My Journey So Far

I am over halfway through this course and am feeling really positive about my progress on the ukulele. By midterm, my goal was to be able to play at least 3 chords without looking at a cheat sheet, working towards being able to play two songs (Over the Rainbow, and The Good Morning Song) by the end of term. I am happy to say that I can successfully play both songs (5 chords) and am eager to learn how to play more!

Being presented with this assignment, I was skeptical/nervous about my abilities to learn how to play an instrument, completely self-directed, while also completing my other school work and life demands. But I have found that playing the ukulele has become a relaxing and enjoyable activity for me-one that I hope to keep up with, well beyond this course.

Over the Rainbow

Practicing this song has been a lot of fun. It is so satisfying when I finally perfect chord transitions that were previously difficult. The transition from Em to F, then C, and back to F, has been the most challenging part of learning this song but it sure feels good when I finally get it. The strumming pattern (down, down, up, up, down, up) was difficult to get used to but as I get more comfortable with the song, I am able to ‘feel’ the strumming pattern, rather than have to think about it. Singing along while playing the ukulele was not one of my musical goals and I am relieved because I find it difficult to sing and play at the same time. It is almost like I completely forget the chords as soon as I sing the lyrics.  Luckily, I have a few singers in the house who love to accompany me with a melody. Below is a video of us practicing ‘Over the Rainbow.’

The Good Morning Song

I was so focused on playing ‘Over the Rainbow’ that I forgot to practice ‘The Good Morning Song’ until a few days ago. To my surprise, I learned it really fast because I have been using the same 3 chords (C,G, and F) in the other song-as well as the same strumming pattern. My kids really like when I play this one, especially when we incorporate saying hello in other languages (bonjour, hola etc.)

What’s Next?

My midterm goal was to be able to play 3-5 chords and 2 strumming patterns. This would build upon my final goal of successfully playing ‘Over the Rainbow’ and the ‘The Good Morning Song’. Although, I made a mistake thinking that these 2 songs had different strumming patterns (they are the same), I have achieved my year end goal of being able to play the two songs-by mid term. I will continue to practice them because I am not yet playing them perfectly every time but I have decided to broaden my year end goal to include a new song. I wanted to choose a song that would incorporate a new strumming pattern, have more advanced chord transitions and incorporate a new chord. With this criteria in mind, I landed on  ‘Shallow’ by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I will continue on with the YouTube tutorials to help me advance in my skills and learn this new song (and hopefully more)!