Hello guy's and gal's well I've been playing now 8 months and know 4 tunes and can play them almost mistake free lol just wondering am I doing well for 8 months? Or should I know more tunes then that? Thank you and happy fiddling!
It's probably different for everybody, but if you listen to what Dwight Diller says, you're doing fine. He recommends people learn a few tunes very well and don't try to learn them all until you've got some playing experience you can count on. So, if you're playing your 4 tunes pretty well in 8 months...I'd say that's pretty good!
I feel the quantity of tunes isn't that important. You can always take those 4 tunes and find ways to improve the bowing and still be learning something. I do that to this day with tunes I learned in my first year. Some tunes come easy and others require more time due to learning a technique that is new to you. The fiddle is an endless journey. There's always a another tune around the bend and around the 3 to 5 year mark (depending on your hours of playing) is when it really starts to fall into place and the fun really begins. It is better to know 4 tunes and play them well than to know 100 and sound like.....well, you know.
I haven't yet played a tune mistake-free and I've had a fiddle since the 90s.
I play old-time music and while it's possible to make mistakes (and I make them all the time!), I'm not sure it's possible to play it perfectly without mistakes. One person's mistake is another person's variation.
What difference does it make? Are you enjoying your four tunes, and what it took to learn them? That's what counts.
Well ..... yes .. no ... maybe ... learning to play a fiddle involves sooooo many techniques , understanding how music is made so you know what does and does not work, production of good tone with timing and taste. It is kind of like climbing a ladder ... the higher you climb the more you can see. The more you play the more you will know existists to be played. Knowing how to play four tunes well is good . Knowing how to play four tunes in four different keys is better. Playing with solid intonation and timing with good tone is best. Play on! Get better ! Learn more know more.
One thing I like to do, but maybe I'm the only person in the world who likes to do this, is to play something ridiculously slowly...I started doing that at nights on the porch with my guitar...but I like to do it on all my instruments to this day, and never met another person who says they like to do that. Play it ridiculously slow...and just pay attention to each and every note...what's it doing there...what else could be there...what's the purpose...where's it all going...etc., etc., etc. I always liked to do it out on the porch when I felt half asleep and it was late and the insect choruses were singing along...sort of like when you're head is in a buzz...not from drinking, I mean, just from being tired and drowing in the insect buzzing...but I did it in the wintertime inside when I could too. I still like to do that...especially on the fiddle...you just make amazing discoveries. That's what got me liking to play tunes slower than they are usually played...there's a whole lot of good stuff in those tunes that just doesn't seem to be able to come out when they're played fast. imho.
Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 12/11/2019 07:13:11
I do the same Peggy... play slowly as you described. In fact I was just doing that right before reading this. The musicians I grew up around didn't tolerate slopping through phrases, so for me, it probably comes out of that tradition of giving each note the weight (or wait) it deserves. And some tunes ask for different speeds.
If you periodically record your playing and compare it against previous recordings, here is a suggestion. Don't record too often. Progress takes time, so allow a considerable amount of time between comparisons. That way you will be more aware of the amount of progress you have made.
'Fiddle by-the-Sea' 8 hrs
'String "tightness"' 11 hrs
'Round Barn' 16 hrs