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The latest goings-on in my fiddle world, after a year.

Posted by Mandogryl on Sunday, February 14, 2010

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in here, so I thought I would do so with what has been happening in my fiddle life.

I’ve been taking lessons now for a year, and they have been half hour lessons. I will up this to one hour sessions in March. My teacher is very good, we like the same kind of music, and she lives ten minutes from me. I couldn’t ask for a better situation there.
I’ve been doing a lot of jamming, lately, on three different fronts: Saturday afternoons I jam with an old-time clawhammer player who had started learning his instrument about the same time as I, around a year ago. That was slow going at first – the blind leading the blind kind of a thing. But we’ve managed to put together a list including, Blackberry Blossom, Old Joe Clark, Angeline the Baker, Wayfaring Stranger, and Kitchen Girl. Then we have a few in the works. Tam Lin/Catharsis medley, Wizard’s Walk, Amazing Grace. Just the mere act of playing with someone else is great for me at this level.
After I leave his house I grab a cup of coffee and head over to another jam session just five miles away where they play mostly old Country. Now, I will say that I am not a big fan of this genre. I used to bring my guitar, and when they’d say, “Okay Stephanie, it’s your turn” I just did not get it and would launch into a song that might be in F#m. They would all sit, arms folded. You see, these are one-chord,-four-chord-, and five-chord folks. Simple stuff, change your keys with your capo and they don’t pretend to be anything else. On guitar or mando I was bored to death and would noodle Bach in between tunes. Then about two months ago I thought “Ah-ha!”, and decided that the simple chord structure would be great for my playing fiddle by ear, and backing up a singer skills. So I began attending again, and received many positive comments mostly about how good the fiddle sounds. I am hoping to transfer some of those skills to the Bluegrass jam next Sunday. I might even try to lead them in Kitchen Girl and Salt Creek if I am brave enough. And I hope to leave my safety net (the mandolin) home.
I’ve been building a violin and have a photo album on my home page regarding this project. It will be my first such build, and I am making it from scratch. So far so good, and I am on schedule of having it strung up by May. I hope so because I have plans for June and August.
I have made a friend who is a fellow fiddle player and she likes the same type of music as I do. In June, if all goes well, we will get together for the first time, and play music. And…she is going to the Maine Fiddle Camp with me, and…she is a member of the FHO.
Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to “jam” with the great Cape Breton fiddler Andrea Beaton. Most of her songs I did not know, and she knew some of mine. So we mostly did backup for each other in these instances, or tried to teach the other the tunes. After that I sat in the audience as she played a sold-out concert.
So, a lot is happening in my fiddle life these days. I am just as excited now as when I began this journey.

7 comments on “The latest goings-on in my fiddle world, after a year.”

bj Says:
Monday, February 15, 2010 @8:05:23 AM

All sounds good! I can't wait to see how your fiddle comes out and hear how it plays! Maybe someday you'll build one for me out of Maine Spruce and Maple. Have you sourced any tonewoods up there yet?

mudbug Says:
Monday, February 15, 2010 @1:45:32 PM

Good for you. Only a year and so much on your plate.

Mandogryl Says:
Monday, February 15, 2010 @2:51:41 PM

Yes, BJ, I have some great Red Spruce, really old stuff. I've made a couple of mandolins out of it.
And I have found some Sugar and Red maple, and sawmill that calls me to look see what they come across.
It is a special thing to build with native wood.
After fiddle camp, and if this fiddle sounds especially good, I'll send it down to you but only for inspection.
Thanks, Steve, yeah, alot happening in my corner of the state if you seek it out. I see you are busy too.

bj Says:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 @10:31:56 AM

Well, let's wait and see. My new freelance writing gig is really taking off quickly, and I can work whenever and wherever, so it just might happen you'll see me up in Maine! Art Bryan, one of my FAVORITE people in the OT community, teaches there. ** fingers crossed! **

Mandogryl Says:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 @6:29:44 PM

I knew Art had been living in New Hampshire last I heard. Where is he teaching in Maine? Does he play fiddle now?
Congratulations on the writing! What kind of writing are you doing?

daniellestanleyful Says:
Saturday, February 27, 2010 @6:19:35 AM

Wiow ! You have been busy. I'm impressed. You're hardly a "bum" Maine Fiddle Camp sound terrific. Think I'll look into that myself....Since reading about the average fidle practice time being 2 hours a day, which shook me up, I've been aiming at that also and what a difference in my learning rate. As long as I take 10 every 50 min. I'm fine.
Thanks for the inspiration.

Mandogryl Says:
Saturday, February 27, 2010 @6:34:28 AM

Yes, you ought to look into Maine Fiddle Camp.
Congratulations on the two hour practicing time, DanielleStanleyful.
It goes by quickly.

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