Final Music Reflection

This past semester I set out to learn how to play the ukulele. My original goals were to learn a  few basic chords and scales and then maybe learn a song. When I was making these goals I did not know much about the ukulele, quickly after beginning to learn my first two chords I realized that scales are not as commonly practiced on string instruments so decided to jump right into learning a basic song. The first song that I learned how to play only had three chords in it and is a very well known pop song for me and my peers, it was Riptide by Vance Joy. Learning the chords was difficult but it was a challenge that I took on and accomplished, the harder part was definitely learning the strumming pattern.

I decided that instead of trying to perfect every chord transition and strumming pattern, which drove me crazy trying to do, it would be more fun for me to learn a few songs that my friends will be able to sing along to while we are spending time together at the beach. So far I have learned how to play: Riptide, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Country Roads. Once I learned the basic chords in Somewhere Over the Rainbow it was easy to find other songs which contained these! I think the hardest part of learning a new song, still, is having to learn a new strumming pattern. I found with the last song I learned, which is Country Roads, that if I drew out big arrows on a piece of paper in the direction of the strumming pattern, that it is a great visual cue for me while I am playing!

The hardest song out of the three is definitely Country Roads, I still struggle with some parts of it when I play. This song introduced me to finger plucking the chords as well as doing a strumming for the chorus, i didn’t realize just how challenging putting the two together would be! Even harder than that is try to get my singing to match the song even though I’m finger plucking much slower than the real time. I am very proud of myself for being able to play the song from beginning to end even without singing, so adding singing on top was just the icing on the cake! My playing is far from perfect, however I still wanted to share it to show how far I have come already.

I have been very sick the past few months, I have a had a very bad cough which I am on antibiotics for and the doctors are still figuring out what is wrong. Because of this, it has been really hard for me to practice my singing! It is very rare for me to be able to make it through an entire song without having a full-blown cough attack where it is hard to breathe, but it is so much more fun to sing while I play.

I am so proud of myself and all the work that I have put into learning the ukulele. I was very hesitant at the beginning of the semester because I am not usually very good at self-regulated learning and dedicating time for myself to accomplish tasks. I think because I knew this about myself I put a lot of time in in the beginning so that I could definitely accomplish my goals! Since my midterm reflection video, I am no longer doing ten minutes a day, but I am playing more frequently as a way to relax rather than as a school project that I have to learn. I’ve never experienced playing an instrument for fun or simply laying down and thinking “I want to be playing an instrument” was not only a super weird lifestyle change for me but it has also helped me drastically reduce my screen time and get a better nights sleep!

I am thinking of buying a ukulele of my own this summer. My dad was so excited when he found out the songs I was learning that he pulled out his old guitar and learned the same ones. When I go back to my parents house to visit on holidays him and I are going to have our own little jam session, and I am so excited to be able to make these memories with my father thanks to this course.

This whole process has helped me to learn more about myself and my own learning habits, as well as has forced me to reflect that everyone learns in very different ways at varying rates. A large group of us set out to learn to play the ukulele over the past few months and everyone has accomplished different skills. Some are off writing their own songs and singing, some have learned a song, and others are proud that they were able to learn three basic chords! This whole project helped to put me back in the shoes of the learning rather than the instructor. It will definitely help me when I am creating lesson plans and assignments. Now when I am figuring out what to do for assessment or for projects I will be sure to try and create a place for all learners as well as allow them to practice regulating their learning in order to create proper study habits for the future!


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Music Learning Reflection

Question 9, 10, 11:

These past few months have taught me a lot about myself as both a music teacher and learner. Beginning the course I had no idea what I would do if I was given a placement where I would have to teach music. While right now I definitely cannot say that I would be completely confident as a music teacher, I can say that I now know where to find the resources I would need to plan a unit and how to use these tools to help my future students learn.

I think my greatest strength as an educator who will teach music is my humility. I will admit that I am far from perfect and that music is not the subject that I would lead with, however, I am always open to suggestions and help from both students and fellow teachers. I will always do my best to use cross-curricular influences to guide me through what I will be teaching in music lessons, and will always appreciate student feedback and take it to heart. By doing this I am allowing myself to become a lifelong music learner who is passionate to never stop asking questions. I may not be the most musically inclined, but I am a hard worker when it comes to learning subjects that I at first do not understand.

When I think of myself as a future educator teaching music I think of a lot of fun and silliness. I think that music is a great outlet for many students to become more vocal and active during their school day: you will rarely see my music class sitting down at desks. There are definitely creative ways to teach students musical basics that involve the movement of the whole body. Having another class sitting down is not what students need in their daily schedules and music is the perfect opportunity to create activities which engage the mind and the body while still promoting learning. An example of this would be jumping once for a “ta” and twice for a “ti-ti” when going through the lyrics of a song. This is a simple change but will allow my students to be engaged while also burning off energy which has built up throughout the day. I hope to get to know my student’s needs and interests in order to create lesson plans and find songs that would interest them, thus creating an environment which is perfect to facilitate their learning.


My greatest area of growth during the course has been in the realm of different ways to demonstrate sounds found in pictures. This is a very specific topic that we covered in the course, but, other than my ukulele, it is where I saw the most personal growth. Interpreting a picture in sounds could involve body percussion, mouth percussion, instruments, or tools around the room. We did a few days on this in class where we were shown pictures and told to create the sounds which we believed would be heard if we were placed inside. At first I was very uncomfortable with this concept and had no clue what was being asked of us. Everyone started making sounds and I felt lost! After a few more activities I started to love putting myself into images and seeing what different sounds I could come up with, now find myself doing this while reading books to myself. This is a fun way to demonstrate music vocabulary for students, my group even tried to incorporate it into our lesson plan we presented to the class!


I was very uncomfortable throughout our first few music classes as I had no idea what was expected of me or what I was supposed to learn. I am just now realizing that while, for the most part, it did not feel like I was learning at all, those were the moments where I was learning the most. I now have a large variety of songs that I can sing with many grades, I understand how to incorporate music into different subjects like math and science, I know how to make lesson plans, music terminology, and I know where to ask for help (because most likely I will still need it).

Rain Unit Reflection

This week in EDCI306 we were prompt with a rain chant and asked to write a lesson plan around it in groups of six. My group and I were immediately inspired by the concept of rain and weather and began to make a bunch of cross curricular activities! We had so many ideas varying directions we could take for one lesson that, instead, we decided to create an entire unit plan. We went onto the BC curriculum website* and got to work. Of course with the new curriculum being inquiry based we had to leave major concepts fairly broad, this would allow students to expand on concepts which interested them and leave other behind while still learning the “Big Ideas” outlined in the curriculum. We informally presented our unit plan to the rest of the cohort and everyone seemed to be very inspired by the ideas which we had began to explore. Below is a list of some rain based activities to do in an elementary school classroom!

  • reading “the Itsy Bitsy spider” story book
  • singing “the Itsy Bitsy spider” and doing the actions
  • estimating and measuring rainfall (either daily or weekly)
  • making a rainstick
  • making a tornado in a jar (this is also a very good and inexpensive tool to help students relieve stress)
  • learning about weather patterns
  • what makes rain/ the water cycle
  • making “your own” representation of the water cycle (this allows students to explore varying ways to present one topic, it could be a poster, diorama, video, tableau, play, song, etc)
  • making a rain dance in groups
  • rain chant

For my first practicum my teaching partner and I were placed at a local elementary school here in SD63! We were pretty excited when we found out that not only would we be teaching core French, but we also get the opportunity to teach to grades 2-5. This experience means that we get to practice teaching a new language and making lesson planning for multiple grades. What’s an amazing way to learn new languages you ask? Well, music of course! I’m not sure what direction to take with music yet, whether we should have students learn songs about the lesson theme while we are there, research french artists, or even writing their own small songs with vocabulary from the unit. If anyone has any ideas please message me and let me know!

*https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca

Midterm Review: Where am I at?

Over the past month and a half, I have been trying to learn how to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the ukulele. I decided to pick this song to try and challenge myself with more chords, and “a challenge” is definitely an understatement. Learning how to play the chords was not as tricky as I had imagined, however, the hardest part of the instrument proved to be getting the strumming pattern while playing the chords in sequence. I think that considering I had never picked up a ukulele until mid-January, my progress is coming along quite well! I haven’t been able to master singing along with it yet, but that is going to be my next step! There are still some transitions between chords that are rocky, and I can’t always nail the song on the first try, but I am very proud of how far I have come. The first time I was able to play the song from beginning to end I felt like a little kid again! I even called my parents and made them listen to me play.  That was excitement that I had not experienced in years.

When I first started playing I found myself becoming very easily frustrated. “Why do I have to learn the stupid ukulele anyways” are words that I found myself saying almost every time I picked it up, often with more colorful language added in if I was alone. Once I was finally able to get the strumming pattern with the chords, putting them together to make the song became a fun challenge. I think what motivated me the most was telling people I work with what I was doing, and every shift I would hear them ask “how’s the ukulele coming Mariah?” Now I couldn’t keep telling them that it wasn’t going anywhere, so the stubborn person that I am, I kept practicing until I reached the point where I am at now! I have it written on my wall that I have to practice at least ten minutes a day no if’s, and’s, or but’s.

What I am currently struggling with the most right now is probably the vocals. I haven’t trained my voice to go as high, or as low as this song asks me to so it is really hard for me to sing. If I put all my thoughts onto singing then I mess up my strumming, but if I put all my thoughts on strumming I mess up my singing! Some may say that I am currently stuck between a rock and a hard place, I would say that I am slowly figuring my way out of it. I’ve been trying to practice my vocals on their own in order to train my voice to hit new octaves, however, this past week I have been so sick that singing, in general, is almost out of the question. I’ll start right back up next week, however, might be seen during office hours asking for some tips and tricks to get my voice up that high!

This process is teaching me what it’s like to learn completely new concepts again. Frustrating. This is a feeling that my future students will probably often experience when learning subjects and skills that are foreign to them, and because I am being reminded of this right now, I will be even more diligent in providing help for those who are struggling. Sometimes it takes a different perspective on the problem in order to fix it! After all the hard work is put in, however, it is amazing to see the final product.

Ukulele

Over the next three months I am going to try and teach myself how to play some basic songs on the ukulele. I know that this will be challenging as I have never played a string instrument before, but I believe it will be fun to be able to play a few songs for my future class to sing along with! I will be using various online tools as well as learning with some friends who are also excited to be able to jam together!

Below you will be able to keep up with my journey the next few months!