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.

App Reviews – Summary of Personal Learning

ECMP455 has been the most practical, applicable course I have taken ever. I had something new I tried or wanted to try with students each week. I was very fortunate to have this after school program coordinator job, and I was able to try different apps or techniques.

StopMotion is the easiest app that anybody can use. Especially for elementary school students or beginners, the free version offers simple navigation to create movies. Take series of photos, record, etc. For students who are tech savvy, the free version is not enough and will want to upgrade.

I tried using Scratch Jr. with my Gr. 3 STEM program. I just let students explore first then showed them what coding can do. Some students really got into it but not all. I was frustrated with not being able to screencast iPad onto Smartboard to walk through the program. I have used Scratch with older students, and I like it better than the app.
LEGO is AWESOME! I borrowed Lego Mindstorms kits from the division library and started the program with it. Once again not all students liked it, but the possibilities of Lego in the classrooms are limitless. We did not get into the coding portion for this robotics yet, but I am looking forward trying it out.

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WeVideo is a great online video editing tool. I have been using the free version, and it served me well, but now I need an upgrade so because I need more storage.  Chroma Key feature was very easy to use, please read this if you are interested.

Touch Cast Studio is a free app for iPads, you can create videos using templates: annotating web pages, images, maps or file, or different styles of video casts such as News Studio, Talk Show, Business, Sports, How-to videos or Reviews, or simply create your own. I chose this app for my final summary. I was trying to create a talk show like, but I really do not like being on camera… This is something that I need to practice and become more confident in. But, I can see this app work for upper elementary students. I am thinking about organizing a group of students to broadcast the school announcements or the school newscast with this app in future. It will be FUN!

Initially, I planned to create a talk show with 2 characters and wrote a script for it. I did film it as I was switching the characters. I did not like it, so I changed it to the one above. Maybe I should have kept my first one too, but I erased it for my iPad’s storage space. Oh, yes, you do need a good storage space to do the TouchCast recording.

Google Generation

Screenshot from Google search on March 22, 2017

On Week 9 of the class ECMP455, we discussed the influence of technology on society and how have we, personally been affected; moreover, how have the education been affected.

To start this blog post, I ‘googled’ the word google without thinking anything. ‘Googling‘ have become my habit and go-to solution when I am in front of the computer writing because it often gives me a spark of inspiration on what to write or how to expand my thoughts. This habit made me wonder… ‘how many times a day do I use Google?’ and now I am clicking on the tab with Google already open… and I just found out how to check my history of search activities.
On average, I google 30 items a day and there were 112 items on March 5. This myactivity.google.com shows your search activities on YouTube, Search, Image Search, and Ads (if you clicked on it). It states that search histories are privacy protected but I guess the hardware and web browsers itself can save histories so I am not sure about how safe your privacy is. Wow, I derailed again, that’s what google does to me all the time… and yes, Google has been affecting my attention and memories ever since I became the user.

  • My attention and focus have shortened and often scattered
  • My memory retention has shortened
  • Do not remember the details of information anymore, but rather remembering how to get to the information instead.
  • It takes longer time to accomplish a task (due to the short focus)
  • A Large volume of the list of to-dos and to-reads later (Pin now and read later…)

Thinking of how I grew up and been educated in the pre-google generation and how I have been affected by the technology now, it is really silly of me to think of teaching young people the same way I learned.

  • Copying down onto notebooks from the blackboard, books, and information from teachers.
  • Recite until you memorize.
  • Drill practices until you master the math concepts/formulas and able to apply.

Some of the information I learned and/or memorized have stuck in my brain for good. Some of them become outdated and eliminated from my memories; however, I can google them if I want to know now. Randi talks in her blog post, ‘Google-able Teaching’  that

we shouldn’t be teaching things that are Google-able because we are shortchanging our students thought process. We are hindering their development by giving them linear short cuts that give stop points.

Randi’s post reminded me of the grade 8 ELA (Guided Reading) class that I was in last month. I love this teacher, how passionate and considerable of students’ needs; as well, she is a leader in technology in the school. However, she told students to use their cellphones to check for definitions of words in the novel without considering any other ways to know the meaning of the words. I just could not dare to speak up then, but my thoughts circled. “What about re-reading the line before and after and THINK and connect the meaning of the word before googling?” 

the Google Generation
– the web-savvy young people for whom the world is just a click away
– a generation of young people, born after 1993, growing up in a world dominated by the internet

What do we need to teach our young people now? Re-reading the curriculum documents, what really matter for us and students are perhaps the followings.

Broad Areas of Learning
Cross-curricular Competencies

Subject matters are important for sure (and for you Math major folks), but I would rather focus on developing skills and strategies to evaluate, utilize and manipulate information available to us; furthermore, to make meaning and to connect to themselves. I am reading The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo and I am starting to see why teaching the reading strategies for comprehension has much more purpose than being able to just read now. These skills are all applicable to any information you come across. I also would incorporate more project-based learning and inquiry learning into my future teaching and I know that I do have to teach students how to work in groups, collaboratively and how to work independently before any project/inquiry. I learned that the collaborative learning does not come to students naturally as much as you would like them to. They are required to use social skills and negotiate multiple perspectives, and it is not easy (for us adults too).

So in a way, teachers are here to teach students skills and strategies to work collaboratively in communities, then broad societies.

To end my post, I attached my to-read laters (links to readings) in regards to Google Generation. Perhaps it is already outdated, but I thought it might be worth reading.

John Harris: Is life so easy for the Google Generation?

The Google Generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of  the future

 

CAPTIONS!!

subtitle-horse
Photo 1: Subtitle Horse Main Page: http://subtitlehorse.com/

I am currently taking Educational Psychology 400: Working with Differences and Diversity and we have discussed assistive technologies in classrooms. Alec mentioned about accessibility during the week 5 lecture and I decided to take a bit of time to check it out. First I check the link (Captioning your videos for free) that was posted in our weekly schedule. It had three different online tools/sites to add captions to your video. I checked all three and decided to give ‘Subtitle Horse a try first. One thing that caught my eyes was it did not require me to sign-up or anything, I could simply copy and paste a link to a YouTube video (Photo 1). Unfortunately, it did not allow me to submit a video and took me to an error page. So, I decided to give other ones a try, and I checked out and compared Dotsub and Amara. From the first impressions of the cover pages of both site, I chose Amara a try. (Visual appearance of a website: organization, color theme, and ease of navigation are something I always consider.)

amara1
Photo 2: Amara submit video

 

I signed up with my Google account (for FREE) then got started. Uploading a video was as easy as copy and paste YouTube video link, then click Begin (Photo 2). Then the video was onto the editing page (Photo 3). It looked pretty simple to use: type what you hear while watching the video. So I started to type as I hear the video rolling. After

Amera editing page
Photo 3: Amera editing page

I finished typing and I clicked a button to sync the captions and video. Well, now I was in trouble. It told me that I have too many words in a caption and needed to be under 42 words. Then I found there was a link to a subtitling Guideline (Photo 4).

Photo 4: guideline
Photo 4: guideline

 

Well, it took me over an hour to reconfigure the captions and then trying to sync with the video.

Well, it took me over an hour to reconfigure the captions and then trying to sync with the video. One of the major reason why it took me a long time to sync was my redundancy of speech in the video. I just had to call it a quit after it was getting to 2 hours of work and not completed. So I saved the video as it was and this is the end result. It looked pretty good for my first try.

In the end, I do like Amara and I see a potential for educational use. Like any new tool, you need to learn and get used to the program. Although it is a time-consuming job to type subtitle then syncing it to the video, it is worth a try. As an ESL learner myself, I used subtitles as I watched movies in the early period of my language learning. It was helpful that I was able to confirm what I was hearing with what was on the subtitle. I think any videos that I plan to show to students could benefit from having the subtitles on it. For example, students with a hearing impairment or difficulties, auditory processing disorder, EAL students and all students can benefit from having both listening and reading input. In addition, Amara allows you to type your subtitles in different languages as well. This feature may be used for any students who take foreign languages; for example, students may create a video with a target language and add subtitles as an assignment. I can use this feature to share some personal videos of my daughter with my family in Japan by adding Japanese subtitles.

Here, I made an infographic of Amara’s Pros/Cons Amara by Eriko Parker

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.

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.