Distressing after busy school days

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Blog #6 – Final Evidence of learning and reflection on this experience.

At the beginning of the semester I was really scared and not at all excited to begin learning how to play the ukulele. I was intimated by the instrument and really was going into this process completely blind with zero musical background. At first I did not even know where to start, feeling very in the dark as I did not know what strumming, cords, or evening tuning meant. Now I am so proud to say that I know all of these terms and feel way more confident picking up a ukulele than I did before.

Since my midterm I have been practicing on my strumming technique as well as exploring strumming patterns and finding one that fit well with my songs. I feel like my strumming has greatly improved since the midterm, and I have since realized what a difference it makes when you have a good strumming pattern.

The song I chose to show my learning for the final is “Sweet Home Alabama”. I chose this song because it is one of my favourite country songs, and I just love the tune of the song. I am quite proud of the video I have taken as this song was quite difficult for me to learn at first. I had to learn 3 new cords and was unable to change between the 3 of them quickly, keeping on the rhythm. It is most difficult to change to the G cord, but I have gotten much faster at doing it as I keep practicing. I am really happy with how far I have come in learning this song, and feel as though I have really improved in the last few weeks.
Because I have been enjoying learning how to play the ukulele so much, I wanted to challenge myself to learn a second song as well. I chose to teach myself “Rip Tide” by Vance Joy. I love this song, it has such a beautiful mellow rhythm to it and it sounds really nice on the ukulele. I am really proud about how this one turned out too. I was able to learn this one a little quicker than my other song because the cords were a bit simpler, and the transitions were smoother.

Overall, I have really enjoyed this experience and feel like this class has widened my view on music in the classroom. I have realized how fun learning and creating music can be, and how with time and practice it is possible and not too hard to pick up on. Because this class was such a positive experience, I am already finding myself wanting to continue to learn this instrument, practicing and leaning new songs that I can hopefully one day implement into my teaching. : )

Blog #5 – Strumming practice and the learning of the cords!

This week has been my best week of practice yet! I have progressed so much, and I am happy to say my cords are finally staring to piece together and sound like a song!!! I have been practicing my strumming techniques this week, which has made a huge difference in my playing and the the timing of the songs.

One of my friends who plays ukulele has been practicing with me and was able to show me the necessary cords for “Sweet Home Alabama”! The Cords you need are D, C, and G. I already knew C from my previous songs, so I just had to learn the other two. At first I found G really difficult but as I kept practicing it became easier and easier.

I am just now starting to piece together the cords trying to speed them up so they match the tune of the song. I am getting much better at changing between cords without having to pause for too long and think about where I need to place my fingers. I have also been working on my strumming patterns, as my friend Jessica has been showing me the difference it makes when you change it up in your song. Prior to I had just been down strumming, but not that I am using a strumming patter it is making such a difference! The song flows so much better and it is a easy way to keep me on beat and staying at a consistent timing which is awesome!

The strumming pattern I am using is DDU, UDU

I am also super excited because not only have I learned my final song, but today when we were practicing, I taught myself how to play “Riptide”. I was so excited because this is one of my favourite songs and I think it just has such a beautiful flow to it.

My new goal, since things seem to be going so well and that my practice has been so positive, I want to challenge myself to not only work on and perfect “Sweet Home Alabama” but I now want to also continue to work on “Riptide” and see if I am able to get that song as well 🙂

Blog #4 – A minor set back

I am currently feeling quite stressed and anxious as the final creeps up on me quickly. I have spent the last week in my bed due to a concussion I gave myself by hitting my head quite hard last week. I am nervous for the final because do to this concussion I have not had the chance to practice my ukulele and being learning my final song “Sweet Home Alabama”. I am hoping to be feeling much better this week so that I am able to start learning it so that I give myself enough time to practice and perfect the 3 new cords that I need to learn that are required for this song.

I have been way more comfortable with my first two songs and have been showing everyone who lives in my residence building my talents! I even brought my ukulele to my work meeting the other day and showed them my skills. They are a bit rusty but not too too bad! It is actually super fun to walk around and play my ukulele, showing everyone what I am learning in class!

I also have a lot of friends I live with who also play the ukulele and other instruments and who like to all play together. I have already learned so much from them showing me in person how to strum, or play a cord, or even how to play a few songs! It makes such a difference practicing with other people, I find it so much easier to work through a song with someone there to show me and model the cords rather than me trying to just read the music and work on it myself.

I am hoping that depending on how my head is feeling that I will be able to start beginning to play “Sweet Home Alabama” this week as I already have looked at the music and figured out which cords I will need to play in order to complete the song : )

Blog 3/Progress Videos – Midterm


This is my attempt at “This Old Man”. At first this song was quite difficult for me because it changes the cords a few times during the song which slows down my flow quite a bit. Looking back at the video I still need to work on my strumming and holding the cords tighter in order to get a better more defined sound when I strum. I think in this one especially my confidence was on and off, there were parts I felt I did really well and parts I felt I was a bit unsure of therefor, that is something I would like to continue to practice and learn going into the final. One thing I feel I did accomplish is the timing of the notes. Because of the music literacy  videos I was able to see and identify which notes to hold for longer and which were connected making them fast and upbeat.


This is my attempt at “Row Row Row your Boat”.  This is the first song I learned and feel like I understand the most. This song is quite easy because it only asks for one cord change right at the end. I still have a bit of trouble switching from C to G7, so for the final I want to continue to work on that and making the change quicker so it doesn’t feel as though there is a break in the song.

Overall I am happy with my progress, but have a few things I would personally like to work on to further my understanding and confidence when playing the Ukulele.

Blog #2 – Music Progress (midterm)

I am so beyond proud of myself and how far I have come. I feel much more comfortable on  the Ukulele playing my two songs: “This Old Man” and “Row Row Row your Boat”.  I feel like the transitions between my cords are much smoother now allowing the song to better flow.

At first I had absolutely no idea where to start and was unsure of how I would ever be able to get through the songs without stopping and asking a question or looking up how to play the cords a million times. I now am able to confidently pick up my ukulele and play my songs at a relatively fast speed, and continue to keep the flow and correct cords allowing you to understand what song I am trying to play.

For the final I want to keep working on my transitions so that there is no need for me to pause when switching, thinking about where my fingers need to go.

I am also going to begin learning my final song: “sweet home Alabama”. I am a little nervous as this song requires 3 more cords that I had not used in my pervious 2 songs. I am feeling okay though as I have friends who are able to support me in this learning curve who are comfortable on the ukulele and have been so kind to help me practice and show me tips on how to improve my strumming, flow, and changing of cords.

Overall this has been a really big learning curve for me and something I was very reluctant to begin trying to learn. I am really happy with the progress I have made thus far, and am excited to continue to watch myself grow, learn, and improve my music literacy and competency of this instrument.  I am happy that I pushed myself and chose an instrument that was quite daunting and looked quite intimidating, because I now understand that with practice it is nothing but a simple instrument that can make create some beautiful pieces of music.

I am planning on continuing my learning of this instrument beyond this class, in hopes that I will one day be able to implement music and the learning of an instrument in my classroom one day.

I want to be able to greet my students into the classroom playing a soft inviting instrument with a fun and catchy welcoming song on the ukulele 🙂

Blog #1 – The beginnings of “row row row your boat” and “This old man”

After a few weeks of learning the basic cords and strumming techniques for the Ukulele I finally feel like I have gotten somewhere!

I was off to a rocky start and honestly I did not think I was going to get anywhere. I was pretty discouraged when I began learning the ukulele and I honestly considered just giving up.

I am beyond proud of myself now because although it may not be perfect and it may be slow, it sounds much better than when I started.

I started off a bit confused as to how to turn my ukulele but with the help of some of my friends who play instruments, and with the help of the music dept. at UVic I was able to figure it out and am now able to confidently tune it myself before I begin to practice.

I also had asked one of my friends to practice with me and I found that really helpful when I had someone else there to show me how the song should sound and how to properly place my fingers on the strings.

One thing I noticed I was having trouble with, was that I was not pressing down on the strings hard enough. This made my cords sound quite squeaky when I strummed, but after the help of one of my friends and her noticing this, my cords sound much more enjoyable and flow together much better now.

I have learned my two basic songs in both C and G7 “row row row your boat” and “this old man”. I am now beginning on working at changing between the cords faster and keeping a consistent flow throughout the song.

I am going to begin learning the cords for my final song “Sweet home Alabama” this week as I feel much more comfortable with the first two songs and like I can move on and begin attempting some other more complex cords.

Welcome to After Class!

Hello! My name is Emily Ashton and I am a second year UVic Student studying Elementary Education.

As you know school can be pretty chaotic and stressful sometimes… so that’s why i’ve chosen to create this blog about my after class activities and the things I do to distress after a long busy day of online schooling!

I absolutely adore the gym so be prepared for lots of bodybuilding content as that is one of the biggest ways I am coping during this pandemic! Other than the gym I am a pretty energetic person who loves to do all sorts of things! Some of my other hobbies include: mountain biking, hanging out with friends, baking, and going on adventures!

I look forward to sharing this unique experience with you and I look forward to documenting all the good that happens during this semester 🙂



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