Wander with me on my journey...

Category: edci306a (Page 1 of 2)


“Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors”, I have explored this quote through self exploration and discovery and feel that we as a group expressed this through personal experience and learned or passed down knowledge. As a group, I feel that we worked well together, we had an array of personality types but one common ground we all had was respect for each others ideas and viewpoints.

When we first got our group together we had originally decided on a different piece to use, unfortunately one of the group members had gone ahead and put a fair amount of work into the project on their own. Upon our first meeting we learned that the piece was put to rest and no longer available to be used, we then recognized how “learning involves patience and time”, the student had put their patience and time into our assignment and we were not able to use any of it due to the song being put to rest. Seeing as one of the group members had already made us a template, it made it very simple for each of us to choose an area to work on, and, with google docs we were able to work collaboratively and remotely. As a group we discussed all of the components and shared ideas for each part of the assignment. My final job was to write in the assessment portion of the assignment and to open and close for the presentation.

I thought it was important to highlight the territorial acknowledgement into our introduction due to the topic and with the land on which we study. I was nervous and only practiced speaking it a couple handfuls of times and with that I learnt that “learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions” – I should have practiced more.

Furthermore, I have been connecting with the elders in the first peoples house on campus and from our conversations I have begun to realize that there is not one “right” way of doing things, this touches in with “learning recognizes the role of indigenous knowledge”; as a closing piece I wanted to remind our learners that any tool can be used if it seems appropriate. The first people did not deem a certain item to be solely used a specific way, it would be used as needed. I wanted to acknowledge this as I personally struggled to understand the meaning of this.

From a personal example, I have been smudging with our elders and was gifted sage and sweetgrass, I had smudged many times with my elders but never at home on my own. I don’t have an abalone shell, I don’t have an eagle feather. How could I do this without these tools? One day I laughed at myself and figured, why not? I can do this, I can make it work. There I was with a wooden lid to a piece of home decor and an oven mitt, these were my substitutions for a shell and a feather. It didn’t work the best, but, that was my first time trying to do it on my own and I did it MY way. I went back to my elders the next week and we laughed about my experience and how I choose an oven mitt to fan. A week later, grandmother and grandfather brought me a shell so I could smudge with more success, which brings me to “learning involves generational roles and responsibilities”, I know this was not fully represented in the means of our presentation but it was something that I experienced along my journey and what I carried with me into my presentation and why I wanted to make a point of bringing it up at the end in my closing points “there is no one or right tool to use, the first peoples way of being is to use whatever tool is available and whatever feels right to you.”


Learn, Do, Teach

As we know, the best way to master something is to work with it and then teach it to another person, this is what I have done to get better with my guitar skills. I figured that if I thought about it in a different manner (from a teaching point of view) I may perform better. I still have more practicing to do until I will feel fully confident but I do believe this has helped me grow.

I was caring for my niece and nephew over the weekend, (grades 4 and 6), and they saw the guitar in my living room corner and asked if they could try it and if I could play. Of course I was thrilled they were interested, and so I offered to show them what I could do and started working with them each with the guitar and had them strumming all of the chords I knew and we even worked on strumming patterns! The confidence I gained from sharing what I knew and being able to be the “expert” was incredible. I can be very tough on myself and it was great to be able to feel proud and knowledgeable in an area where I have felt struggle and defeat, I was able to put things into perspective when I switched from learner to teacher and at the same time was empathetic to the difficulties the kids were having when I was working with them and they were trying to learn.

I have been enjoying learning to play the guitar and now that I will have more free time as the semester is coming to an end, I plan to continue to practicing and learning. There have been times where learning to play has been very frustrating, I have wanted to throw the guitar out the window and switch to a different instrument, and on the other end, I have had some amazing times playing, when it just works, and it sounds good, and it feels good, there aren’t words that can describe that feeling. The experience I’ve had has been so intouch with the arts as I know it and I truly appreciate the struggles alongside with the appreciation that I have found and felt.

Thanks for keeping up with my journey through the strings…

It’s Electric!

Life has been busy!! Between school, work, home and family I have been having a hard time making time to practice, and it shows! I only practiced a couple times in the last two weeks and it shows. I feel like I am back at square one. My strumming pattern is off, my transitions are not very smooth, but that’s ok, we have so many group assignments that we are working on and of course all of our weekly readings for our classes so I know that this is just temporary and I will be able to come back to the guitar and once the semester is over I will have more time to play and work on my skills.

On Friday, I went to my parents to drop off my poor fiddle leaf fig plant that wasn’t doing well in my basement, my father has a green house and uses growing lights in the winter for some of the plants that need the extra light and care. When I arrived his neighbor was over and went out side for what I assumed was for a cigarette. Moments later he came back through the front door and had his amp and one of his electric guitars! He told me how my father had shared with him that I was learning the guitar and wanted to “jam”. At first, I was very nervous and self conscious to even hold his beautiful piece of art, finally after watching him and working up my nerve I wanted to try. It was absolutely exhilarating! I know that I am not a pro by any means, but wow, playing the electric guitar made me feel like a rockstar.

My parents neighbor was not only helpful by pushing me out of my comfort zone to try something new but he also went through all of the chords on the guitar with me so I can start to get comfortable with more than the handful that are in the song that I picked to practice.


Living in Harmony

Well, I decided to share my musical journey with my grandfather. He has always appreciated any and all kinds of learning. It was the running joke in our family, “you ask grandpa one simple question and you’ll be there for hours”, if anyone ever needed any help or had a question that most could answer quickly, grandpa would spend at least 10x the amount of time exploring the question, most times, even diving into the root of the word and where it originated from. So, of course when I told him about how I was teaching myself to play the guitar for one of my classes he got excited and wanted to hear more. I shared with him the experiences I had had to date and when I told him about learning how to tune the guitar he got excited and suggested I take some of his harmonicas to get a better “ear” for my tuning. Not even a week later I was in the hospital visiting him after he had surgery to remove part of his liver. That day, I brought home 6 harmonicas with me, one in the chord of A, D, C, G, and 2 in E. He was going in for surgery and knew I would be coming to visit him so he grabbed some of his harmonicas for me and packed them in with his belongings. I practiced with the guitar and harmonicas simultaneously to “grow my ear” and in time I think that I will be able to tune by ear. Practicing the guitar and the song “The Girl” by Dallas Green has been an amazing outlet and break from my studies and other stress/busyness in my life. At times when I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed with trying to manage school, family, my business, and, or relationships this assignment has been a saving grace by allowing me to feel that I am being productive with my time while also practicing an art which allows me to express myself and find joy in what I am doing. This is what I call “Living in Harmony”.


New Strings, New Song?

To give you an update since last time, these new strings are awesome in comparison to the last! I am going to have to ask my friend where they got their’s though, they still felt more fine and I didn’t have to press so hard, but, I should not complain, these ones are way better then the old ones. This weekend I’ve been enjoying practicing so much, my back and upper body is actually quite sore from playing so much, I should probably look into that and make sure that my posture and positioning is correct. I decided to change my route from my original plan, I was going to learn the song “Sweet Home Alabama”. I do not have any emotional connection to this song and simply choose it based on the fact that I knew it, it came up as a beginner song on the guitar and of course I wanted my goal to be achievable. In hind sight, I did not even think about how much I would be trying to play and listen to the song that I am learning, which I definitely should have. My song for the final is called “The Girl” by Dallas Green, I knew going into it that the second part of the song would be difficult just by listening and in our first couple weeks I had a peer help show me the chords and while we were working together. They listened to the song and explained how they, as a person with many years of experience playing guitar thought it sounded difficult and wasn’t sure if even they could execute that part. Since then, I have been practicing only this song and only the first part which consists of four chords and in my opinion a challenging strumming pattern.

We are creeping up to our midterm deadline and I am not exactly where I thought I would be, with that said, I am happy of my progress considering the road bumps along the way. I had one funny mistake happen that I haven’t shared, while waiting for my picks to arrive I wanted to practice more and with sore hands it was difficult to do so. I had a brilliant idea, or so I thought, I assumed long nails would help with my strumming since I didn’t have my picks yet, so, I decided to glue on fake nails. Oh boy was that a disaster, I didn’t even take my other hand into consideration and there I was for a whole week trying to practice muffled chords and transitions due to these talons I decided to glue to my fingernails. But, I will mention, it did help with the strumming…

Ciao for now, thanks for keeping up!


Well, my picks came last week and boy is that a saving grace! My strings arrived today and I will be bringing them to music class on Friday in a couple days, one of my peers has offered to teach me how to string a guitar, so thats really neat, not only will I be learning how to play the instrument, I will also be able to have a deeper understanding of the mechanics, I am still working on tuning and my grandfather has lent me six harmonicas (two of them are in C), they are in chords A, C, D, E and G. I was on the phone with my grandpa telling him about school and how learning the guitar was working for me and he suggested to borrow these so that I could help gain a better ear for the chords and tuning by ear, currently my method has been asking someone with experience for help or using an app that a peer had suggested.


My practice time has still been in short durations due to my strings being so tough and making my fingers sore. It was nice to know that I’m not just being a whiner, I tried using a friends guitar and noticed a huge difference in the feeling of the stings. The guitar I have is my sisters and she has already had it for ten years, and she was the second owner, so I have no idea when they were last changed, if ever. I am really excited to get these strings on and start practicing more, as I said, this is my sisters guitar, she got it as a hobby in high school and took some lessons but never got to the point of playing a song, so the poor thing has pretty much just sat there collecting dust over the years. It spent a period of time with our best friend who also wanted to learn to play, she was trying to self teach and unfortunately did not have as much progress either. I feel like she needs to be played and enjoyed, I am excited to break the trend and let her do what she does best, plus, how cool will it be when I am up at the lake and can actually play something for my friends and family.

Anyways, see you soon!

Already three weeks of practicing, I’m not very good, YET!

I have ordered picks and new strings!! I cannot wait to get them! I have been trying to practice but at the same time haven’t been very successful. My strings and picks aren’t here yet, so I am trying to practice bare hand and am getting sore fingers so quickly. I have already learnt how hard this skill is on one’s hands, this is something I didn’t even take into consideration. I hope my items arrive soon; they should help! Online, I can see that the picks should be here in the next couple days, which is awesome! Unfortunately, my strings will take a couple weeks to arrive, hopefully the company is overestimating the time expected and they get here quicker than expected. I really need them to get practicing more! My chord fingers are getting bruised and sore, when I practice it hurts and I have finger indents that are very tender. My strumming finger has lost its nail tip and my cuticles are torn up and tender, this shows me that when I am practicing my strumming with a sore finger I am letting it bend and using the top side of my finger rather then the tip. Until next time!

Update!! Here is how learning guitar is going…

Well, I have been so fortunate to connect with a peer in our cohort! He has a strong musical background. We connected and he helped me to tune my sister’s guitar, he showed me how to tune it myself, and then helped me with the second song I have choose as it seems to be more challenging. We worked on the chords I had to learn and although he wasn’t sure of the exact names of these chords, he was able to play the piece and help teach me. I took photos of his hands playing the chords in the same sequence they will be played in the song. I also videoed his hands so I can watch and practice along with the video. We “jammed” for a little while and I learned that, one, I needed picks! My fingernail and cuticula was getting torn up almost instantly, my chord fingers were also extremely sore from pressing down on the strings, we’ll have to see how this goes.

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