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Nov 21, 2020 - 3:39:43 PM
13 posts since 11/20/2020

Hi. Anybody have any tips about getting of a plateau? I’ve been practicing hard to improve, but I feel like I’m not making progress. I’ve been playing a lot of years, so this is not the first time. But my old tricks—learning new tunes, slowing everything down, and focusing on technical basics—don’t seem to be doing it.

Nov 21, 2020 - 4:02:23 PM
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2239 posts since 8/23/2008

What do you want to improve...?

Nov 21, 2020 - 4:20:18 PM

2089 posts since 10/22/2007

I know present circumstances, probably prevent this, but have you been playing with other people?

Nov 21, 2020 - 4:27:16 PM

13 posts since 11/20/2020

Everything. Not trying to be flippant. I have made progress I guess on timing by working with a metronome. My intonation is good except fourth finger on the e-string and in upper positions. (Been doing scales and shift exercises 2nd-5th positions occasionally) But mostly, I Just want to move my playing to the next level. Just getting frustrated because I’m grinding away without apparent progress.

Nov 21, 2020 - 4:33:43 PM

13 posts since 11/20/2020

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

I know present circumstances, probably prevent this, but have you been playing with other people?


Some, but not like usual. Last year I was performing at church once or twice a month and doing contra dances or performances with my Irish group once or twice a month. This year, as everybody has experienced, it's an occasional socially distanced session.

Nov 21, 2020 - 4:56:44 PM

2239 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by bulltrout

 I Just want to move my playing to the next level.

 I’m grinding away without apparent progress.


Which level is this, and what is in that level.

Make a list of technique you wish to improve .

Here's some stuff I wanted to improve......




Nov 21, 2020 - 5:21:16 PM
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2089 posts since 10/22/2007

Sorry Henry, but are you posting examples? I'm confused.

Nov 21, 2020 - 5:33:56 PM

2089 posts since 10/22/2007

Sorry Steve. But in circumstances like these, 500 hr. fiddlers have the same problem as 2500 hr. fiddlers. Everybody is sorta trying to keep thier chops up. I bought a looper, for a new wrinkle. Some have been recording. I'll be interested in your answer to Henry as well. I don't teach or instruct. I figure if one plays in a group, one can sorta smell one's weekness. Playing a fiddle is times harder than cyphering feedback in a group.

Nov 21, 2020 - 5:45:25 PM

8800 posts since 3/19/2009

OK, here is a possible thingy to do. Find a tune you like on Youtube videos.. Listen to it a lot.. SLow it down and try to PLay how it SOUNDS... This might be a far cry from how you are playing now.. That is, If you are reading music.. start using your EARS..Just a suggestion!!

Nov 21, 2020 - 6:33:53 PM
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2239 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

Sorry Henry, but are you posting examples? I'm confused.


Yes, of course It's an example, it's my list of stuff I wanted to improve so wrote it down, firstly in a book but I would forget. So then I used a white board to see while I was practicing. They're very old examples, these days I have different goals and I seem to remember them because they're not so many, and not technically focused.  But the point is you gotta decide what you want to improve, what is it that you want to do and can't do yet, work on that and record the progress. There are so many aspects to playing the fiddle which depend on style, genre, and goals, you gotta have goals.  

Nov 21, 2020 - 6:41:29 PM
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224 posts since 6/11/2019

Cull notes. Install melody first, then add the accoutrements after you can play the tune in you sleep.

Play with metronome. Treat it as your playing partner. Work it up.

Not many fiddlers fool with anything above 3rd position. 2 octaves in any key. I'd concentrate on that region.

Take some time off? Don't grind it in, play another instrument. Sing a little. Come back in a couple weeks refreshed.

Nov 22, 2020 - 4:51:50 AM

163 posts since 11/28/2018

I second what Scott said about time off. Years ago I went on a month-long camping trip and didn't take the fiddle. I was worried that I'd be back to square one when I returned but what actually happened was the opposite. Played better than ever.

Another idea is to focus more on the production of individual notes; micro-slides up or down at the beginning or end of a particular note, small changes in volume during a note or a phrase and what the bow needs to do to make it happen. I'm assuming based on your experience that you already know about pulses and where to put them in the music --- but if not spend some time with that. I'm sure you can find plenty of info in the archives on techniques for this.

And if you really want to go in a new direction, try tresillo rhythms if you don't already know them. I've been working on this for several months and it's finally becoming comfortable. To be more specific, for an 8-count section try bowing D u u D u u D u, with slight accents on the downbows. Only works in some tunes but certainly adds a completely new character when it does fit.

Nov 22, 2020 - 6:29:28 AM
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2290 posts since 10/1/2008

This is a tough time on any performance art. The lack of opportunities to gather and play is taking a toll. I have started back on a couple of specific recordings. Working through the tunes , listening to them slowed down. I am picking apart phrases searching for the how as much as the what. My bowing always needs work. Intonation is such a slippery slope that I work with a cello tone on most keys .... To progress in these times I have had to renew my joy in playing. For the OP that will be an entirely personal experience. One thing I would recommend is to make a day trip to the nearest quality violin shop and play some instruments and take his own instrument to tryout some bows. Sometimes a change is what we need..... R/

Nov 23, 2020 - 7:51:24 AM
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586 posts since 8/10/2017

Maybe take some lessons. You can do it remotely. They will tell you things you can't figure out yourself. One new little thing can lead to others, open up new pathways.

Nov 23, 2020 - 11:02:20 AM
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1422 posts since 4/6/2014

i'm repeating myself but....I got out of a rut/plateau by slapping my thighs to Juba rhythm. Then thinking in juba while i'm playing.

Free Juba

good luck

Nov 23, 2020 - 1:22:32 PM
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Peghead

USA

1587 posts since 1/21/2009

I'd rather be stuck on a plateau than in a rut, the view is better! When you hear good playing it sounds like one cohesive thing but it's really a package of different things that are addressed separately and come together. The elements of good playing are universal, even tone, articulation, timing, intonation, and good taste (optional) and gaining control of them. Learning another D tune may not be the answer. Just recently I mentioned recording one's self. I would recommend that. Record a tune that represents your baseline playing and be really objective about it? Ouch! What is it that you like to improve or be be different, it could be a combination of things. Look for habits or unwanted mannerisms. and work on those elements individually. I recently did the same thing with my intonation and after all these years, started to play half steps much closer together which I like a bit more. Sometimes, especially with fiddlers, self taught technique can be a ceiling that makes it hard to progress. We can't say, but maybe have someone check out your mechanics? Post a video if you care to. A lot depends on what style you play and what you aspire to. Keep posting, there's a lot of knowledge here.

Edited by - Peghead on 11/23/2020 13:27:23

Nov 23, 2020 - 10:03:48 PM

13 posts since 11/20/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

Cull notes. Install melody first, then add the accoutrements after you can play the tune in you sleep.

Play with metronome. Treat it as your playing partner. Work it up.

Not many fiddlers fool with anything above 3rd position. 2 octaves in any key. I'd concentrate on that region.

Take some time off? Don't grind it in, play another instrument. Sing a little. Come back in a couple weeks refreshed.

 

Good ideas; however, if you ever heard me sing you'd regret your advice. Culling notes might be a good thing. I'll try that.


Nov 23, 2020 - 10:06:49 PM

13 posts since 11/20/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Peghead

I'd rather be stuck on a plateau than in a rut, the view is better! When you hear good playing it sounds like one cohesive thing but it's really a package of different things that are addressed separately and come together. The elements of good playing are universal, even tone, articulation, timing, intonation, and good taste (optional) and gaining control of them. Learning another D tune may not be the answer. Just recently I mentioned recording one's self. I would recommend that. Record a tune that represents your baseline playing and be really objective about it? Ouch! What is it that you like to improve or be be different, it could be a combination of things. Look for habits or unwanted mannerisms. and work on those elements individually. I recently did the same thing with my intonation and after all these years, started to play half steps much closer together which I like a bit more. Sometimes, especially with fiddlers, self taught technique can be a ceiling that makes it hard to progress. We can't say, but maybe have someone check out your mechanics? Post a video if you care to. A lot depends on what style you play and what you aspire to. Keep posting, there's a lot of knowledge here.


Funny you should mention recording. Just yesterday I recorded a tune and sent it to a friend so he could learn it. In reviewing it I found a few cringe-worthy moments.

Nov 25, 2020 - 9:11:25 PM

13 posts since 11/20/2020

Lots of good ideas here. Thanks. I’ll try some of them. And Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Nov 26, 2020 - 1:06 AM

2239 posts since 8/23/2008

If you want to play Jazz, then you gotta know your diminished arps, and all the modes on the same tonic.

Nov 26, 2020 - 11:40:45 AM
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1422 posts since 4/6/2014

Good news is, you're going to get off that plateau. Bad news is....you guessed it.....It's called progress

Nov 26, 2020 - 7:58:26 PM
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190 posts since 6/3/2016

One thing I've noticed about my own playing is that some sloppiness comes from hesitation of either my noting fingers or bow hand about what I am going to do next. My left hand doesn't really know where it's going to go next. My right hand isn't sure if the next bow is going to be up or down, or if there's going to be a string change. 

I can actually watch this happen some if I stare at one hand or the other while I play. For a tune I play well, there are no surprises. I know where those fingers are going to go. For tunes with problems, there are times when I'm not sure what's going to happen next. This is a sign that I need to stop and make some decisions about what I want to do. Because knowing where I want to put my fingers ahead of time makes it much easier to actually get them there in time.

I find that this is true even for some difficult tunes that I have played for a long time. My brain doesn't really have a conscious or subconscious plan about what it wants to do. Just playing the tune over and over doesn't necessarily solve that problem. You have to stop and make some deliberate decisions.

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