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double stops and tension.

Posted by Watergal82 on Sunday, April 15, 2012

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My new fiddle lessons are going well. One thing I like about this teacher is that she's good at the technical stuff, and at breaking it down. My teacher has pointed out several things to work on and given me exercises to work on. Among other things, I've been working on switching strings more cleanly, and double stops.  On my own, I've been improving the things I can already do, like play a tune musically and come up with variations, increase my speed, and learn new tunes. But I've been having a lot of trouble getting started on things I don't do at all, or do very rarely, like double stops, playing up the neck, or vibrato. So taking lessons is giving me motivation and direction where I've been struggling.

The double stops are tough. The goal is to play a version of Maiden's Prayer with lots of double stops in thirds, but I think it's going to take a month or two to get it really fluid. I've decided to seriously cut down on the double stops in the tune for now, and just concentrate on the double stop exercises for a while.

My biggest difficulty with the double stops is that they are hard enough that I get very tense when I'm trying to play them. At first, it took me a full day to realize that was the problem. I was trying to get myself in tune, and just tensing up more to do it, and my coordination was miserable. My pinky especially was flying all over the place. It wasn't until I realized my left arm was sore that I figured out the problem. So now the goal is to relax while playing them, especially my left hand. I've gotten to the point where I can play the easier exercises with no problem, and I'm making progress on the harder ones. If I tense up as I play, I stop, relax, and try it again.

I'm way better at noticing things like that when I playing exercises than music. With the music, I get caught up in the tune, and how it should sound musically. Mechanics fall by the wayside. With exercises, I can concentrate on learning the mechanics so well that in the tunes, I don't have to think about anything but the music.



3 comments on “double stops and tension.”

fiddlerd Says:
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @10:28:22 AM

Getting a teacher is one of the best things I did. She can correct me and ask me are you looking at the sheet music. I reply no....I'm playing from memory....she said take a look....I look and say Oh, No wonder it don't sound right I missed something!! Now when I practice at home I look very carefully at the sheet music before, during and after I play.....see it works!!

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @9:00:05 PM

Here's what my first instructor said: "Don't use vibrato. You're playing like an electric guitarist would by bending the string to hit the note. It's better to be in tune all the time rather than half the time." Me: "It's better than being out of tune all the time; I'm doing it my way; I'm bigger than you; you're fired."

nancymae Says:
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 @1:46:28 PM

What a great suggestion Karen!! I have problems with double stops as well as droning. It seems like I hesitate each and every time there is one or the other in a song. I'm sure it's tension with me too. I do alot of things when I do my practice scales, so why not double stops and/or drones while I'm doing my scales!!! Perfect! I have been working on "Cindy"..but it's laughable. No way could I play that song with all those shuffles or drones. I play just the simple melody, but I'll try the scales thing first and work it that way! Thank you!

We will get there...just takes practice!!! and patience!!!

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