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Posted by Phoeniceus on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Started working on Boatmen, aka Boatman Dance, ala Dans Boatman Dans, aka etc.

I've been learning off Alan Jabbour's version, and it turns out to not be so terribly difficult. Or perhaps, gasp, I'm just getting better at this fiddle thing.

My tune list is up to something like 45 tunes, but I'm not playing them all solid. I don't wwant perfect, but I do want solid. I am not a perfect walker, but I am solid. I can walk down the street, and I may not be the fastest walker on the planet, or the one with the most endurance, and I occasionally trip when I'm not paying attention, but I can always get to my appointments on time with dirtying my clothes or causing an accident. I am a "solid" walker, and I want to be a "solid" fiddler. I want to be able to kick off a tune up to speed and get it right the first time. I want to be able to carry a tune at a jam session, even if no one else knows the tune but they play along anyway. I want to know where my bow is going next at all times, and I want my intonation to not suck. I want to play a tune without that horrible screech or worse, silence, when I shift to the E string. I want a tempo that doesn't unconsciously speed up or slow down. Basic stuff. Solid.

So I've started reviewing tunes I thought I knew, spending time with them, getting to know them all over again, one at a time. I might spend an entire week with a single tune - which is not a lot of time, because I'm lucky to get an hour a day to practice. I will play it slowly, making sure I know exactly where the bow is headed at all times. (Reminds me of soccer or basketball, where if you want to know where your opponent is going, you watch their hips). I go back and listen to recordings of the tune, and find all the things I had left out or forgotten, and I try to put them back in, if I feel ready for them. And when it feels smooth, and I don't think I can handle any more on that tune, I let it go and start on a new tune. So far, it's been working very well for me.

3 comments on “Practice”

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 @2:09:34 PM

Nice ruminating. Solid.

bj Says:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 @4:03:43 PM

Good to see you blogging again. We've missed ya!

I've been going through the agonies of trying to make my kickoffs strong. They're getting better, but I still have a ways to go.

If you get into a habit of downbowing on the downbeat, your bow direction issues will go away. Really. I can finally say that it's a rare day when I get that awful silence on the E string. That's all in keeping the bow parallel to the bridge.

Things do get better if you just keep hammering at it.

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 @12:53:50 PM

Yes, "solid" is a GOOD GOAL!!!!

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