I need some tips on Contest Fiddling. Recently, I entered the Senior Fiddler's Contest @ a local event. Best I can figure, out of 7 senior fiddler's, I came in either dead last or next to dead last, and 2 of the 3 judges were friends of mine? NEED HELP PLEASE!
Wow, that's hard to believe...you must really have some great fiddlers in your area...I've seen you playing the daylights outta your fiddle on YouTube...maybe you just played the wrong stuff at the contest???? I hear they are very picky about what you play, but I have no idea since I haven't been within 200 hundred miles of any fiddling contests as far as I know.
Well ..... contest fiddling is about technical prowess more than style. Get a Mel Bay book by Craig Duncan and peruse his arrangements. Very "notey" smooth and slick ... the melody never disappears but it surely gains complexity. Don't take the judges voting to heart ....... R/
You need to play in the judge's preferred style.
Mark O'Connor says to play what the judges like.
Low level contests are fun if they keep it friendly. (if there's jamming) High level contests are a different thing. The whole competitiveness runs counter to me. I know it's tradition. There's entering. Then there's chasing. I will probably enter more contests, but if i needed a trophy i'd order one from Amazon.
Edited by - ChickenMan on 04/17/2017 09:55:31
Originally posted by jefferylong
Any ideas on where I can find samples of Contest Fiddling?
Remember this is a "judges round." Proving she is good enough to be a judge. Oh yeah!
Speaks for itself.
All this being said, better to play something you know solid than stretch your ability too thin.
The Grand Masters Fiddle Contest is held in Nashville every year in September. If I lived in Jackson, I would be there every year.
This is kind of an illustration of what some of us don't like about contests: fiddlers altering or even turning their backs on their own (individual and/or regional) styles in order to conform to contest convention.
Anyway ... carry on!
I would ignore that contest stuff, why put effort into playing stuff they expect to hear, rather than what you want to play? Just look on the contest as an opportunity to entertain some folks with what YOU enjoy to play.
(Go find some dances to play for!)
Winning isn't much of anything and doesn't mean anything when it comes to being good.
Entered a contest in Collinsville, IL, nearly 20 years ago—when I went up to get my fifth place check, the gal handing it to me said, "I'm sorry." (The guy who runs that contest, George Portz, is a so-so fiddler who is rumored to rearrange the results after the judges' scores are tallied.)
Edited by - gapbob on 04/18/2017 08:29:03
I think Bob's got the right idea, though: "Just look on the contest as an opportunity to entertain some folks with what YOU enjoy to play." I played in a number of contests in the past, but it was always because it was a community expectation that I would do so, as my way of contributing (for once), and I looked at it in the way Bob suggests. And when I've watched contests, what I've always enjoyed most is when some old-timer from the backwoods appears, and plays in a style that you know isn't going to get him anywhere with the judges, but is unique and compelling.
That's you?! I thought I recognized you! Okay, then - just keep playing what you're playing, Granddad! Seriously - I would try to go with the attitude that I'm just going to get up and entertain the folks for a few minutes, and let the Contest-Fiddlin' hot-shots get themselves all wound-up about who's better than who .....
I just listened to a few of the recordings you have up on your home-page - they sound great to me. I really like your style, and it is distinctive; I think it would be a shame to try to change it just to win the favour of some hangin' judge at a fiddle contest!
Old Scratch . . . Good point, and thanks for the kind words. ☝️
Edited by - jefferylong on 04/18/2017 21:22:41
Jeff, I didn't wanna say it, but I'm glad Old Scratch cane out and said it...it's your personal choice, of course...but in my opinion, your style, your playing, your uniqueness...its some very nice stuff you have there...I'd hate to see you go messing with your style too much...in my humble opinion. Old time sounds pretty natural coming from your fiddle...I heard you playing and singing Lost John once and I bout flipped...I mean...it couldn't get any better!