Hello folks! So, it has finally come to that time and I really cannot believe it. Time has flown by so fast and now I must wrap things up. In all honesty, it makes me sad to say that my guitar project is coming to an end in terms of it fitting into my time here at university in EMUS 202. But do not worry, for there is more learning to come!
What went well with the project?
To me, I see a lot of success within the learning that took place over the course of this project and it has been really neat to see how the project progressed in it’s own direction. The first place I see success is when I compare what I was able to do at the beginning of the semester to what I have accomplished and can now do. Before this project, I knew a few basic chords and had no experience with playing lead whatsoever. Considering that, I feel the fact that I was able to learn lo and play a song like Maria Elena is a pretty great feat. The other thing that I feel went well with this project was the documentation process. I loved writing about something I love. Music is my passion; so, this assignment did not feel like work at all. As a result, I didn’t mind putting the effort into what I hope was interesting for others to experience, like my blog posts or the recordings I have done.
What didn’t go so well?
I find this to be a hard question to answer, simply because I did not run into any big issues or problems that made me question my ability or choice of project. However, that’s not to say that there weren’t any little road bumps a long the way. The first one that I encountered was when I was cleaning up my guitar. As I was doing this, I broke the nut where my big E string is supposed to sit. Luckily, I was able to fix that. Another minor problem that I faced was when I was learning to play the TABS from Ultimate Guitar TAB Pro. I learned the ending of the song wrong because the TABs were wrong, and when I went to play it with other musicians, it did not work. The final issue that I faced during this project was during recording. As much as we wanted, we were unable to get three separate channels to record at once. Therefore, we couldn’t record the bass and rhythm guitar separately.
What could be changed for next time?
I think what I would change for next time would be to not just focus on one song for the whole process. I would try and change it up more. I wouldn’t say that I am sick of Maria Elena, but it really does not have the same effect on me as it did the very first time I heard it. I would love to be able to sit back, listen, and just enjoy the song, especially the recording of me. I cannot listen to that without having my “critic’s ear” activated. The other thing that I would like to try differently, if there was a next time, is change the type of guitar I was playing. Throughout the project I was playing acoustic guitar and I think I would have liked to try it on a classical guitar too. This being said, it would need to have a cutaway body otherwise, I would not be able to reach the 16th fret easily.
How does this fit into a future classroom situation?
My initial answer to this question revolves around the recording aspect of my project and incorporating music/recording technology into the classroom. There are so many things that you can do in a classroom setting that revolves around using recording equipment. This could look like recording different sounds to make a sound collage or a song, editing music to fit in with a student created skit/drama production, or making recording logs as evidence for band practice. Music/recording technology can be extended to other areas in the curriculum as well. An example of this would be students recording themselves presenting a speech, and using the recording to make adjustments for their next one (self critiquing).
The other thing that could happen in terms of teaching students guitar, is to have them learn both the chords and the lead to a song. This way they get the experience of both worlds where they learn how to be leaders and followers musically. Playing lead and rhythm guitar seems to be relatively similar, but there are very different skills involved – listening to each other and playing chords vs. notes. It takes collaboration and teamwork to combine those two things.
Do plans to continue this study exist?
In short, yes. Playing music is something that will be in my life forever. So, I am quite certain that twenty years down the line, I will likely have a guitar packed somewhere with me, ready to be played. In terms of this specific project, I see the direction shifting a little more towards the music technology side of things now. I am really excited about recording and am looking forward to taking the time to do more recordings of myself playing. In the past, I did do a little bit of this, but it was nothing of a substantial quality. It literally was one mic set up in the middle of a room, recording several of us playing. Now, I have better sound equipment and more knowledge, so that means I can do some better recording!
What came from the process of learning music?
This is the first time I ever learned a song this way, using guitar TAB, and I am not really a big fan of that type of notation. If I didn’t have the song to listen to, I would have no idea of how to play it. TAB is really only good for finger positioning and articulations. So my lesson from this was that it is important to explore and use other forms of music notation – sheet music or a recordings. In relation to this, it is crucial to cross-reference some of these notations if they are coming from the internet for free. They are not always notated accurately.
The other thing that I took away in relation to the process of learning music is that you will always have supporters. Even though you can be one of the crappiest of guitar players in the world, people will always say “good job” and be supportive. Learning music is a process and I find, people often admire those who take the time to learn how to play and then showcase what they learned.
What was learned about yourself?
Patience is key. One thing that I have a hard time with is understanding that things take time to learn. It doesn’t always happen over night. For me, I always feel like I need to do it, do it perfectly, and do it now. That is not the case. There really is no such thing as perfect, but if you are patient, practice will make improvement. This improvement means growth, and that was the point of this assignment. This leads me to the next thing I learned about myself. I am ALL about product, when it comes to me as a learner. Recording something that was far from flawless and then posting it for the public to hear, was extremely hard. I wanted to edit my recording in the worst way, that way I could remove all the mistakes. But again, it’s not about what the final outcome of the product. It’s about the learning process that took place.