Since the midterm, I have managed to sing and play the ukulele at the same time and even learned another song! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be, as I was already thinking of the lyrics in my head while strumming the chords. With consistent practice, I was able to work on the following for the song “Can’t help falling in love”:
- Having a more relaxed strumming hand. Before, I was focused so much on what my left hand was doing and what chords to play that I didn’t pay much attention to what my strumming hand was doing. Now that I am more comfortable with the chords, I have a more relaxed strumming hand. However, there is definitely room for improvement especially during the bridge section with single downward strums.
- Smoother transition between chords. I had trouble with my chord transitions in the beginning, specifically shifting from one chord to the G chord and making sure that all the strings sound. With practice and better positioning of my ukulele, I am now able to move faster and more smoothly between different chords.
- Using different strumming patterns. For my midterm, I did a simple D-D strum for each chord of the entire song. I thought it would be good to change up the pattern so I did a D-D-U-U-D-U pattern for the second verse of the song.
Here is the link to the video of me playing this song: https://vimeo.com/327173306
The second song that I chose to learn is called “happier” by Ed Sheeran. This song only involves three chords (Am, F, and C) and they are on the easier side, so I decided to fingerpick the beginning part to make it sound more interesting and to make it more challenging. I like how this song lets me focus more on singing because the chords are simple and repetitive. One thing that I can work on for fingerpicking is making sure I don’t play the C string too loud. This can be hard to do because I use my thumb to play this string which is stronger than the rest of my fingers.
Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/326729540
Some things that I still have to work on include my thumb placement on the back of the fingerboard and making all my chords sound especially the transitioning to the G chord in “I can’t help falling in love.” I also want to experiment with using a pick for strumming. I will continue to work on these songs and fully memorize them so I can perform them to friends and family!
My greatest professional strength as an educator who will teach music is my natural ability to help and empathize with people. With my past experiences in taking music classes, I can apply the knowledge that I have learned into my teaching and help me to understand what my student’s needs are. I was once a student who knew nothing about music, but I remember a lot of the techniques my teachers have used to help me understand musical concepts that I can adapt and also use in my own teaching. Having these resources and my former teachers to ask for teaching advice will allow me to effectively help each individual student and meet their needs.
When I think about myself as a future educator teaching music, I picture having a piano in my classroom and playing the accompaniment to songs while my students sing. I feel extremely happy and excited to be sharing and teaching music to others, as it is a huge part of my life. I think that music is so important for the development of a child and for me to be a part of that is a wonderful feeling. Through my passion and enjoyment for music, I hope to create fun lessons that children will remember and impact students in a way where they will enjoy music too. I have a lot of ideas that I want to try out that I have developed through my many years of taking music lessons, my piano lesson teachings, as well as from this course and from my peers.
My greatest area of growth during the year/course has been in the area of integration of other subjects into music. Music is a universal language and can be tied into language arts through poetry and lyrics, math by counting rhythm and note values, science and socials through different song topics, and PE by playing active games with music or moving our bodies to create music. Before this course, I saw music as its own subject and wasn’t aware of all these different connections. By making cross-curricular connections, learning becomes more meaningful and purposeful for students’ learning.
Giving this presentation to the class was a good learning experience for myself and for my group. We were unsure of what was expected for this presentation as the guidelines were unclear, so we simply just created a lesson plan on how to teach the rain chant. We began our lesson by showing the class the words to the chant and saying them altogether, followed by saying the words while keeping a steady beat. We then divided the class up into three groups and assigned each group a different section of the chant. During this time, we circulated around the room to clear up any confusion or answer any questions the students had. After, we told the class to chant their part in their own groups first before chanting altogether. The first time they tried this, it sounded like a huge blur because everyone was going at different speeds. We tried this a second time and made sure to keep a steady beat, which helped them to stay in time and end together.
There are many things that we could have improved on to make this presentation run smoother. If we had put more thought into creating it, we would have been able to connect this one topic into many other subjects like how the other groups did. Seeing what the other groups came up with really inspired me to dig deeper and look beyond the topic itself, and to integrate other subjects into it as well for a more meaningful learning experience. Another thing is preparation and organization. If we had put more time into preparing the lesson, running over it, and making sure that everyone knows what they will be presenting, it would have gone more smoothly without any awkward pauses or moments of hesitation. Another important thing to keep in mind for next time is to break sections up into separate lessons and to not add too much into a single lesson plan. Because we had a lot to cover in one lesson, each section was rushed and not explained as thoroughly as it should have been. Sometimes, it is better to take away some components in a lesson in order to really focus on teaching the material well.
Overall, this experience has taught me a lot and I hope to use what I have learned and apply it to the final group presentation assignment.
For my music learning goal, I wanted to learn how to play one song using at least 3 chords while singing at the same time. I chose to learn “Can’t help falling in love” by Elvis Presley. This song uses eight chords but they are on the easier side which is a really good beginner piece to play. My goal for this check-in was to just play the chords of the song and to not worry about singing at the same time. Because I don’t have much experience playing ukulele, I chose to do a simple strumming pattern using two downward strums per chord, and maintained a slow tempo throughout. My friend bought me a ukulele for Christmas and I played around with it but I never really took it too seriously until now.
Below is a link to a video of me playing the song
Some things I need to work on include:
- Smoother and faster transitions between chords
- Experiment with positioning the ukulele higher so I can have a better view of my finger placement
- Left thumb placement on the back of the fingerboard
- Making sure all my chords sound
In particular, I found it hard to transition to the G chord and sometimes the sound wouldn’t come out right. Also in the bridge section, the E minor chord was the one I struggled with the most because it is the chord with the most fingers that need to be pressed down. If I work on positioning my fingers on the fingerboard in a way where it takes the least amount of distance to switch from one chord to the next, as well as lift my fingers up more, I would see much improvement. I also want to work on practicing on a regular basis and at a scheduled time each day. Consistency is key for improvement, so I want to aim to practice for 15-20 minutes a day. Hopefully by the final check in, I will be able to perfect this song and sing along to it, and maybe even play another song!
Here is a resource I used to help me figure out what chords I needed to play: https://www.ukulele-tabs.com/uke-songs/elvis-presley/cant-help-falling-in-love-with-you-uke-tab-13973.html