Posted by fiddlepogo on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
My wife and I live in apartments, and we're not supposed to make noise after 9:00 pm. Sometimes I go down and practice fiddle in the men's restroom in the lobby after my wife goes to bed, but sometimes I'm just too tired to make the trip down, tippy-toeing all the way. I probably should ask what the permissible start time is for practicing, but I've been assuming 9:00 am. So I've got 12 hours left to practice.... and wake up, and sometimes gig, and sometime shop, and sometimes run other errands. Some mornings I'm too tired or just not awake enough to fiddle. And a lot of times after gigging, shopping, and errand running, I'm too tired to play fiddle.
THEN, I got the drums, which fascinate me somehow, and give me some exercise, help wake me up- but the time invested competes with the fiddle.
THEN, I got a new to me $50 guitar amp I really like the sound of, and so electric guitar has been getting more playing time.... also competing with the fiddle.
Yesterday, I played drums around 9:00 am for 20 to 30 minutes, then went in and played electric guitar for about the same, THEN picked up the fiddle....and it worked really well, had a REALLY good practice session.
And of course, being ME, I stepped back and analyzed it, and I think the drumming got my blood circulating, and woke up my brain and my arms (and legs, but they're not pertinent here), playing some lead guitar woke up my fingers, and then I was ready to play fiddle.
Now, when I was a young whippersnapper, I could just wake up in the morning, and fiddle.
Now, energy is something I practically need to cultivate... I just can't take it for granted. That being said, I can't complain- I seem to have more energy than a lot of people my age.
One of the factors is that a lot of mornings I wake up with some kind of brain fog.... verges on a headache, but not quite.
When I'm brain-fogged, the thought of sticking a loud fiddle under my ear is NOT appealing at all.
But some kind of exercise gets enough blood flowing to the brain, and that seems to clear up the brain fog.
Well, I think I'll go try the drums/guitar/fiddle routine again!
Edit (quite a bit later):
It worked really well. I was kind of uncoordinated on drums first thing, but eventually got it sorted out.
Then went in for some electric guitar playing. In addition to limbering up the fingers, playing electric guitar is much less strenuous than either drumming or fiddle, and it gives me a chance to rest a little.
Then, I had a nice long practice session. I picked Carthy, the #2 fiddle. Booker has been sounding REALLY good after some serendipitous tweaks. Carthy sounds decent, but hasn't been as good as Booker, and I wanted to help it catch up a bit.
I did some tweaks, and also played a lot on the low strings to see if I could get it to open up that way, and overall it was successful, and I went on for a long time.
I think what happened today and yesterday is that with more blood flowing to the muscles and the brain, I have more stamina for a longer practice session.
Walking has tended to be my favorite form of exercise, but there are a couple of reasons for NOT putting it before a fiddling session. It's easy to walk far enough that it tires me out, and I may run into a neighbor and get into a conversation, which may gobble up most of the practice time.
Since not everyone plays drums and electric guitar, if you notice the same phenomenon of being too uncoordinated, lethargic and out of it to play fiddle, the basic idea seems to be:
1. MILD aerobic activity using all four extremities- non enough to get winded or sweaty, just warmed up.
2. Non- strenuous activity involving hands and fingers (typing, knitting, playing piano)
3. Fiddle practice session
4. Save strenuous exercise for later, if possible.
Well, drumming first thing works, because it gets blood to the brain, and that's as good for waking up as a cup of coffee.
But any consistency between the other two, guitar and fiddle seems unlikely!!! For what it's worth, fiddle seems to be winning!
I think it may be because the moods for fiddle and electric guitar are really different.... most of my electric guitar practice is bluesy, and most of my fiddling in major keys.
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