Twenty Time Reflection

  • What did you enjoy about the experience?

I greatly enjoyed this experience for many reasons. Music is one of my favorite things, and I loved the feeling of having a challenge and then overcoming it. It also gave me something to focus on that wasn’t school work, and I now have a new passion because of it.

  • What was the most challenging aspect of your Twenty Time project?

The most challenging aspect was definitely finding the time to practice my guitar. I would usually get home from school and have a lot of homework…afterwards the desire to sleep usually overtook playing the guitar.

  • What is one thing you learned about yourself by participating in your Twenty Time project?

I learned that if I put my mind to something, no matter what the challenge, I can overcome it. I think I doubted in the beginning that I would make a lot of progress in the beginners course, however I was proven entirely wrong.

  • What are you most proud of? Why?

I am most proud that I didn’t give up, and that I made it so far in the beginners course. I kept persevering even when I found something extremely difficult, especially when I was first starting out. I also never really allowed myself to think negative thoughts about my playing, which is quite an accomplishment for me.

  • What lessons did you learn from your successes?

I learned that if you put work into something you can progress farther than you ever thought. I also think I will be much more willing to try new things because of this project, because I learned that trying new things can lead to surprising outcomes.

  • What lessons did you learn from your failures?

Through my failures I learned that there is no point in getting so frustrated that it ruins the experience. Instead, I now know that to be successful you have to be optimistic and believe that, with enough practice, you will make good progress. I also learned that you will not always reaching the goals you set at the beginning, and it is important to not let that discourage you from continuing.

  • What is one thing about this project you believe you’ll remember for a long time to come?

Well, I will always have my guitar to play now, and I will definitely continue learning it for many years to come. I think that this project gave me something that will last a lifetime, which is something I would’ve never guessed when starting out.

  • What is something the teacher could have done to make this project better?

I think, because this project is independent, the teacher did everything perfectly. She gave us the motivation and structure to get started, but then let us work through most of the details and setbacks by ourselves.

Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Twenty Time #17

Since last twenty time I accomplished quite a bit. I started doing the lessons again, and learned the A7, D7, and E7 chords. These chords were pretty easy because they only involved 2-3 fingers to play, so I learned them pretty quickly. The next lesson after that was about sharp and flat notes, which I already knew a lot about from playing the piano. I did learn, however, how to find and pluck any note on the strings of the guitar, which a very helpful thing to know. With the E string for example, every fret you move up goes up a semi-tone, or half a step, so at the second fret you would be at an F note. In this way you can find any note on any string.

Next I continued finding chords to Silent Voice, which really helped me solidify the F chord. It is definitely a hard chord, but it sounds awesome when played right. Once I had gotten the chords to the first half of the song, I started playing along with the music, which was a lot of fun. I ended up playing along with a few other songs as well, and found it really helped me to improve my rhythm.

I do not think I will have time to make the compilation of songs I wanted to do for a final project as I had originally planned, so I will most likely make that a long term project for me in the future. Instead I just want to record me playing a little bit, and then make a PowerPoint on my accomplishments and struggles.

Twenty Time #16

Since last twenty time I worked more on trying to find songs I could use for my final project. One of my favorite bands is Imagine Dragons, and I played through a lot of their songs to see if I could use any. I found two of their songs that work really well together, so I think I’ll start there and see what I can do with them throughout the next week.

Also, when I looked up a song I really wanted to use, called ‘Silent Voice,’ I couldn’t find the chords since it’s not a very popular song. I decided to try to figure out the chords myself, which was hard, but a lot of fun. I used my piano to find the key the song was in, and then started playing around with some different chords. I found that Am, Em, Dm and G work really well throughout the entire song, but it sounds better when an F chord is added in places as well. The only problem is I didn’t know the F chord yet, so I looked it up to see if I could learn it quickly. It is a pretty hard chord, however I got the hang of it after a while. I just have to work on the chord changes for it.

Next I will continue to work on my final project, solidify the F chord, and keep trying to figure out the chords to ‘Silent Voice.’

Twenty Time #15

Since the last twenty time I continued to solidify the chords I had already learned, which helped me practice my rhythm more as well. I looked up the chords to many different songs, including a lot by All Time Low, which is one of my favorite bands. Their songs have a large range of tempos and styles, and playing them really helped me get better at my chords changes. I had been having trouble with my C chord, but I noticed that once I had gone through a certain song a few times, I could do it much better. I think that being able to play the songs I love at any time has been one of my favorite parts of learning guitar.

I still want to try to make a mash-up for my final project, so I started to find some songs I may want to use. I’ve never done something like this before, and it should be a lot of fun.

Next, I would like to try to actually play along with the songs to see if can keep up with the tempo, and also continue with my final project.

Twenty Time #14

My main focus since last twenty time has been practicing the song “Do You Want To Build a Snowman.” I plan on recording myself and sending it to my four-year-old cousin (she loves Frozen). This is a challenging song to play because it has a fast pace, which means that my chord changes have to be very quick, however it has been fun to figure out the best way to learn it.

I didn’t do a lot more besides this, however I did do the next lesson from the website, which was “Rhythm Guitar Basics 2,” This taught two new strumming patterns. Although they’re a bit hard to put into writing, one is Down, Down, DownUpDownUp and the other is Down, DownUpDownUp, Down. I found I had already been using versions of these without knowing it while playing certain songs, but it was helpful to practice them at a slower pace.

Next I will continue to do these strumming patters, which will also help my chord changes, and then hopefully move on to learning the A7, D7 and E7 chords.

Twenty Time #13

During this twenty time period Sarah Farrin and I decided to work together on a video for her amazing YouTube channel. We chose the song ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Bieber, which is a surprisingly fun song to play on the guitar. It was my first time playing in front another person (although I’m sure my parents hear me all the time), and I really enjoyed it. We didn’t have too much time to practice, however everything went smoothly after a few takes. The video still has to be edited and uploaded, but I think it will come out really well!

As for my own practicing, I have continued to solidify my chord changes with the four new chords I learned last week. I was also taught a new method of how to do this more effectively, which is called “forcing the changes.” This basically means that you shouldn’t think too much about where your fingers are going, which will make the changes more natural and improve your playing in the long run. I think that this mindset has already helped me a lot.

Next I will be learning more about how to play with rhythm!

Twenty Time #12

Since my last blog post I have finally been able to find the time to practice guitar, and I’ve made some good progress. First, I learned more about strumming patterns and how to properly move your right hand while playing.

I also spent a lot of time learning 4 new chords: G7, C7, B7 and F Maj7. I really like the bluesy sound they all have. The G7, C7 and F Maj7 chords were pretty easy to get the hang of because the finger placement is almost the same as the C chord. The B7 chord is a little harder, since it has completely new fingering, but it’s certainly not as hard as C and G were to learn. After learning these chords I was finally able to play through the song “Take Me To Church,” which I have been wanting to play for a while!

Next I learned an alternative way to play the A chord. The fingering for the original way I was taught has three fingers all squished onto the same fret. This is pretty easy to play for people who have smaller hands, like me, but people with larger hands benefit more from this new method, which is playing A as a bar chord. Although I will probably stick to the way I was first taught, it was still interesting to learn how to play my first bar chord.

During this twenty time period I also talked with Sarah Farrin, and we are hoping to be able to do a song together next Day 7 for her YouTube channel!

The next lesson I will do introduces a new method on how to make my chord changes smoother, which should be very helpful.

 

 

Twenty Time #11

Since last twenty time period I haven’t really made a lot of new progress, because every second of my free time has been taken up with driver’s ed. This will luckily be over in about two weeks.

I still found some time to play a song or two once and a while. I’ve mostly just been taking songs from my Spotify playlist, finding the chords online and then playing them, which has been a lot of fun. I’ve definitely gotten better with strumming rhythms by doing this, and I can now figure out a strumming pattern just by listening to a song. I’ve also still been periodically working on learning ‘I See Fire.’

I have continued to think about what songs I may want to put together for a final presentation. The show ‘Supernatural,’ which I love, has introduced me to a lot of rock songs that I’m considering to use.

Once driver’s ed is over I will finally have time to learn the next set of chords!

#10 Evaluation

I have been greatly enjoying my twenty time project, and I’ve progressed more than I could have ever imagined four months ago. At first I was skeptical at how effective learning from an online teacher would be, however I’m extremely happy that I didn’t give up on it. I’ve learned 8 chords and also discovered a lot more about rhythm. One roadblock I have hit is that it’s sometimes hard to find time to practice, but I think that because I enjoy playing guitar so much, it becomes easier.

My original goals have changed a little since I’ve started. Instead of trying to finishing the whole beginners course, which is much longer than I anticipated, I’m going to start taking the lessons slower. I want to just have fun solidifying the chords I already know for right now. By the end of the project, I would also like to record a video of some sort of song mash-up, which I have already started playing around with a bit. This could be what I show at the presentation at the end of the year. Overall I’ve loved doing twenty time, and I’m so happy we all got the opportunity to do it this year!

 

Twenty Time #9

Over the past few weeks I have continued to work on solidifying the fluidity of all my chord changes, and decided to take the lessons a bit slower. To practice, I found the chord progressions of some of my favorite songs and played them through whenever I had a chance. Recently I have been finding that I am able to work through practically any basic song, which has been a lot of fun. Also, my fingers have finally begun to stop hurting when I play for an extended period of time.

I came across a video that showed steps on how to play one of my favorite Ed Sheeran songs called I See Fire (written for The Hobbit), but it included some complicated strumming patterns and plucking sequences that I hadn’t even remotely touched on yet. I decided to just go for it and try to learn some of the beginning part, because I had a lot of extra time from the snow days. It was definitely a huge challenge to get the rhythm and I had to learn a new technique called ‘hammering,’ which enables you to change the note of a string after you’ve plucked it. This beginning riff alone took me at least an hour, but I think my love for the song made me want to keep persevering at it. I will continue to learn and practice this song on the side, in addition to the lessons.

My hand also has to become more flexible in order to play some chords, so the teacher demonstrated a useful hand workout on the guitar to do daily. It will hopefully make it easier to reach across multiple frets.

Over the next week I will start to learn the G7, B7 and C7 chords!