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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: learning without a teacher?


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FiddleDiddler - Posted - 12/05/2012:  18:13:26



Forgive me if this is the wrong forum area. 



I have started to fool around with trying to learn the fiddle from books, the internet & YouTube videos. I really want to learn the fiddle & know a teacher would be great help, but a teacher isn't in my tiny little budget right now.



I guess I'm wondering: 1) Is it possible to learn the fiddle without a teacher. 2) How many of you are self taught?



I know it doesn't help, but I guess I should add that I do not play any other instruments - the fiddle will be my first.



Thank you.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 12/05/2012:  18:30:54


Yes, you can learn by yourself. There is lots of good instructional information on Youtube. Attend fiddler association meetings. Meet good fiddlers and ask questions. I think Wicklund's "American Fiddle Method" books/CDs/DVD are designed to help teach a new fiddler.

I think having a GOOD teacher can help a lot, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Focus on your bowing. Watch good players on youtube and ask questions. There have been lots of posts about bowing technique in the forums. On Youtube, Todd Ehle isn't a fiddler, but his material can help you get started playing right. Later on you may make some changes to your playing technique, but start out using standard techniques.


FiddleDiddler - Posted - 12/05/2012:  18:45:23


Does anyone know anything about the book "Old-Time Fiddle for the complete Ignoramus"? I was considering ordering it, but don't know if it would be a good book.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 12/05/2012:  18:50:12


Some people learn by themselves but others need a teacher. I think either way, mostly what you need is direction...that's the hard part, with or without teachers...a solid direction to proceed along, rather than hop-skipping here and there. If you know what sound you're going for, you have some good examples of that around you or even on YouTube...you will find your way...in my opinion.

dogmageek - Posted - 12/05/2012:  19:00:54


I can't advise you about learning without playing another instrument
When I started fiddle I had already payed guitar banjo and mandolin
I think this helps a lot especially with chords. If you are young trying
fiddle by itself may be doable I gave up the other instruments to
concentrate on fiddle.I can still watch a guitar and see what he is
doing wrong.

rfarmer - Posted - 12/05/2012:  19:04:48



quote:


Originally posted by FiddleDiddler




Does anyone know anything about the book "Old-Time Fiddle for the complete Ignoramus"? I was considering ordering it, but don't know if it would be a good book.






 It was my first book that I used and I found it very helpful especially if you have never played another instrument.  It will get you started in the right direction.  I still use it as a reference.

fiddlerjoebob - Posted - 12/05/2012:  19:17:31


Can't imagine why an ignoramus would be interested in the fiddle...violin maybe.

fiddlerjoebob - Posted - 12/05/2012:  19:19:04


Hey, rfarmer, first post. Welcome.

mswlogo - Posted - 12/05/2012:  19:47:55



You can, of course teach yourself but it will probably take longer.



Even if you can't swing a regular teacher you should consider just a few lessons (say 1 a month for 6 months). And you can even do that over the internet these days.



Proper hold of both fiddle and bow takes a while. But the sooner you get it right the sooner you will progress. It just does not happen in one lesson or 1 week. It needs to be refined over time. And the best way is to get regular feedback.



Get thst Elbow Under, Straighten that Wrist, Stand up Straight, Get on the top of your finger tips, Get that Elbow under again... You won't know it's wrong and you'll burn the wrong things into muscle memory.



A teacher is like a coach to help you succeed.



That said, another part of "Having a Teacher" is this (which you can do yourself but it's HARD).



And that is setting a weekly goal for yourself. If you have no teacher you have no "home work", "no goal", you can skip a night or two with no consequences.



But if you have a teacher you have a commitment of some sort each week and it's human nature to want to do well in front of your mentor.



So if you are self taught set a weekly goal. I'm gonna get tune X from 60 BPM to 80 BPM. Or I'm gonna focus on a Roll this week.



Another thing a teacher does is improve your ability to play in front of someone else. A (video)recorder can replace that (Especially if you're brave enough to upload it). I play worse when I know the recorder is on (with no intent of uploading) than I do in front of my teacher :)



Teacher or no teacher I recommend starting a tune list. I've had it recommended by several teachers as well at camps etc.



Name of tune, Key Signature, Style, Current Tempo you play it at, Comments (Like Bar AE on G and D strings)



I hit a wall of some sort on EVERY tune (an ornament, pattern, tempo what ever) you can't play 1 tune until it's perfect. So you might drop it and come back a few months later.



You don't want to forget the tune and where you left off and what tricks you did learn. So keep a list.



I keep it in a spread sheet with links to recordings, youtube videos etc.



 

SamY - Posted - 12/05/2012:  20:56:38



Can you learn without a teacher?  In my view, it depends on your goals.  If you want to be a top notch player, you will need a teacher, unless you are super talented.  Some people take to it like a duck to water, most of us don't.  But if your goals aren't too high, you can still have lots of fun learning to play without a teacher.



If you stick with it long enough to start getting some tunes down, I suggest getting guitar backing tracks to play along with (unless you have someone else who can play for you).  Having this rhythm accompaniment helps tremendously.  Good luck!



P.S.  I am self taught, but did have a guitar background.  Took me about two years on fiddle to feel like I was actually getting somewhere.


Edited by - SamY on 12/05/2012 20:59:19

fiddlenbanjo - Posted - 12/06/2012:  03:54:48



Either way be prepared to do lots of learning on your own.  But at least with a teacher you get a live body to support you and evaluate your playing.  



I don't think the choice is to take from a teacher or not.  You've got to learn from somewhere.  If it's possible I definitely recommend having a teacher, at least for a while.

clamdigger - Posted - 12/06/2012:  10:07:18


I am in my fourth day of learning to play the fiddle. I played mandolin which is tuned the same so it is a little easier to catch on but not much because of the bow. My savior is the ViolnLab site. It is just $29.99 for three months. Tons of instruction videos that starts from scratch and that lady that teaches knows how to teach beginners. Worth every penny. Clamdigger

Dick Hauser - Posted - 12/06/2012:  10:48:33



Avoid books offering shortcuts. Learning to fiddle well takes a lot of time and practice.


Edited by - Dick Hauser on 12/06/2012 10:49:05

rustycase - Posted - 12/06/2012:  11:15:17



quote:


Originally posted by Dick Hauser




Avoid books offering shortcuts. Learning to fiddle well takes a lot of time and practice.






I'd disagree with that, Dick...



Of course there is really no substitute for practice, and the wisdom of a teacher, yet an injection of a simple trick, or shortcut, here and there, can bring a bit of encouraging instant gratification...  in my own case, at three weeks, a few cutesy little christmas ditties.



and it pacifies those enduring my practicing, here in the casa.  :-)



Best



rc



 

DougD - Posted - 12/06/2012:  11:29:06



You might not think so from the advice frequently given on this forum, but the idea of learning traditional fiddle music via formal lessons from a teacher is a fairly recent one, and would surprise a lot of old timers. That doesn't mean they learned in isolation though - formerly people usually learned from being around the music, and often finding a "mentor" or inspiration, and learning from them repertoire, techniques, style, and frequently a musical philosophy. This was often a family member or neighbor, but I think plenty of people learned "Ragtime Annie" from repeatedly listening to that old Eck Robertson recording, for example.



This may not be so easy these days, but its perfectly possible to learn to play without formal lessons from a "teacher." My advice would be to listen to as much of the music you like as possible, and especially to go where fiddle music is actually played and listen and watch. You may find someone whose playing appeals to you, and will show you a few tricks if you're interested enough.

justme - Posted - 12/06/2012:  15:48:37


i took lessons for 4yrs but i started on my own at age 52. For the first few months, i picked up a simple easy tune book and learned to read notes. Then with a chart figured out the fingerboared. Played a few easy tunes and the fun began. If i started all over i would learn to read music, which is easy. The get my hands on book 1 of American Fiddle Method by Brian Wichland and follow it to a tee. Play along, slow the tune down. Approach everything very slowly. You will progess from there but don't rush.

clamdigger - Posted - 12/06/2012:  16:31:12


I have only had my fiddle for four days. I am 74 years old and played mandolin and I know a bunch of fiddle tunes so hopefully the tunes part will be easier than learning the bowing, etc. I signed up for ViolinLab that I found online. Lessons only $29.99 for three months. Over four hundred videos. The woman who teaches knows her stuff. Fingering is coming along as the fiddle & mandolin are tuned the same so I practice and practice. Love it. I envy all of you who have been playing for years. Hope I don't run out of years before I can really enjoy it. Clamdigger

DougD - Posted - 12/06/2012:  17:30:35



ViolinLab looks like it might be a very good site to learn to play the violin. It also looks like it has very little to do with playing the fiddle. I guess "you pays your money and you takes your choice." However it might be very helpful place to learn the technical aspects of the violin for someone who already knows some tunes. Have fun on your expedition, clamdigger!



If I were looking for a fiddle teacher I'd ask them to play a few tunes in the style I was interested in and see how they do.


Edited by - DougD on 12/06/2012 17:43:13

eric marten - Posted - 12/06/2012:  17:50:21



quote:


Originally posted by DougD




You might not think so from the advice frequently given on this forum, but the idea of learning traditional fiddle music via formal lessons from a teacher is a fairly recent one, and would surprise a lot of old timers. 






Not entirely accurate.  William Sydney Mount (1807-1868) made his living largely from teaching old time traditional fiddling in Stony Brook and New York City, as did his brother Robert Nelson Mount, who moved to Georgia and taught there.  His transcription of Arkansas Traveler is one of the best. He transcribed hundreds of tunes, and taught them. They also described in detail some of the cross-tunings used in traditional fiddling.  Check out some of Mount's beautiful paintings, many of them of traditional fiddlers.

SamY - Posted - 12/06/2012:  19:02:50



quote:


Originally posted by clamdigger




I have only had my fiddle for four days. I am 74 years old and played mandolin and I know a bunch of fiddle tunes so hopefully the tunes part will be easier than learning the bowing, etc. I signed up for ViolinLab that I found online. Lessons only $29.99 for three months. Over four hundred videos. The woman who teaches knows her stuff. Fingering is coming along as the fiddle & mandolin are tuned the same so I practice and practice. Love it. I envy all of you who have been playing for years. Hope I don't run out of years before I can really enjoy it. Clamdigger






 I wish you great and speedy progress!!  Six years old is a good age to start, so you only have 68 years of catching up to do !!  You can do it !!

fiddlepogo - Posted - 12/06/2012:  20:52:20



It IS possible- I did it, but like dougd says, I didn't learn in isolation, I was a banjo player hanging out with and jamming with fiddlers, and some things may have come by osmosis just by doing that.  And I listened a LOT.



I had also had some formal classical guitar instruction, and that taught me things about technical difficulties, and how to overcome them, and also about getting good tone out of a stringed instrument where the strings are sensitive to being played too hard over the soundhole... that may have prepared me for the challenge of dealing with the bow.



And borrowing a mandolin to learn left hand fingering helped- then when I tried to play it on the fiddle I could focus on the intonation and the bow... which is PLENTY!



One of the challenges of teaching yourself is that it's hard to maintain objectivity about how you are actually doing.  It's easy to be super-critical and get discouraged, but it's also easy to get into denial, maybe because the process takes so long that you get used to quite a bit of noisiness and don't really hear it anymore- and if you don't hear it, how can you correct it?



It may be sort of like if you live near train tracks, after a while, you just adapt and don't really hear the train anymore.



A good teacher will encourage you and point out progress to keep your morale up, but will also bust you when you're getting lazy.



And in learning fiddle, you may need both at times!



I think what I did to cope without a teacher was to focus on ONLY one problem at a time, and really work hard to correct that, then tackle the next problem, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the....wink



You can only correct one problem at a time, so only focus on one at at time- otherwise you drive yourself nuts.



One thing I realized very quickly the first time I drove a car in traffic-  the parked cars, trees and telephone poles on the right side were dangerous, and the oncoming cars and trucks to the left were even MORE dangerous!



And fiddle is like that too- being too heavy handed will definitely get you into trouble with the bow, but playing too timidly can be just as bad.



You have to find the place of balance in the middle.



You also have to learn that working on your intonation is a a job that NEVER ENDS.  You can NEVER afford to slack off on that.



Ultimately, you are the only one who can correct your intonation... your ears and your fingers have to do it!  Classical instruction isn't a magic wand-  Jack Benny was a good violinist, but deliberately played badly as part of his comedy routine.   And who was he "sending up"?  No, not fiddlers- he was spoofing bad violin students!  And it WAS funny, because back then, nearly everyone had a relative or a neighbor at some point in their lives that was horrendous, or at least monotonous!  One of my own sisters took violin lessons, and she never got beyond the level of "Drop-whatever-I'm-doing-and-FLEE-to-my-friend's-house" BAD.



And she's very talented in various ways, and can sing, and play some guitar and recorder- just not violin!


Edited by - fiddlepogo on 12/06/2012 20:57:18

clamdigger - Posted - 12/07/2012:  02:28:30


Listen a lot and correct one problem at a time. Good advice Fiddlepogo. With ViolinLab, I can send videos to the teacher and she critics them and sends advice back to me. I realize that learning violin is not really learning to fiddle but I am doing it to get the basic strokes, etc then off to Nashville. Thanks Clamdigger

FiddleDiddler - Posted - 12/07/2012:  04:05:27


Lots of good advice. I think I will get the recommended American Fiddler book, maybe find a decent teacher that I can check in with once a month & find a jam to check out once in a while. With all of that plus the FHO, I know I can do it. I know it will take a lot of work, and not be a fast process. Probably the first tune I should learn is "Flop-Eared Mule" because when I make up my mind to do something I can be just as stubborn as a mule to get it on the way. It should be my personal anthem.

daddy-o496 - Posted - 12/07/2012:  18:13:38


I floundered around for a while trying to play the fiddle. I thought that it would be easy because I already played pretty good mandolin and guitar. My breakthrough came when I started lessons with a classical violin teacher and learned about 2 minutes into the first lesson that my bow technique was a joke. After about a couple weeks of lessons and slow, deliberate bow exersizes it started to come together. I never would have figured good bow technique on my own. If you can swing it at all, get a few lessons from a good classical violin teacher and learn good bow technique. It will make things quick and easier in the long run. Good bow technique is required no matter what style of music you play. Pals, Vic.

fretfulchild - Posted - 12/07/2012:  18:43:34



I would recommend Erbsen's book for a first book.  I think it's just the right balance serious instruction, humour, and encouragement which the beginning student needs.  It has a very simple approach, a good recording to accompany it and sensible, easy to read tablature.   Try it. You won't be sorry.

fiddleiphile - Posted - 12/08/2012:  06:55:00


It has'nt been mentioned yet but Mel Bay publishes a book by Craig Duncan called "You Can Teach Your Self to Fiddle". It is first rate for a begginer book, only about $10.00 and by the time you are through it you will be playing some decent Oldtime tunes. Just take your time and don't get ahead of yourself. As everybody states it would be easier with a teacher but this simple little book can get you started.

fiddleiphile - Posted - 12/08/2012:  07:47:42


I saw in your profile that you are also trying to learn banjo and dulcimer. In my opinion, as a brand new begginer in music, you might pick the ONE instrument you are most intrested in and focus on it. There are enough distractions along the way without adding in a couple of more instruments that also require practice time and different mind sets to play. Once you get a handle on one, other musical instruments become easier to learn because you are building on the knowlege gained from the first. I think trying to learn 3 from a zero starting point would be confusing.

mudbug - Posted - 12/10/2012:  03:44:17



quote:


Originally posted by fiddleiphile




I saw in your profile that you are also trying to learn banjo and dulcimer. In my opinion, as a brand new begginer in music, you might pick the ONE instrument you are most intrested in and focus on it. There are enough distractions along the way without adding in a couple of more instruments that also require practice time and different mind sets to play. Once you get a handle on one, other musical instruments become easier to learn because you are building on the knowlege gained from the first. I think trying to learn 3 from a zero starting point would be confusing.






 I don't know about that.  If he's retired and has plenty of time during the day,  breakthrough's on one might help to fuel progress on the others.  Intense focused practice as opposed to mindless noodling is the key to progress.  Welcome and good luck in your journey.

fiddleiphile - Posted - 12/10/2012:  06:51:59


I thought making progress was the point!

Lynn1 - Posted - 12/13/2012:  07:03:50


I also like the Craig Duncan book. And, he plays some of the songs online. He is teaching those songs. He is a fiddle teacher and is a very methodical, patient teacher. I'm about half through the book and my family is really surprised at my progress. Like others have mentioned, take it one lesson at a time and practice it. It's really fun. When I get through this book, I'll try some of the others. I've also looked at the ViolinLab site and it looks very good. Another good one is Dr. Susserhauser (something like that)...totally free. These are violin teachings, but the basics are there and I've benefited as supplementary materials to Craig Duncan's book. Craig Duncan focuses on the fiddle music. This whole process is lots of fun and hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.

RobBob - Posted - 12/13/2012:  08:32:49



I learned without a teacher.  I bugged the hell out of a lot of fiddlers along the way, but otherwise put my  nose to the grind stone and got to work.  A teacher can help you with some of the aspects of learning, but you have to do the hard work.

modon - Posted - 12/18/2012:  11:46:37


When I first began fiddling, I took info from anywhere I could find it. As a result of that approach, I had a mish mosh of different styles and techniques that didnt sound very authentic. I'd learn tunes, but never seemed to have em nailed. Later, I was fortunate enough to meet several fiddlers in my neighborhood who played a distinct style. Hours spent with them playing and talking about 'the old days' along with getting pointers and drilling certain 'ya gotta know this one' sessions.
I finally can say I play within a certain style. Now I consider myself one of the latest in a line of fiddlers that reaches back for many many years. Not everybody would be satisfied doing what I do, but I'm proud to bear the tradition passed down to me by all those great fiddlers. Now, when I learn a new tune, I make it fit within the limits of the style I was taught.
So, my advice is to find a fiddler you admire and spend the time it takes to do what they do as well as you can. Listen to their aches and pains and stories that happened 50 years ago as if it were last week. In effect, thats like finding a teacher, but somehow it takes it further. Those great old time fiddlers sound the way they do because of the lives they lived as well as the technique they learned. I think old time fiddling is as much about the people who preserved it for us than simply about the tunes themselves.

mswlogo - Posted - 12/18/2012:  12:02:15



quote:


Originally posted by modon




When I first began fiddling, I took info from anywhere I could find it. As a result of that approach, I had a mish mosh of different styles and techniques that didnt sound very authentic. I'd learn tunes, but never seemed to have em nailed. Later, I was fortunate enough to meet several fiddlers in my neighborhood who played a distinct style. Hours spent with them playing and talking about 'the old days' along with getting pointers and drilling certain 'ya gotta know this one' sessions.

I finally can say I play within a certain style. Now I consider myself one of the latest in a line of fiddlers that reaches back for many many years. Not everybody would be satisfied doing what I do, but I'm proud to bear the tradition passed down to me by all those great fiddlers. Now, when I learn a new tune, I make it fit within the limits of the style I was taught.

So, my advice is to find a fiddler you admire and spend the time it takes to do what they do as well as you can. Listen to their aches and pains and stories that happened 50 years ago as if it were last week. In effect, thats like finding a teacher, but somehow it takes it further. Those great old time fiddlers sound the way they do because of the lives they lived as well as the technique they learned. I think old time fiddling is as much about the people who preserved it for us than simply about the tunes themselves.






 Good point. I mentioned this in my blog on Fiddle Hell how one of the teachers basically said what you're saying. That is, to focus on one style at a time. I jump from Irish to Old Time in one evening, probably why neither sounds very authetic.


Edited by - mswlogo on 12/18/2012 12:02:46

IdleHands - Posted - 12/21/2012:  07:01:08


For the record, i fully reject the assertion that one must choose a style. Everything you play you play like you. We are all founders of whole new stylistic movements.

baregrass - Posted - 12/22/2012:  04:59:53



My advice to anyone starting to learn violin; get some lessons early on from a good classical teacher. They can show you the most efficient way to finger the instrument and most important, good bowing techniques. The bow is the really hard part to get good at. Good basics will carry over into any style of fiddle playing and then once the foundation is there self-teaching is much easier. My 2 cents.



 



Mike

ronwalker49 - Posted - 01/14/2013:  09:15:31



quote:


Originally posted by baregrass




My advice to anyone starting to learn violin; get some lessons early on from a good classical teacher. They can show you the most efficient way to finger the instrument and most important, good bowing techniques. The bow is the really hard part to get good at. Good basics will carry over into any style of fiddle playing and then once the foundation is there self-teaching is much easier. My 2 cents.



 



Mike






I respectfully disagree with your position...I played violin through school in the orchestra and I consider it to be time wasted...I believe learning chord structure on the guitar and mandolin helped more than anything...

mswlogo - Posted - 01/14/2013:  10:06:33



I mostly agree with baregrass.



Teachers can vary wildly though, even classical ones (which is fine). I'll bet Ron got more out of school orchestra than he thinks. I sure wish I had when I was a kid, but I was big into Math and Computer Club instead (i.e. the Geek Club).



I know a few people that just completely blow me away with similar number of years playing and age. And later I find out, Oh yeah, I played for a few years when I was a kid. 1 year as kid will probably save you 5 as an adult.



I really feel you need many teachers though and you pull together your own picture of what fiddling is.



"Teachers" includes co-jam-session members, camp teachers, paid (or unpaid) one-on-one and Books/DVD's/YouTube.



When I started with my 3rd teacher I made it clear that if I choose to discontinue, it is no reflection on them, I'm just choosing to get another viewpoint to help me form my own.



Sometimes I'd go to back to back sessions at the same camp and they contradict each other somewhat. That's ok. Just tuck that knowledge away for another time and you'll figure out what's best for you and when.



If you read fiddler magazine you'll see all the biographies involved multiple phases of "teachers".



I just can't imagine figuring out some this on my own without some one-on-one teachers (which includes Skype) in your plans.



You don't know what you don't know.



You will also quickly learn if a teacher is worth it. And just because one does not work out, don't write them all off.



If money is a issue Diane raises a good option of sites like Violinlab.com that you join for $30.00 for 3 months and you send self recorded videos in.


Edited by - mswlogo on 01/14/2013 10:16:20

Brian J - Posted - 01/14/2013:  16:42:37



I think whether you 'need' a teacher or not depends a lot on what you want to accomplish.  And how fast you feel like to have to accomplish it.  I started playing fiddle in my mid 50's and never took a lesson.  I had played guitar for quite a while so I had music basics, and I've always had a good head for music.  But all I wanted to accomplish on the fiddle was to enjoy myself.  Not interested in 'playing out' or being in a band and such.  And I have succeeded beyond my wildest hopes.  I love this thing.  I've been playing for about 8 years now, all by myself, and I get along pretty good.  Now I play with other guys once in a blue moon.  Enjoy that too.  For me, two things have been really critical to my success.  First I knew what genre of fiddle music that I wanted to learn - Cape Breton stuff in my case -  and I listened to a LOT of it.  All the time.  Still do.  Second thing is, I spent twenty bucks, or whatever it was, to buy a full function copy of Amazing Slow Downer and learned how to use it.  I rip CD's and U-Tube videos (the audio part) and work with them on the computer with this program.  I've learned hundreds of songs that way.  That said, I don't think there's anything more important to learning to make the music - as opposed to playing the notes - than just listening to a lot of what it is you'd like to play.

sophiabrugman - Posted - 01/14/2013:  18:55:33



good luck,,, and persevere,,,  i am curious,,, can ya sing?? whistle a tune,,,,   then ya will be able to 'translate' that to the strings,, let her soar!! 



and while the thinking cap is on... paper training doesn't hurt!   all the best! 

FiddleJammer - Posted - 01/14/2013:  20:04:15



I think it's helpful to not think about these issues as either / or. There are many ways to make an omlet. But a person needs to decide that they're going to make an omlet, goldurnit, and stop making excuses for why the omlet didn't get made.

brya31 - Posted - 01/15/2013:  05:32:39



I used this book and I really liked it.  I still reference it from time to time.


 


quote:


Originally posted by fiddleiphile




It has'nt been mentioned yet but Mel Bay publishes a book by Craig Duncan called "You Can Teach Your Self to Fiddle". It is first rate for a begginer book, only about $10.00 and by the time you are through it you will be playing some decent Oldtime tunes. Just take your time and don't get ahead of yourself. As everybody states it would be easier with a teacher but this simple little book can get you started.






 

tonyelder - Posted - 01/15/2013:  07:48:19



I think time spent doing any thing in an attempt to learn something is never wasted time. It may not be the most productive use of your time - but you did get something out of it.



I think that setting goals for yourself will go a long way in helping you decide how much help you will need. If the goals aren't to "lofty" or unrealistic, then you will probably enjoy doing things at your own pace. A teacher (lessons, expectations) may only cause frustration.



If you set some high expectations for playing and want to be agressive about getting there - you'll probably only frustrate yourself trying to do it on your own.



What do you want to play?  How well do you want to be able to play it, and how soon? 



Personally, I've never been really comfortable with the idea of asking someone to tell me what to do, or what to play, when to play, and then tell how well I am or am not doing. Other folks need that - I understand. But it seems there is a whole lot of baggage that comes along with that kind of  scenario (some of it unintentional and well meaning, but not always welcomed). So, that kind of "plan" has never really worked for me. ...maybe under certain circumstances, maybe. 



...just me.



 


Edited by - tonyelder on 01/15/2013 08:03:46

vibratingstring - Posted - 01/15/2013:  08:59:46



I am three years into self-taught violin after a 1 week workshop with Bev Smith at Ashokan.    I touch base with the violist next door now and then, and I had two touchup lessons from Jane Rothfield.   So I think self-taught works, BUT



...... this violin is your first instrument.   I think a mix of self-taught and touching bass with a teacher regularly would be a great idea. 



Larry



 

dogmageek - Posted - 01/26/2013:  17:59:35



What ronwalker49 said. Chord structure on the guitar and mandolin helps a lot.

jennismith2 - Posted - 01/27/2013:  14:25:24



I've been playing a little over two years, and I"m really glad that I found a good violin teacher right from the beginning.  Even if you're not interested in playing classical music, a solid foundation in the basics (positioning of left hand and bow arm, intonation, string crossings, ect) will likely serve you well.   



Personally,  I take a "half and half" approach.  I have classical lesson and go to a local Old Time Jam weekly.  I get a lot out of both ways of learning, and I couldn't imagine being without either one.  It's certainly possible to become a good player completely on your own.  But I think it would probably take much longer in the end to get where you want to go.  Most people would probably benefit from finding the right instructor, especially in the beginning when you don't really know where to start.  Ask the folks at your local violin shop for recommendations as to who to learn from.  Or try online lessons.   


Edited by - jennismith2 on 01/27/2013 14:26:25

dogmageek - Posted - 01/28/2013:  18:38:18



QUOTE: "Personally,  I take a "half and half" approach.  I have classical lesson and go to a local Old Time Jam weekly.  I get a lot out of both ways of learning, and I couldn't imagine being without either one."



Well you may find you should use a 90 ~ 10 approach. Reduce classical to 10 or below. Proceed. Or 99 ~ 1 reduce the classical. Attenuate. Barely audible. Now there.



 

the_great_snag - Posted - 02/02/2013:  16:50:03


I've been playing for about a month now. My background is in wind instruments and piano. This is my first serious excursion into strings. So far I'm obsessed! I bought Erbsen's book and have already sawed my way through all of the songs. I even have a couple sounding decent, at least to my ears. I really enjoy his arrangement for "Rye Whiskey" and "House of the Rising Sun".

I self-taught myself saxophone and trombone and am hoping I can do the same with the fiddle, but I never miss a chance to ask others for help.

fiddler87 - Posted - 02/05/2013:  16:46:04


I'm self taught. I always wanted lessons but they could never fit in the budget. But I recently found out I live very close to a very, very good teacher (from everything I have heard and then some!) and have decided to just scrimp and save and try to get in a few months of lessons in. I don't get to jam much anymore and really sometimes feel like I need someone else to help me see if I am having problems anywhere. I'm not a very confident player yet.

jennismith2 - Posted - 02/05/2013:  20:50:37



quote:


Originally posted by dogmageek




QUOTE: "Personally,  I take a "half and half" approach.  I have classical lesson and go to a local Old Time Jam weekly.  I get a lot out of both ways of learning, and I couldn't imagine being without either one."



Well you may find you should use a 90 ~ 10 approach. Reduce classical to 10 or below. Proceed. Or 99 ~ 1 reduce the classical. Attenuate. Barely audible. Now there.



 






Thank you very much for your suggestion, but I'm very happy with my current approach to learning the fiddle.  It's working quite well for me, and I don't see any need to change what I'm doing. 



I like playing classical music just as much as I like playing Old Time...they are equally challenging in different ways.  Why should I have to choose one over the other?  What I do may not work for other folks, but I've found the "half and half" approach to be very helpful to me.        



 

tonyelder - Posted - 02/08/2013:  23:04:45


If you're scratching where you itch - your doing what you need to do. imo

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