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Rough night of instruction

Posted by brya31 on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Last night, I had my instuctor totally confused....as well as myself.  We started off with the normal....let me here some tunes.  I played Soldiers Joy for him....the way that I learned it from the dots...he said  Your hitting the notes right, but you not holding them right...in other words my 1/4 notes sound like my 1/8/'s and my 1/8s sound like my 1/2's.  He then had me play my version of Angeline the Baker..it was exactly right.  He scrateched his head and went into deeeep thought for at least 5 minutes.  Of course I looked at him with the deer in the headlights look..he said,   Im not just sitting here  I am thinking,  I couldnt help but laugh,  I knew he finally had a challenge on his hand, something I expected all along.  Plan 2...he then had me sing Oh Susannah as I played it.  I stuggled playing and singing the A part, but the B part I was smooth as can be.  This stumped him again.  Next, Mary Had A Little Lamb,  I sang and played it fine....he then went to Jingle Bells.  For the life of me,  I could sing it,  but I could only play half of it, then I would get lost.  By this time,  I think I was totally rattled.  This all took an hour and a half, so I was bit disappointed.  I felt I spent the whole time doing nothing but going in circles.  His plan for me next visit, was to have me work on Wildwood Flower and Goin to Boston from sheet music,  focusing on getting each note right, using the CD recording to check what I am doing.  Bllah,  just when I think I am doing better I have a night like this and get reallly bummed out.  : (



15 comments on “Rough night of instruction”

FiddleJammer Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @8:14:30 AM

Get thee to a jam.

JohnS Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @8:31:36 AM

I know the feeling. Sometimes the harder I try the worse the result. But, then the next time I pick up the fiddle everything's back on track. So, don't get discouraged.

Rene Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @9:59:36 AM

Monday night I couldn't play a darn thing, last night I had good pratice and made progress. Don't give it, it will come.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @11:03:23 AM

So you are consistently inconsistent? With time this will only be true of new material that you are striving to master. Hang in there, grasshopper, and you will eventually master the instrument. You have a seven-year head start on me.

brya31 Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @1:00:08 PM

Thanks for the support, I do plan on gettin my butt down to the local jam soon!

bsed55 Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @5:38:25 PM

As a teacher, I've been where your instructor was. If you were MY student, I don't think I'd have you playing so many different things in one lesson. I'd really try ("try" being the operative word) to even out your rhythm on one of the tunes you did. Playing in a jam (with other NONFIDDLE instruments will do a lot to even out your timing. One thing I've done is to get a student to a point where she can play Soldiers Joy half-competently, then try to back her on the guitar to teach what kind of a metronomic effect a rhythm instrument can have.

bj Says:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @8:26:43 PM

Do you remember that blogpost of mine where EVERYTHING fell apart? It happens to all of us!

I just went through some issues with timing. Ya know what everyone told me? SLOW IT DOWN until you can play it right every time, then increase the tempo a little bit at a time.

brya31 Says:
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @8:24:05 AM

Your right bj, I think I get bored when I play a song at its normal speed. I like to here some getty up when I play. LOL I went back last night and played them as the sheet music calls them to be played and it sounded right. I also played the cd for the sheet music to make sure I played it the way it should be played. The instructor was right on. Guess I need to calm down and learn to walk before I run.

OTJunky Says:
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @12:12:42 PM

I'm wondering if your instructor is used to teaching beginners.

A lot of good fiddlers don't really know how to teach anybody - since fiddling and teaching are two entirely different things - and teaching people who are just starting out in music requires a different approach than teaching somebody who's coming over to fiddling with a background on some other instrument.

But it sounds like he's trying really hard and the two of you get along so that's probably the important thing.

It's just that from your description of the last lesson, it sure sounds like you're instructor's struggling as much as you are so I don't think you should believe a lesson like that is even mostly your fault.

--paulm

brya31 Says:
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @12:19:16 PM

I get the feeling my instructor is more accustomed to teaching folks who have played another instrument or at least have a good musical background, unfortunately that isnt me

OTJunky Says:
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @5:29:03 PM

That's fine - just accept that when you have a lesson where neither of you know what to do, it's probably as much or more his fault than it is yours.

Then both of you should just smile at yourselves and get on with it.

--OTJ

brya31 Says:
Friday, October 24, 2008 @9:03:30 AM

My instructor has been playing for mannnny years, I enjoy being around him. Sometimes I learn a lot, sometimes not squat, but he's been playing fiddle for a good 60+ years and I try to pick at that brain of his everytime I see him.

jacentaaa Says:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 @8:21:05 AM

Thanks for the comment. My show went great. As for your problem, I say you just focus on one song at a time instead of so many. I get discouraged all the time, but you just gotta get back up and keep trying. It'll all work out in the end. (: Good luck!

fiddlegee Says:
Friday, October 31, 2008 @2:43:06 AM

Hey :) It's seems like your teacher is stumped because you can play some parts of the song perfectly and sing them perfectly but the parts you can do perfectly are the harder parts of the songs I find. Although, he had you play a million tunes... I don't think he was doing it to mess you up! I think he was just trying to figure out where your tonal qualities and your ear is. I would suggest getting recordings of the songs that you are learning, it helps me a lot.. also, don't play everything the same as the notes on the paper... You have to make the tune your own and to do that you have to add your own little flare into it... maybe YOUR way of playing that certain tune you hold the notes for a shorter time, it's your way of playing it-- You don't always have to play the tune like your instructor, because eventually, you won't need an instructor anymore and you will have to find your own way of playing things.
It seems that HE is the one asking you to play tunes... maybe Soldier's Joy isn't your best tune and you really can't stand it-- of course you're going to play it oddly if you don't know or like the tune. If I were the instructor I would ask the student to play something for me that He/She wants to play-- not something I would make them play. I have many tunes that I can play almost perfectly then there are others that I stumble along with and it all depends on how much I practice the piece or how I learn it. Often, learning by note isn't always the best solution because at jams, sessions or even with playing in duet styles-- the music is different from the notes... Do you learn by ear at your lesson? or by note? If it is at all possible PLEASE learn by ear and get the sheet music after you know the tune. I know it takes a little bit longer but it's easier to make the tune your own that way AND you get tons of practice playing it over and over again. PLUS if you learn by ear there is more freedom of expression and you can add little adlibs or anything you want!
That is my input :)
Happy Fiddlin'

G

Phoeniceus Says:
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 @7:53:05 AM

Hey! I have finished posting my history, so you can now find out how it all ends on my blog. Sorry for the postus interruptus.

The one lesson I think it has to teach, which applies to your case, is that it is ok to try and fail repeatedly. Sometimes, your brain has to grow some synapses between the neurons, and that takes a while. It WILL happen as long as you don't quit.

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