Some days I can play well, and others, I struggle to play anything. It is a fact that I need to warm up with a couple of simple tunes before I try anything complicated. When I am alone at home, I play so much better than when I play in public. Feeling tired has an effect, as also does feeling depressed or anxious. Even being in a position of needing to pee, when a toilet is not readily available. Obviously, any medical condition, such as sore fingers, arthritis etc will have a negative effect. Alcohol, in small quantities can be a help. In larger quantities, it makes me sound brilliant, but sadly only to me! I would love to hear the views of others on this subject.
Sounds normal to me......
Well Ken, i think i know what you mean, but i don't think it's "all" about how well a player plays a piece, a lot is about the atmosphere a player creates as they are playing, and how a player conveys their "intentions". i think you will know this being a Busker... i reckon you'll know when the bubble you have created has burst, and it's time to pack up and copper up.....When i was busking i found that a pub was the best place to do that, and the landlord was usually glad of the change.
Then someone in the pub would ask for a tune... And on it went.....And after a while and a few beverages, like you say, i sounded brilliant!! So much so in fact, that the next time i went busking i would stop as soon as i had enough for a "Latch lifter" and head straight for the pub :0)... Sadly now though, a Latch lifter is about £10!!!! ... For a couple of pints and a bag of cheese and onion!!
So now i just stay in and pick holes in my own playing...not good...:o(
Well … some days there is no explanation for why my fiddle won't play nice with me. Granted when life gets in the way for three or four days running I can feel a difference. Then sometimes after just a day or two of laying off "things" sound and feel better …. kind of like I my attentions have been missed. Somebody sometime said the fiddle was a jealous mistress …… There were smart … R/
Yeah, the fiddle can be a cruel companion.
The day to day relationship I have with my wife is pretty much the same as the one I have with my fiddle.
How you are feeling, physically, mentally or emotionally, has the greatest effect on one’s playing. Honestly though, what else does that leave?
My shirts sure feels funny.
Work is really getting busy, we need to step it up.
Goooood morning sunshine!
Ooooh, it snowed again last night; I hurt just thinking about shoveling.
Oooo, it snowed again last night; guess I’ll get some skiing in.
I wonder if I locked the car.
Sorry, no time for you today.
I should have played you yesterday.
Ouch, I should have worn earplugs last night, that band was way too loud.
Sad. Mad. Worried. Elated. Doubtful. Confident. Hungry?
All the ailments that we can and sometimes do have.
We are human. Playing the fiddle is a uniquely human endeavor bound to our existence.
Diet affects me. Sugar and heavy foods especially. Sluggish brain, sluggish fingers.
Originally posted by neptune
When I am alone at home, I play so much better than when I play in public.
A couple of obvious possibilities --- one is that you simply get nervous when playing in public. If that's the case it's very normal --- I remember my fingers getting so sweaty that they would literally slide on the fingerboard. More experience helps a lot with that. While the nervousness may never completely go away, it does lessen with time. Most people who play in public frequently have either gotten over it or learned to control it and many actually use it to an advantage.
Another possibility relates to the physical characteristics of the venue. When you play at home, chances are you usually play in the same room. But if you change that you will find it can sound very different. When you play, e.g., in a living room with carpeting but a larger area it will sound quite different than playing in a bathroom (or similar smaller room) with the door shut, or playing in the basement, or the back yard. The size and shape and amount of sound absorption or reflection of each area is different (and way beyond my ability to explain).
And don't overlook the fact that your instrument is different every day and in every setting due to variations in temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and who know how many other things.
A couple things I try to do when playing dances --- warm up as least a little (15 minutes) at home, get to the dance location 30-60 minutes prior to the dance to let the fiddle acclimate to the local climate, and play a few scales or other exercises quietly before the dance starts --- and double-check tuning at the last possible time before playing.
"Some days it just works better than others". I do usually play better in the mornings, fresh-I-guess.
It takes more out of me to play fiddle than banjo or guitar,but I have played it a shorter time. I can play banjo ok even if I am tired,but who even notices anyway,right? :0)
If I switch from my best fiddle to another, I'll feel like I sound terrible. Or if I put on a mute.
I sometimes wonder if the idea that we play better when we are alone is just a result of us being more forgiving in that situation (and more laudatory when we play especially well one time through).
Satisfaction = perceived outcome - expectation.
For fiddle: how happy you are with your playing = how well you *think* you sound relative to how you expected to sound.
Both those variables change from day to day, and I find that after a good day, my expectations go up and I end up disappointed the next.
Edited by - FiddleBas on 03/18/2019 07:15:05
Ken/neptune, you need to play more. I think no more about playing fiddle than brushing my teeth. How much playing to get to that point, is probably different for each. But setting something similar for a goal is the start: Think up the hardest tune you know. Learn it. Be able to play it imediately upon picking up any fiddle.
The whole endevour/milage will make a better, more durable, fiddler.
So your tone changes a bit from day to day. So what.
Sounding better at home just means you need to play out more. See line 1.
I have had some very interesting and perceptive replies to my original question. Regarding Farmerjones post. I really do play and practice an awful lot. Weather permitting, I busk an hour a day, and practice one to two hours in an evening. I tend to struggle a bit at folk music clubs, where when it is your turn, you play on your own. Sometimes others will join in on guitar, banjo etc. So the audience consists of other musicians, some who have been playing years longer than I have. This is a real test of nerves, much more so than busking. I started playing fiddle four years ago, aged 69. I am pleased with what I have achieved, although I always strive to be better. Lately, instead of learning new tunes, I am concentrating on perfecting several tunes that I can "nearly" play, and it is paying off. Also, we all need to remember that only one person can be the best in the world, 95% of people cannot play at all, and we need to be thankful for what we have.
Ken, it really sounds like you've got it dialed in. You're playing more hours a week than i am. It may be a grind, but I love every minute. I started in 2003 at 30. I wouldn't take back one second of it. If you haven't had enough trainwrecks, how does one know how to recover?
Played a nursing home last week. Dropped my pick on the first tune. (I also do some singing/guitar work) Not only was i booked back, but by the time i got home, i had another offer. I think folks can tell when you truly Love to be there.
Be sure to practice stuff until it's impossible to play it wrong, rather than practice until you get it right. All the Best, FJ
'Fiddler's Pastime' 21 hrs
'High Ham' 21 hrs
'Smith & Wilkes' 1 day
'Notched bridge' 1 day