my PC and YouTube. It took about 45 minutes to export the video. And YouTube needed more time to process my video as well.
Screenshot of my desktop

I do like this program. Beautiful and straightforward. I may consider for purchasing activation key after my 7-day-trial.

And now presenting my performance with Deep Purple, Smoke on the Water.

FYI: don’t forget to press ‘PUBLISH’ after uploading your video onto YouTube. I had to re-do it because I forgot to do so last time…

Frustrated with Video Editing

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt (2006) http://quotes.yourdictionary.com/author/douglas-adams/592123#technology 

The thing is that I do enjoy the technology available to me, but I am FRUGLE! I don’t want to pay big bucks. So I Google here and there between my projects to find suitable programs for free. That means I really need to be critical and skim read information necessary for my needs.

But my frustration level is getting higher and higher as I started to enjoy creating animation on iPad and then to edit them more. iPad apps are made to make money, I know that. So I need to pay for it if I want to get the full service such as video editing and green screen effect. But I did not want to sucked into this in-app purchase. And besides, I really need to work with a small budget for both my personal use and school use.

But it is getting to be much more complicated when you really like the program using a free version, then telling me that I don’t have enough space to upload videos now and need to upgrade = pay for it. I talked about how easy it was to use WeVideo, and I loved it. Well, I do love it, but now I have to pay if I want to do more video editing. I created a short claymation to learn about green screen technique in February. I did not take my time to blog about it, so I wanted to create a tutorial video.

Screen shot WeVideo pricing for School

But, now I cannot use WeVideo!! FRUSTRATED!! Perhaps it is worth paying for it… would you? I guess I can switch to the personal use which is much more cheaper $60 or $96 /yr. But I am going to use enough after this class?

 

Once again, I googled for other option, free green screen editing. I came across few options.

Adobe Video Spark has a great visual appearance on their website. It sounds like I can create a video in no time and able to share it. But it does not tell me if I can use green screen editing. But I can use this on my iPad and PC seamlessly, and that sounds great to me. I think I will give it a try.

I searched video editor specific to the green screen feature, but it seems like WeVideo is the only one I can use online (without downloading the program) and rest of them are available for download for free or free trial. I decide Movavi video editor a try (7-day trial).

 

My green screen ‘studio.’

I downloaded the program, and I recorded myself in front of the green screen. I knew the microphone on my laptop is not great so I decide to record using iPad. Well, the recording was easy enough but how can I transfer the videos to my PC? I have been struggling with this sharing videos on iPad with PC for a while now.

 

First, I tried plugging the iPad into PC with USB cord, and I thought the PC will recognize it as a new device and I can access iPad like a camera. Wrong. Then I decided to upload videos to YouTube account and then download them to PC. It does work, but there should be more easy way to share files between devices… I feel like I am spending so much time figuring out the best/easy ways to do things and not getting things done, which is to showcase my guitar lessons…

Here is one of my recordings in front of the green screen without editing and I will share it again after my editing session.

Guitar Lesson Progress Report

So I have been using Yousician (my last post of guitar lesson) for a while, and I wanted to share how this app works. I had the Yousician app downloaded on my laptop, and I thought I can screencast it. But, this app did not run smoothly on my laptop. The screen froze, and I could not actually use it.

Then, I thought about screen-share my iPad screen while I practice.  Alec showed us how easy it is to screen-share his iPhone using Quicktime. However, it only works on Mac. I didn’t realize that until I tried it. Then, I google how to screen-share iPad screen on PC. I found an easy way to record iOS screen: Apowersoft Phone Manager. The tutorial of this program looked pretty simple, so I downloaded this program. I can connect my iPad by tapping “AirPlay” on my iPad and then open the “Mirroring” function. In a matter of a second, my iPad screen was on my PC screen, and I clicked record.

My laptop screen shot

And here is my first recording.

Well, the recording was easy enough, but the video feed on my PC was delayed, and although the sound on iPad was recorded it was off from the recorded screen… on top of being off timing, my guitar sound was not being recorded. Oh, Peach FUZZ!! (a phrase from my daughter’s favorite cartoon Paw Patrol.)

Now, I needed another way to document my progress, and I chose Screencastify (Chrome extension) to record both screen and my voice and guitar sound. I was kind of pumped about problem-solving this issue by myself (meaning did not need to Google to come up with this idea) but it did not work, again!

I did not consider the fact that the iOS recorder was still recording off timing meaning my laptop capacity for video recording (or something heavy duty) is terrible. My 10 years old PC just cannot handle it. Moreover, my voice and guitar sound were not audible (PC microphone did not catch the sound) and there was ringing due to having two devices too close by. Can I salvage this video? Should I try recording a voice-over and edit it? I am actually spending more time problem solving this recording issue over my guitar practice… But if I overcome this, I will be able to screencast the iPad screen to create tutorials or just share it with my colleagues and students.

I am seriously considering purchasing Mac… if I had Mac, I wouldn’t have this issue.

Yousician

My learning project has been kind of slow going, but I just started to use Yousician app on my iPad. I saw this advertised when I started my project watching YouTube videos and I thought I would give it a try. It’s been 2 weeks since I downloaded the app and I only practiced 3-4 times with this; however, I do like it and here are some positive point:

  1. It’s free. You get 20 minutes practice daily for free. If you want to practice more, you can upgrade to Premium. (I don’t think I will though, because 20 minutes practice is just enough for me right now.img_5427
  2. You can choose different instruments such as Bass, Ukulele, and Piano. I might want to try Ukulele next. I watched James’ learning project and I really liked the sound of the ukulele.
  3. Yousician has the guitar tuner which is much easier than clip-on type. It tells if the sound is too low or high with easy to read indicator. It also tells the correct code for each string on the screen and I don’t need to memorize them all. (or perhaps I should memorize them all… well, eventually I will.) img_5430
  4. You can practice skills in the game-like settings. First, you can start with tutorial video about what will be covered in the section, then you can start practice what you are working on. I am working on frets: which are those thin metal bars on the guitar neck. I really like this practice because I only need to focus on one string at a time. img_5428
  5. This game like setting gives you instant feedback on whether you going too slow or fast. You can change the tempo to slower in the beginning of practice, then, you can speed up the tempo as you get comfortable with finger placements.
  6. This app is downloadable to PC as well. I might try PC version so I can record my learning project using iPad.

So far, Yousician has been a pretty good companion for my learning project.

Smoke on the Water

...smoke on the water...//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
by Fernando J. Toucedo Urban …smoke on the water…

My learning project has been put off for a while due to my work schedule and caring for a sick child. However, I was able to do a quick review of Lesson-2A video from Andrew’s Kids Guitar Zone.com and learn a song to play using one string. Great thing about this lesson was the instant gratification; I felt very proud being able to play a song (opening) of ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple. This song (opening) is easy enough that I could memorize and I was able to practice when I found time (like 5 minutes) here and there.

Now, I have a big plan now to try utilizing ‘green screen’ video technique Alec talked about in Feb. 8th’s class, so it will look like I am playing with Deep Purple in the video. I am very excited about trying this ‘green/blue screen’ video technique and sharing the technique with my students in my animation after school program at school. (If you are interested in trying Stop Motion animation using iPad with your students, check my Padlet page: Animation Unit. I have posted learning tasks for students to go through.)

 

Tuning up

Finally, I started my learning project and I decided to learn how to tune my guitar using a clip-on tuner. I viewed the tutorial videos (lesson 1A to 1E) by Andrew Keppie (Kids Guitar Zone.com) today. His videos are short and sweet, easy to follow (and yes, it is for kids), I was able to learn the basics under one hour. As Andrew said in the last video, I think I really need to find 15 min everyday to try practicing my guitar for sure. Because I had hard time remembering the codes (E, A, G, D, C, and E) for each strings even right after I finished tuning guitar and tried to videolog myself. So I needed to go back to videos few times to take some notes.

During I was viewing the video tutorials, an advertisement for music App, called Yousician. This app looks like something I can try easily and it is free to download on my iPad. I hope I can post a review about this app next time.

My Learning Project: Guitar

Yes, I have decided! I am going to become a guitar player. I have always had strong admiration for guitar players since I was little, but I had never really tried to play guitar as young person. I had talked about it to my husband (when I saw the Chordbuddy on Shark Tank, 2012) and he gave me a kid sized guitar (because my hands are small) for Christmas that year. I was very excited about my guitar but I just did not get into it. I thought about taking a guitar lesson in town then, but I was reluctant to do so. Perhaps because I HATED practicing piano when I took it (age 6-11).

I, now, can analyze my reluctance toward practicing piano better…

  1. Practicing the basic skills were boring and I just wanted to learn how to play popular songs.
  2. I did not practice enough to master the basic skills necessary, so the teacher did not approve for playing popular songs.
  3. Teacher wouldn’t let me move on so I wouldn’t want to practice, so I never improved.

Bad cycle… (ahh… this is kind of familiar to some of my students during my internship last fall…) I know I have to practice the basic skills but I think I really need quick and tangible reward (like many young learners are…) So, I came up with my guitar lesson scheme.

  1. No cost = only using YouTube Videos. (Although it is tempting, I will not buy Chordbuddy.)
  2. Motivation 1: Practice songs that can be played with ONE chord at time. (Practicing the basic skills but I can play songs at the same time!)
  3. Motivation 2: I get sing and play with my daughter.
  4. Goal: Play guitar and sing Do Re Me with my daughter.

I found this YouTube channel called, ‘Kids Guitar Zone.com‘ to start with and I plan to create a Padlet page to organize tasks (videos). I may try video diary but I am not sure how comfortable I will be yet.

Here is my ultimate goal!