Posted by brya31 on Monday, October 5, 2009
For the first time since I picked up the fiddle, I used the quit word. I have been goin to jam sessions for 1.5 years and I still can only keep up on two tunes. Angeline the Baker and Soldiers Joy. For some reason it takes me forever to learn a tune. I work a lot of hours now and every night I have to help two kids with homework, this has dramatically decreased my practice time. I am lucky to get 15-30 minutes a night. So now by the time I go thru my scales I have but a few minutes to practice a tune and then I forget the darn thing by the time I go to the local jam session. It really got to me last night. I told my wife that maybe I just wasnt meant to play music because my ability to learn a tune is very very badddd. Thankfully my desire to play overwhelms any desire to quit so I will drudge on and a gal name Jessica on the other site really gave me a boost this morning too. Thank goodness for the internet.
Monday, October 5, 2009 @2:45:32 PM
Just hang in there we all have our moments of weakness when we are ready to chuck the instrument through the window! Its hard to find the balance. But I think that if you are helping the kids with there homework they should help you with your fiddle practise its only fair. Play to them while they are in the tub if you have to . but don't quit especially not if you enjoy it.
Monday, October 5, 2009 @3:33:18 PM
Nooooooo! No quitting allowed! If you can keep up in a jam on Soldier's Joy, you are a fiddler, so it's actually too late to quit. Soldier's Joy is a common tune, but it's not an easy tune.
So, let's think how we can get a few more tunes under your belt given your limited practice time. First off, maybe you could chuck the scales (or at least not do them every night. Or maybe just one or two to get your fingers calibrated.) Fiddling is fun, and scales aren't.
Next, how long is your commute? Are you listening to fiddle music during your commute? If not, it's time to start. If you are, it's time to focus. Pick the next tune you want to learn, and burn it to a CD or your MP3 player, and listen to it on your commute both ways, over and over and over. If you can listen to music at work or at lunch, that's great, too. This all counts as practice time. Listen actively when you can (humming, counting, etc.) and passively when you can't. When you can hum it without listening to the recording, try to play it. If it doesn't come, play Soldier's Joy and listen to the new tune again tomorrow.
Third, it's OK to tread water for a while. Life interferes sometimes, and if you can just maintain Angeline and Soldier's, you're still a fiddler. Many of the old time fiddlers that we revere had a limited number of tunes. They led busy lives and worked hard and probably didn't have the leisure time that many of us have for tune acquisition. So, when all else fails, make like a real old-timer and go into maintenance mode.
Whew! You scared me so badly with that "Q" word, that I got all verbose!
Monday, October 5, 2009 @4:04:08 PM
Rob, try what I do. I leave the house for work at 6:30, so by getting up at 4 A.M., I always get an hour of practice in, in the morning, when your brain is sharper ( yes, I have coffee first). Then in the eve. I get anouther practice, but if the eve. one is short, oir just plain sucks, you don't feel so bad. Pick ONE new tune. Listen to it driving. Hum it at work, tuck the munchkins into bed with it. Don't go on to anouther till you get that one. Just don't quit. Nobody likes a quitter! (just kidding!)
Monday, October 5, 2009 @4:34:14 PM
I feel for ya. I live alone at the mo (though it looks like that may eventually change) and haven't had so many things pulling me away from my fiddle as you have, so I could indulge in long practices and lots of jamming time. So if it looks like others are pulling ahead of you, remember that they don't have as much on their plate as you do. The munchkins have to come first, we all know that. You can't judge your own progress by the progress of others, it's apples and oranges.
Just keep at it, even if it's only 15 minutes of play time a day. And maybe it is time to throw the scales out the window and just work on tunes.
The others have good advice about listening. Put the next tune you want to learn on an endless loop and listen to it over and over for hours. That'll help.
Make sure you learn a group of tunes in the same scale at the same time, it makes the second, third and fourth tune much easier. Heck, if you have to stay in the key of D for the next year, that's okay. That seems to be the key we all play the most in. And you already have a good start in that key, with two tunes!
Monday, October 5, 2009 @4:36:10 PM
Oh, and tell your wife to wash your mouth out with soap. "Q-U-I-T" is a four letter word. :-)
Monday, October 5, 2009 @4:45:44 PM
Thanks all for the advice....mudbug getting up before I go to work and playin? I got to be at work 4:30 am, LOL I dont function very well that early and I know my fiddle dont and....the kids might not like me playin that early LOL I get what you mean though. Thanks all for your help, comin here always picks me back up!
Monday, October 5, 2009 @7:58:01 PM
Hey Rob a suggestion to use on learning new tunes. I don't know how you go about learning tunes, but I had learned this method quite a few years back which I have found works great for me when learning a tune, especially old time tunes. With a standard old time tune, that is not a crooked tune the A part and the B part can be broken into phrases. 2 measures for each phrase and 4 phrases in each part. Phrase 1 and 3 is usually exactly identical and phrase 2 and 4 will be different. In the B part again phrase 1 and 3 will be the same, phrase 2 will be different, and phrase 4 will be the same as phrase 4 in the A part. Using this work on learning a phrase at a time for example in the A part work on phrase 1, the first two measures until you get it down, then work on phrase 2 the same way. The next step it to work on playing phrase 1 and 2 together. Now you already know phrase 3 so work on phrase 4. Finally work on putting all the phrases together in the A part playing them through. The other thing that I have always had drilled into me from instructors and workshop leaders always play the A and B twice through. This method can sometimes seem tedious, but from my own personal experience this way of learning and thinking has helped me to learn a tune much faster than if I was to try to learn it straight through from beginning to end. Hopefully this helps and at least you made it longer than I did before the "q" word had crossed my mind, only lasted about a day and I was ready to throw something out the window at the time. ;>0
Monday, October 5, 2009 @8:18:38 PM
Never quit. Never, never quit. Never, never, NEVER quit! Especially if you are tuning a banjo, since that's a never ending task.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @1:38:30 AM
Banjo players actually TUNE tune their banjos? Huh! ;-)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @2:47:49 AM
Rob I was really shocked to hear you say that!! But I do however see where your coming from. I have only one kid to watch over, but at the same time that makes me her play mate since she has no other siblings. It's very hard trying to juggle everything. Maybe with the school year being new again it's just gonna take some time to get re-organized. I don't know how late you work till but maybe you can put your evening tasks into time frames. So much time for this , so much time for that, etc. And if somethings don't get done...Oh Well. And make sure you get time on the weekend for yourself too.
Just don't "quit". No one should quit...unless it's become something you dread doing. And I know that's not the case!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @4:52:06 AM
Well, you can't quit because I'm looking forward to jamming with you in Indiana next year. So there! (smile)
Tell us more--either by post or private message--about how you approach learning tunes. I think there are probably a million ways to go about it and maybe we can help you come up with some new, more effective, ideas. Is it that you can't remember how to play tunes that are in your head or is it that you can't remember the tunes in your head?
And then you say you can't keep up in the jam . . . Maybe that group is just too dang fast for you at the moment? Are there other people who play together in your area who take things a bit slower? I'm a reading teacher by training and the key there is to find a recreational reading level for kids that's comfortable. No one wants to read for fun at their frustration level. It's too hard and discouraging! And I think maybe the same thing applies to music?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @3:36:00 PM
NO, NO, NO. Took me a month just to learn my last song and I still don't have it up to snufff. Skip the scales and play fun stuff.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @4:22:07 PM
Cynthia anymore I have about 30 minutes of time to practice, I go thru my scales and then spend about 10 minutes on songs I already know just to keep them in my head....then I spend the last ten minutes on the song I am trying to learn......
Dee....crazy enough, right now I am working 7 days a week, I get one weekend off a month....yepp half our plant is laid off and the other half is working to make up for it : (
Ozarkian DL Says:
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @6:32:06 PM
Playin a fiddle is like life itself.....jus keep-on keepin on.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @7:41:58 PM
I got to tell that I've been playing since 1978 and I have "quit" so many times. For so many people it seems to come as a natural. 5 years ago I picked it up again after not playing for 3-4 years and FINALLY it is starting to feel right. So "quit "as often as you like... just don't forget to pick it back up!. Music really is a fun thing and the fiddle is a really fun thing to play. I love not having frets
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 @8:10:18 PM
So, I don't want to be a pain in the neck but I really wish I could help. (It's the reading teacher in me!) Can you tell us more about what you do during that ten minutes working on the new tune? (Or just email me?) And what tune are you working on? There are many approaches to learning things and I'm wondering if we can help you come up with a more efficient way of doing it--something that works better for you than what you're doing now. Cynthia
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 @4:08:55 PM
Wow, thanks for all the support, Cynthia I will email you. : )
Humbled by this instrument Says:
Friday, October 9, 2009 @10:32:08 AM
Hey Brya. I wouldn't be fearful of quiting. I have quit thousands of times. I've joined FA, discussed with others how much my fiddle addiction has not only caused me pain but also brought untold torment to many a loved (and hated) one. I've tried patches. But nothing works. You can't stop. Statistically only 2% do. Alas, I'm afraid you'll just have to learn to live with the fiddle.
Saturday, October 10, 2009 @12:43:56 PM
You must listen to the song repeatedly until it is in your subconscious. If you can whistle it, or sort of sing or hum it, you are 3/4 of the way to playing it.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @6:08:06 PM
I dont care how good a fiddle player is, at one time or another we've all been there. It's frustrating but hang in there. I have been playing off and on for a while and i speak from experience when i say you'll have periods where you will feel like you're really making progress then other times you will feel like you're hitting a wall. Make a recording of yourself, the way you play now, then put the tape away and dont listen to it. Then six months or even a year from now get the tape out and listen to it. It's hard to notice your progress on a day to day basis. I'd also keep playing scales, just not so much that they burn you out. (maybe for 5 minutes everyday) The trick to playing scales is to play them slowly and when you hear yourself playing a klunker, then stop and move your finger until the note sounds right. Then I would play the note before you heard the klunker, then the next note,(which should be the one that was out of tune). Go back and forth a couple of times between those two notes making sure your fingers are on the right spot, then continue with the scale. If you play scales fast and the notes aren't in tune, all your doing is practicing to play out of tune. Good Luck.
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