My new fiddle lessons are going well. One thing I like about this teacher is that she's good at the technical stuff, and at breaking it down. My teacher has pointed out several things to work on and given me exercises to work on. Among other things, I've been working on switching strings more cleanly, and double stops. On my own, I've been improving the things I can already do, like play a tune musically and come up with variations, increase my speed, and learn new tunes. But I've been having a lot of trouble getting started on things I don't do at all, or do very rarely, like double stops, playing up the neck, or vibrato. So taking lessons is giving me motivation and direction where I've been struggling.
The double stops are tough. The goal is to play a version of Maiden's Prayer with lots of double stops in thirds, but I think it's going to take a month or two to get it really fluid. I've decided to seriously cut down on the double stops in the tune for now, and just concentrate on the double stop exercises for a while.
My biggest difficulty with the double stops is that they are hard enough that I get very tense when I'm trying to play them. At first, it took me a full day to realize that was the problem. I was trying to get myself in tune, and just tensing up more to do it, and my coordination was miserable. My pinky especially was flying all over the place. It wasn't until I realized my left arm was sore that I figured out the problem. So now the goal is to relax while playing them, especially my left hand. I've gotten to the point where I can play the easier exercises with no problem, and I'm making progress on the harder ones. If I tense up as I play, I stop, relax, and try it again.
I'm way better at noticing things like that when I playing exercises than music. With the music, I get caught up in the tune, and how it should sound musically. Mechanics fall by the wayside. With exercises, I can concentrate on learning the mechanics so well that in the tunes, I don't have to think about anything but the music.