Feliz Navidad fellow #eci831 classmates! (Check out my videos)

Hello fellow EC&I 831 classmates! (Alec & Katia)

Here is the final product of my Major Digital project: Learning the guitar via online learning!

After our first class, I came to the conclusion that I would be doing: Option B.

Option B:

Based on the idea that individuals are now more able to learn and share online, you chose something significant that you would like to learn, and you will share your progress openly in an online space. The “something” might be an instrument, a language, a sport or almost anything that requires more than a few hours of effort. Students should be prepared to spend 50 to 100 hours on this project. Students will be evaluated based on their regular and consistent documentation of learning (e.g. frequent posts, video updates, etc.), including a before and after assessment. (From Alec’s course outline)

My targeted skill was very complex for me! It was something that I have always wanted to learn, but never had the chance or TIME to do so. I had always wanted to learn to play this instrument but I had been afraid to do so, for the reason that I am musically challenged. Did I mention that I have never played an instrument before?!!!

After hours and hours of learning via the internet, and hours and hours of practicing, as well has receive face to face supplements to help me on my guitar journey, I present to you bellow, my final product.

Here is what I sounded like in September 2014 (Before):

Here are my guitar recitals for you to demonstrate my learning (After):

In summary of my Digital Learning project, I believe that you can theoretically learn to play the guitar via online learning.  You can actually LEARN anything that you are truly passionate about via the internet.

I also found that as long as you have the persistence, motivation to learn online, you can learn how to dance to even learn how to fix a timing belt on a car. During this project, I watched and read about fellow EC& I 831 classmates learn via the internet on numerous things from language learning, creating educational programs and learning via Mooc’s.

Looking back on this Major Digital project, I have had a lot of fun in my guitar learning journey. I know that I am not the perfect guitar player, but I am supper proud of myself. And now that I have the motivation, I will continue on with my online learning with the guitar in the future. I will for sure try new songs to play and will keep practicing!

Thanks for watching & reading about my guitar journey!

Congrats on all of your Major Digital projects!

Krista Brockhill Gates

My inner Spanish rocker

Hello EC&I 831!

I can’t believe we have two more classes left! My major digital project is coming to a close. Please be sure to check out a video of my guitar playing (Feliz Navidad) on my Summary of learning.

Meet my son Connor:

connor rock

He’s a happy and energetic 4 year old boy who is channelling his inner rocker while his mom practices and plays her guitar.

My thoughts on this project have been that I envy anyone who can easily grasp a musical instrument. Had it not been for this project and class, being the busy mom and teacher that I am, I would have put the guitar playing to the side.  I am thankful that I had the opportunity, the time, the finger beatings on my fingers to learn to play the guitar via online learning and face time supplements in my guitar journey.

My guitar journey


  1. The first thing that I did was research and choose from various guitar instruction websites. There are millions and millions of guitar learning websites on You Tube. I found that some of the sites were free and some will cost some money. The free websites were just as good as the paid websites and most were designed with in-depth instruction for beginners, intermediate and advanced guitar playing.

These are my top 5 sites that I enjoyed using at a beginners level:




– Thomas Michaud at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHtg4kp-vug

Jose Felicianno at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMtuVP8Mj4o

2. Second, when I chose my song “Feliz Navidad” I realized that I had to also learn about parts of the guitar even the term “strumming”! While learning online I picked up terms for various guitar parts like: fret, fingerboard, heel, turning peg, sound hole, rib and all the lovely chords of the guitar. http://www.learn-classical-guitar-today.com/guitarparts.html

3. Third, I have short “man hands” so I had to also learn about adjusting my fingers in the right position while keeping my wrist loose on the fret hand positions. The G, C and D chords were my best friends and the only way I was able to use them properly was with continuous daily practice….sometimes even hours! Practicing for hours also embedded these finger positions into my busy mom/teacher brain. Eventually, I began to figure out if it was the correct sound and pitch coming from the guitar. And if the sound was wrong, I knew I had to work on my finger placement while strumming the guitar. The finger pain, the finger indents eventually went away because my fingers were getting used to playing.

4.  Practicing in front of the camera, friends, family and my face to face supplements Mr. Warren and Miss McDivitt (Teachers and fellow colleagues from Thom Collegiate). While practicing the guitar, I would also go over all the chords over and over again. I always looked and stopped at my finger placements on the guitar but eventually I got the hang of it.

5. There were a few times that I wanted to throw the guitar against the floor like the United Airlines throwing and breaking guitars video. It’s normal that there were frustrations during this learning process but eventually the guitar playing began to link with the humming and singing of the song.

In summary of my Digital Learning project, I believe that you can theoretically learn to play the guitar via online learning.  You can actually LEARN anything that you are truly passionate about via the internet. For example my daughter Madison who is 8 years old, has learned how to create Rainbow loom bracelets via the internet. She found the instructions useless via paper based instructions, and motivated herself to learn online with You Tube videos.  She is currently addicted to making them.


I also found that as long as you have the persistence, motivation to learn online, you can learn how to dance to even learn how to fix a timing belt on a car. During this project, I watched and read about fellow EC& I 831 classmates learn via the internet on numerous things from language learning, learning via Mooc’s to even sew and make fashion bags!

Looking back on this Major Digital project, I have had a lot of fun in my guitar learning journey. I look forward to learning new songs…..perhaps one day down the road; I will want to teach guitar playing as a hobby. I know that I am not the perfect guitar player, but I am supper proud of myself. And now that I have this motivation, I will definitely continue my online learning with the guitar in the future….I can’t stop now….I have my inner Spanish Rocker in me now.



Krista Gates (Brockhill)

Confessions of the guitar player

Confessions of the guitar player

In September for my Digital project for EC&I 831 class, I decided that I was going to learn to play the guitar!

I must confess that after hours and hours of practicing, I am still not an expert at playing this beautiful instrument, though I am proud of how far I have come.

For this project, the song that I am learning to play is Féliz Navidad. I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar; I just never really had the time or took the time to try. With the snow on the ground and Christmas around the corner, I hope that by the end of this project, I will be able to play the whole song in its entirety.

I have never in my life played an instrument. Growing up, I was into a lot of sports like swimming, ringette and volleyball. I have been playing the guitar for close to 13 weeks now. I have been watching You Tube video’s and have been learning the beginner’s lessons on guitar playing with the Acoustic guitar. Some more videos that I have enjoyed learning from are from:


He speaks in full Spanish while he teaches, but because I am fluent in Spanish, I have no problems in learning from him:

Another great video has been from Christian from www.christianvib.com

He has been clear on the finger placements on the strings and as well as timing your rhythm.

I am finding that I am still very stiff with my wrist, so I have been trying to keep my wrist freer while strumming. I have also recently found a soft guitar pick and this has been helping me with the strumming. Because of my short man hand fingers, I have also been working hard on the placement of my fingers.

Here is my face to face supplement in helping me with my guitar learning: Mr. Brian Warren:

I work with Brian at Thom Collegiate. I have been going back and forth with Brian, having him listen to me play as well as receiving supports, tips and advice from him.

Brian is a guitar and Native Studies teacher by day and a musician by night. You will see him playing drums in the video bellow with an awesome band called Andino Suns.

Check them out:

Here is a little clip of my progress thus far and with humming….because I can’t sing. But eventually for my final video, I will sing along while playing the guitar!



It’s never too late to learn the guitar! (Strumming with a Pick)

It’s never too late to learn the guitar! (Strumming with a Pick)

So I realized it is never too late to learn the guitar!

I am no Carlos Santana by any means but it’s awesome that since September, slowly but surely I’m starting to hear a tune on my guitar.

Being a mom of two, a full time teacher it’s been hard to practice every day, but somehow I have been managing to squeeze time in for guitar practice.

The picking of the guitar has had some challenges for me. But to play the guitar I have learned that you have to:

1-pick a great song

2-know your chords

3-practice (a lot)

4-know the strumming and rhythm technique together with using a pick.

Eventually I will add some singing to my guitar playing which I am sure you are all excited to see and listen to.

I recently checked out Jerry at : https://www.jerrysguitarbar.com

Jerry suggests using your arm instead of just your wrist and this has been a helpful hint for me, b/c I am still such a stiff guitar player

Here are my latest videos:

Me practicing the chords of the guitar:

Me practicing the strumming with a pick technique:

Can you here a bit of “Feliz Navidad” fellow EC & I 831 classmates?



Strumming the guitar!

Strumming the guitar!

guitar pic of krista

I am using a new vocabulary word now: strumming!

Never heard of this word until a week ago and now I am actually learning how to strum a guitar! I have been learning from Anthony Iglesias via his You Tube channel at:


He has also taught me how to properly hold the pic for the guitar, and this has been helpful for me because using my own “man hand fingers” has been tough.

Rhythm in strumming is key!

Down stroke

Down stroke

Up stroke

Up stroke

Down stroke

Up stroke

It’s important to let the pic glide down the strings. I have been trying to let my hand stay loose and try to relax

Eric Branner also has a great You Tube page on strumming techniques:

When strumming, I have been practicing the motion in my arm, my wrist and my rotation.

-wrist moving up and down

-practice rotation

-practice each strumming pattern individually.

Super Easy Guitar Links You Tube channel has by far been my favorite site:


Not only is he helpful in my guitar learning, but he has also been instrumental in my guitar strumming technique!

Have I mentioned how much my fingers hurt? They say that eventually as you keep playing and keep practicing, that your fingers get used to the pain and eventually the fingers stop hurting! Here’s hoping!

guitar pain

Here is a video of me practicing my strumming this week while at school.

Slowly but surely; I can start to hear some music!



Will I be a Spanish guitarist?

 First time I ever heard the song “Bamboleo” I fell in the love with the sound of the guitar. I’ll never forget it. I was 19, moved abroad to Mexico City to study Spanish for the year at UNAM the National University of Mexico City. The Gypsy kings are one of my most favourite bands! I hope one day…. down the road that I will be able to play this song on guitar.

But for now, it’s back to Feliz Navidad. Here is a clear sound of the chords that I have mastered so far without stopping:

CGD chords are now kind to me!

Again, I am quite proud of myself that I even picked up the guitar and I’m looking forward to moving along past this stage. The goal is to use these chords but to a faster pace and to move along with strumming! Practice and dedication will help me achieve this.

Did I mention I have man hands? Sausage looking fingers?

man hands

Have you ever seen the episode of Seinfield when Jerry goes on a date with a woman with man hands….those are my hands.

Moving along the fret and neck board have taken some getting used to with my man hands….but slowly and surely it’s coming along.

Speaking of which, I am now learning parts of the classical guitar instead of making up names for it.

Classical guitar parts

Classical guitar parts




Practice makes perfect….but in a slow and consistent way!

Practice makes perfect….but in a slow and consistent way!


Practice does make perfect but for me and my guitar learning it has been slow but proud to say consistent. Just picking up the guitar for the first time over a month ago was a bid deal for me! The excitement has worn down, now it’s about getting into the learning fully! Being a fulltime mom, teacher and taking two Masters classes this semester has been fun! Did I mention I am learning tot play the guitar too!?!?

I hope you don’t mind, but you will see my family or hear my family in many of my past or future videos. They are my “entourage” and my support in this major digital learning project.

Chords have become my new best friend. Without this beautiful digital cheat sheet I would be in big trouble. I have been researching many different sites from time to time on chords. I found that by reading up on them, I know what chords are easy, medium, difficult and which ones I will eventually learn.



I am also enjoying a couple of other You Tube videos for Guitar beginners such as:

-Guitar Chords for beginners:

(Clear and slow for me!!)

-Beginner guitar chords :your first chords and strums:

(He has been teaching me about strumming and this has been helpful even though I am at a lower level still!  (Super helpful and he makes it look easy!)

A few things that I have noticed:

-wow…… my fingers are sore!

-My son and daughter come and play the guitar with me and automatically they know the “exact song” I am trying to play. I think it’s forever embedded in their brains! My daughter said “there’s no snow yet and you’re already singing Feliz Navidad”?

-My husband goes downstairs as soon as I take out the guitar….I know he’s proud of me:)