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Picking up tunes on the fly . . .

Posted by bj on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the excitement of talking about how successful last night's jam was, I forgot to mention that this is the second oldtime jam in a row where I picked up a tune on the fly. This time it was Cluck Old Hen. I also got most of Julianne Johnson, though that one has a couple rough spots. And I got most of June Apple too.

I guess I can now say that learning that tune, Spotted Pony, at the Druckenmiller's jam was not a fluke. This is a skill whose time has come for me. I have a feeling it'll get better as I get better. The simpler tunes are the ones I'm picking up more easily now, but the more tunes I learn, the more skills I learn.

I  just wish I could get up to speed. That's the next hurdle. Especially since I got the feeling that us novices were holding the jam back just a bit last night and I don't want to scare away the good players.

6 comments on “Picking up tunes on the fly . . .”

playmorebluegrass Says:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 @6:53:55 PM

i looooove to play cluck old hen!!! not too good on spotted pony yet. do you know of a good arrangement or midi file i could listen to of Julianne Johnson?

bj Says:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 @7:07:13 PM

Glenn Carson (GSCarson) has a nice version of Julianne Johnson right here on the hangout--

FiddleJammer Says:
Thursday, March 12, 2009 @7:35:21 PM

For speed.... don't take the time to press to hard on the strings. A light touch will help your noting hand fly faster. And, flap your bow hand in a more up and down motion, rather than a side to side motion at the wrist. Keep flying up that learning curve, BJ!

bj Says:
Thursday, March 12, 2009 @7:42:54 PM

I'm working on that. Weirdly, a light touch seems to currently take away a bit of accuracy, and I have to analyse why. It'll come. It's just that I want it NOW. :-)

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, March 12, 2009 @9:17:51 PM

Well, first of all, you have to figure where the bottleneck is, just like with data. Is your right hand holding your left hand back, or is your left hand holding your right hand back? If you can figure out which one it is, maybe we can get you a quick remedy. If you're equally slow on both hands, you have a problem that'll probably only get solved slowly.

Actually, if you haven't already, you need to keep a list of the tunes that get played at the jam, and focus on learning compatible versions of THOSE. Fiddling confidence is won tune by tune, and you want to get confident on the ones you're jamming on first.

bj Says:
Friday, March 13, 2009 @6:09:42 AM

Well, I've been concentrating on my left hand a lot lately. And whenever I go that direction, the right hand gets just a bit sloppy. With the reverse happening when I go the other direction. I feel like I'm on an eternal seesaw with this dang thing. Anyway, the left hand is slower and has some of the timing problems WHEN I'M STRIVING FOR ACCURACY. When I don't strive for accuracy the speed picks up and the timing gets better. And it sounds like crap. :-)

Got the tunelist already. I've been playing the heck outta the tunes I learned at the jam, as well as going once through all the others every day.

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