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Jun 29, 2022 - 8:44:26 AM
10241 posts since 3/19/2009

Virtually every time I attend a festival I'll see these people.. Usually, over 60, often with a spouse, always holding a fiddle and standing outside, way outside, the jam circle..Some making only the most basic of bow movements and obviously not playing a tune.. but just Trying with all their heart and Wishing they could play a fiddle tune.. I imagine that fiddlers like this (yes, I still call them fiddlers) Wanted to play the instrument their whole lives but things like family, job, lack of support...somehow kept them from learning to play.. My heart really goes out to them.. Have you seen these fiddlers at festivals that you attend? Have you BEEN one of those fiddlers?

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:49:49 AM
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doryman

USA

329 posts since 2/10/2020

I see these people, holding all kinds of instruments; banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins. There's nothing wrong with starting outside of the circle, heck, that they are there with fiddle in hand is 95% of the battle.

One thing that we can do, is to be inviting and welcoming. Make eye contact, say hello, invite them to sit at an available chair.

Jun 29, 2022 - 10:51:17 AM
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145 posts since 9/17/2017

I'm one of those guys. Over 60 with a spouse, anyway. The only experience I have had jamming besides with my banjo playing friend is at Indiana Fiddlers Gathering. My wife and I have been attending for years but we always go to see the performances but in the last 3-4 years I've gotten a chance to play with other musicians but not in an old time fiddle jam. That's why I camped this year because I wanted to get my feet wet but family obligations got in the way. Correct me if I'm wrong here Lee but, it seems like most of the campers at IFG are in groups that know each other and are used to playing with each other. Not sure I'd be welcome and probably don't know many of the tunes.

Jun 29, 2022 - 1:01:09 PM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

I see these people, holding all kinds of instruments; banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins. There's nothing wrong with starting outside of the circle, heck, that they are there with fiddle in hand is 95% of the battle.

One thing that we can do, is to be inviting and welcoming. Make eye contact, say hello, invite them to sit at an available chair.


Yes, I do that!!!  ...to a fault!!! 

Jun 29, 2022 - 1:08:40 PM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by indianajones

I'm one of those guys. Over 60 with a spouse, anyway. The only experience I have had jamming besides with my banjo playing friend is at Indiana Fiddlers Gathering. My wife and I have been attending for years but we always go to see the performances but in the last 3-4 years I've gotten a chance to play with other musicians but not in an old time fiddle jam. That's why I camped this year because I wanted to get my feet wet but family obligations got in the way. Correct me if I'm wrong here Lee but, it seems like most of the campers at IFG are in groups that know each other and are used to playing with each other. Not sure I'd be welcome and probably don't know many of the tunes.


Let me correct you.. YOU ARE WRONG.. you saw my canopy area.. usually 8-10 musicians.. Sure, a core group knows each other but constantly, newcomers stop by, stand around, and pull up a chair.. Next year, the Good Lord willing, you and I will play together.  You'll be welcome and if you just want to sit in the circle and listen that will be ok with all of us.. If you noticed, some of the group are Highly skilled and others only know a few tunes, poorly.... but we all have fun.. Having said that.. There are always small groups of people who are either a band preparing to perform, insecure musicians who huddle together..still having fun, or  sometimes they are friends who have waited a long time to get together.. No matter what, jam culture is that is 99% of the time it is  OK to hang around and play in the background.. NO MATTER WHAT, Indianajones.. YOU are NOW considered part of my next year's Battleground experience... Let's make this happen!!! Wadda ya say?

You'll notice that in the public jam where we met, I only knew ONE other musician.. and there were various skill levels.. Same at my jams.. I've posted about meeting other fiddlers ..some came to my jam and others, I met by walking over to another small jam nearby.....Those of us who didn't know each other on Friday afternoon...DID know each other by Sunday morning.. Next year.. you-,me!!!

At Battleground, Hangout members BSED and Chickenman met for the first time.. !! John Lamancusa just came in and sat down at our jam.. I had no idea who he was and was embarrassed to have to ask him his name THREE times because of my poor hearing in a noisy situation.. don't know if he knew any of the others, but we hit it off....and I met Jordan Wan-koff by walking over to a jam where I knew just one guy....so... There are no rules except ya gotta stick your neck out..

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 06/29/2022 13:16:44

Jun 29, 2022 - 3:27:38 PM
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2703 posts since 10/22/2007

The best jams I've ever been in were with complete strangers. They may have been Grammy winners or common sinners, I never asked.

Sometimes those fiddle holders are pretty good fiddlers but for one reason or another they are shy. I learned the real way to play Sally Goodin from one of these guys. Some folks know their tunes, inside out but their repertoire doesn't cross with anybody else's. Actually their repertoire is scary good and only a half dozen folks still alive know it, and or can play along. Had one of these fellows ask me how I know this tune or that tune, I said I really don't know it, I just play along, then forget it. I started out collecting tunes but found the same dilemma. Then I figured out tunes can be sort of related, and mostly started trying to play whatever the next tune was on the radio. So you never know what's coming next. They look at me like I'm nuts.

Jun 29, 2022 - 3:44:54 PM
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1919 posts since 4/6/2014

Thing is that someone with a family and a job and no musical support isn't a fiddler. They are a person with a family and a job who owns a fiddle. "You can't have your cake and eat it". Music for me is something i would do, (or have tried to do), above all other things. No kids, or career (or pension!). And if i die trying (Which is more than likely)...So be it....

Just wish i could have started earlier in life instead of taking up some B*ll S**T jobs that i had no interest in, and that sap away the physical ability to be able to play the fiddle, (Chainsaws, shovels, and hammers etc.),...Like a lot of other folk.

A bit Strong ...But there it is....A musician is a musician, and another thing is.. another thing.

Jun 29, 2022 - 4:00:04 PM
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DougD

USA

10653 posts since 12/2/2007
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Pete - I "liked" your post and then I started thinking about many brilliant musicians I've known who had other careers - Tex Logan, Will Keys, JP Fraley, Lee Sexton, Ralph Blizard, Tommy Jarrell, just to name a few. They had the "fire" though.
PS - And not only "pick and shovel" careers either - "Tex" Logan, IIRC, had a Phd (from MIT?) and worked at Bell Labs. When I arrived here in 1978 one of the stalwarts of the old time scene was Bruce "Doc" Mongle, a banjo player who was also a respected physician. He supposedly traveled to Florida to see Carter Stanley and told him he needed to quit drinkinf, but Carter chose not to take his advice.
Over in NC, Mack Snidderly, a fine fiddler, was a dentist: blueridgeheritage.com/artist/m...snoderly/

Edited by - DougD on 06/29/2022 16:19:45

Jun 29, 2022 - 4:24:53 PM

DougD

USA

10653 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

PPS - Tex Logan biography: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_F._Logan
Interesting that, like Tommy Jarrell, he was named after a prominent early Anerican.

Jun 29, 2022 - 4:28:26 PM

1919 posts since 4/6/2014

Well That's 5 or more lucky folk, out of how many million wannabees like myself ? Wonder how many of those picked up fiddle in their 30s/40s. Rather than having a musical background/family/support, and started out earlier in life.... And had "The Fire" also?

I think that music is a performance art that has to be learned and honed just like any other job. And most sucsessfull musicians nowadays are cherry picked and trained from a very young age. And even then it is a lottery wether they will be able to make a living,(EDIT and get a pension) from it.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 06/29/2022 16:30:57

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Jun 29, 2022 - 5:59:04 PM
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RobBob

USA

2832 posts since 6/26/2007

One of the great thrills of my life was meeting so many good musicians and learning from them. Many never were known outside of their communities and others were quite well known. There as a tavern owner way back in the mountains who was so well known that a fellow passenger saw my instrument and started telling me about him. I had to laugh, because outside of those mountains not too many people have ever heard him. Or the retired preacher who moved near me because he said he'd beaten all of the fellows out where used to live in contests and didn't have his pulpit to hide behind any longer. Some were bad to drink, some never touched it but they all played the fiddle in a unique and powerful way. Heck that preacher taught me some mighty fine Benny Martin tricks. Another fellow showed me some of Arthur Smith's techniques.

And like Doug said above, Tex, JP and a whole host of other fiddlers were kind and giving people who would share a bit of their art with a younger fiddler. It has made for some great memories and a few tricks that I've kept alive.

Jun 29, 2022 - 6:22:02 PM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Thing is that someone with a family and a job and no musical support isn't a fiddler. They are a person with a family and a job who owns a fiddle. "You can't have your cake and eat it". Music for me is something i would do, (or have tried to do), above all other things. No kids, or career (or pension!). And if i die trying (Which is more than likely)...So be it....

Just wish i could have started earlier in life instead of taking up some B*ll S**T jobs that i had no interest in, and that sap away the physical ability to be able to play the fiddle, (Chainsaws, shovels, and hammers etc.),...Like a lot of other folk.

A bit Strong ...But there it is....A musician is a musician, and another thing is.. another thing.


Good points Pete.. I may have been a little 'generous' with my definition of a fiddler... but that is mostly beside the point.. I just 'feel ' for those people........frown

Jun 29, 2022 - 6:48:27 PM

13467 posts since 9/23/2009

Slightly off topic here...I never make it out to festivals and such...but I've played something (not fiddle) for nearly 60 years and never could call myself a musician...lol...just never felt deserving of the title. Then, when I broke my arm and was at the mercy of surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, etc., who were suddenly in command as to what would become of my right hand, I found myself constantly blurting out in a pleading way..."I'm a musician...I'm a musican...i'm a fiddler...I'm a musician!!!!" just wanted to make sure they sewed whatever it is back just right so they knew what I intended to become of my hand...lol. Since then I've frequently referred to myself as a musician, a fiddler among other things. True or not, I just never could say it until it was so important medically speaking, ya know?  I mean, I never could do it as a sort of badge of honor thing, but as self-protection and preservation...yes, I'm a musician...a fiddler among other things.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 06/29/2022 18:49:42

Jun 29, 2022 - 6:51:21 PM
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10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Slightly off topic here...I never make it out to festivals and such...but I've played something (not fiddle) for nearly 60 years and never could call myself a musician...lol...just never felt deserving of the title. Then, when I broke my arm and was at the mercy of surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, etc., who were suddenly in command as to what would become of my right hand, I found myself constantly blurting out in a pleading way..."I'm a musician...I'm a musican...i'm a fiddler...I'm a musician!!!!" just wanted to make sure they sewed whatever it is back just right so they knew what I intended to become of my hand...lol. Since then I've frequently referred to myself as a musician, a fiddler among other things. True or not, I just never could say it until it was so important medically speaking, ya know?  I mean, I never could do it as a sort of badge of honor thing, but as self-protection and preservation...yes, I'm a musician...a fiddler among other things.


I suppose that the people I'm talkin' about, if they were in your shoes would be telling the doctors, '" I'm GOING to be a  musician, I'm Going to be playing a fiddle"..laugh

Jun 30, 2022 - 4:24:27 AM

13467 posts since 9/23/2009

lol...well, maybe, as long as we all let them doctors know how much we NEED our hands!

Jun 30, 2022 - 8:05:04 AM

145 posts since 9/17/2017

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by indianajones

I'm one of those guys. Over 60 with a spouse, anyway. The only experience I have had jamming besides with my banjo playing friend is at Indiana Fiddlers Gathering. My wife and I have been attending for years but we always go to see the performances but in the last 3-4 years I've gotten a chance to play with other musicians but not in an old time fiddle jam. That's why I camped this year because I wanted to get my feet wet but family obligations got in the way. Correct me if I'm wrong here Lee but, it seems like most of the campers at IFG are in groups that know each other and are used to playing with each other. Not sure I'd be welcome and probably don't know many of the tunes.


Let me correct you.. YOU ARE WRONG.. you saw my canopy area.. usually 8-10 musicians.. Sure, a core group knows each other but constantly, newcomers stop by, stand around, and pull up a chair.. Next year, the Good Lord willing, you and I will play together.  You'll be welcome and if you just want to sit in the circle and listen that will be ok with all of us.. If you noticed, some of the group are Highly skilled and others only know a few tunes, poorly.... but we all have fun.. Having said that.. There are always small groups of people who are either a band preparing to perform, insecure musicians who huddle together..still having fun, or  sometimes they are friends who have waited a long time to get together.. No matter what, jam culture is that is 99% of the time it is  OK to hang around and play in the background.. NO MATTER WHAT, Indianajones.. YOU are NOW considered part of my next year's Battleground experience... Let's make this happen!!! Wadda ya say?

 


You invited me to join your jam at the open jam and I would have except other circumstances got in the way.  Thank you for your kind words and invitation and I'm all in.  I really wanted to get there earlier on Friday because you guys were already jamming by the time I got there.  Were there other hangout members there?

Jun 30, 2022 - 8:21:51 AM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by indianajones
quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by indianajones

I'm one of those guys. Over 60 with a spouse, anyway. The only experience I have had jamming besides with my banjo playing friend is at Indiana Fiddlers Gathering. My wife and I have been attending for years but we always go to see the performances but in the last 3-4 years I've gotten a chance to play with other musicians but not in an old time fiddle jam. That's why I camped this year because I wanted to get my feet wet but family obligations got in the way. Correct me if I'm wrong here Lee but, it seems like most of the campers at IFG are in groups that know each other and are used to playing with each other. Not sure I'd be welcome and probably don't know many of the tunes.


Let me correct you.. YOU ARE WRONG.. you saw my canopy area.. usually 8-10 musicians.. Sure, a core group knows each other but constantly, newcomers stop by, stand around, and pull up a chair.. Next year, the Good Lord willing, you and I will play together.  You'll be welcome and if you just want to sit in the circle and listen that will be ok with all of us.. If you noticed, some of the group are Highly skilled and others only know a few tunes, poorly.... but we all have fun.. Having said that.. There are always small groups of people who are either a band preparing to perform, insecure musicians who huddle together..still having fun, or  sometimes they are friends who have waited a long time to get together.. No matter what, jam culture is that is 99% of the time it is  OK to hang around and play in the background.. NO MATTER WHAT, Indianajones.. YOU are NOW considered part of my next year's Battleground experience... Let's make this happen!!! Wadda ya say?

 


You invited me to join your jam at the open jam and I would have except other circumstances got in the way.  Thank you for your kind words and invitation and I'm all in.  I really wanted to get there earlier on Friday because you guys were already jamming by the time I got there.  Were there other hangout members there?


Yes,  Chickenman (Billy)  and BSED (Bruce)  were there as well as three members who seldom post here......

Jun 30, 2022 - 3:32:50 PM
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3052 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Virtually every time I attend a festival I'll see these people.. Usually, over 60, often with a spouse, always holding a fiddle and standing outside, way outside, the jam circle..Some making only the most basic of bow movements and obviously not playing a tune.. but just Trying with all their heart and Wishing they could play a fiddle tune.. I imagine that fiddlers like this (yes, I still call them fiddlers) Wanted to play the instrument their whole lives but things like family, job, lack of support...somehow kept them from learning to play.. My heart really goes out to them.. Have you seen these fiddlers at festivals that you attend? Have you BEEN one of those fiddlers?


My observation, in talking with many of those folks, what kept from learning to play their whole life... generally has nothing to do with family or job; rather had a lot to do with overrating aspects about learning/playing a musical instrument.  (involving negatives, attitude, myths, fears, intimidation, esp about future). Some ironically fueled by teachers and formal education system.

Interesting, for many of those that waited until later in life... main thing that changed was attitude; and perhaps goal/metrics/expectations. Once liberated from ideals, concern or fear about if might be doing things improper or wrong; just go for it best can, and have fun; found basic (make music) really not as complex as thought, wonder why they waited.

Jun 30, 2022 - 4:17:47 PM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Virtually every time I attend a festival I'll see these people.. Usually, over 60, often with a spouse, always holding a fiddle and standing outside, way outside, the jam circle..Some making only the most basic of bow movements and obviously not playing a tune.. but just Trying with all their heart and Wishing they could play a fiddle tune.. I imagine that fiddlers like this (yes, I still call them fiddlers) Wanted to play the instrument their whole lives but things like family, job, lack of support...somehow kept them from learning to play.. My heart really goes out to them.. Have you seen these fiddlers at festivals that you attend? Have you BEEN one of those fiddlers?


My observation, in talking with many of those folks, what kept from learning to play their whole life... generally has nothing to do with family or job; rather had a lot to do with overrating aspects about learning/playing a musical instrument.  (involving negatives, attitude, myths, fears, intimidation, esp about future). Some ironically fueled by teachers and formal education system.

Interesting, for many of those that waited until later in life... main thing that changed was attitude; and perhaps goal/metrics/expectations. Once liberated from ideals, concern or fear about if might be doing things improper or wrong; just go for it best can, and have fun; found basic (make music) really not as complex as thought, wonder why they waited.


I suppose every case is unique.. I know THREE  elderly fiddlers who Really would excel if they would take instruction, but for some reason they won't.  In two of the cases when instruction was suggested the spouses said, "Good luck with that..They Won't be told what to do.''.... but they still carry on and are having fun, so that is something..just don't want to sit next to them in a jam...

Jun 30, 2022 - 5:04:52 PM
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3052 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Well That's 5 or more lucky folk, out of how many million wannabees like myself ? Wonder how many of those picked up fiddle in their 30s/40s. Rather than having a musical background/family/support, and started out earlier in life.... And had "The Fire" also?

I think that music is a performance art that has to be learned and honed just like any other job. And most sucsessfull musicians nowadays are cherry picked and trained from a very young age. And even then it is a lottery wether they will be able to make a living,(EDIT and get a pension) from it.


Lot's of folks picked up fiddle in 30s/40s (and later)... but this and a few other comments that reminds me of another point about goals/expectations and titles.

I imagine that fiddlers like this (yes, I still call them fiddlers)

Many folks go in with idea is to be the title, such as "a fiddler"; or other instrument title (guitar, bass, banjo, piano player). To which might get in the way, be part of problem put undo pressure. Often ill-defined; what does that even mean; folks don't agree what qualifies? Generally reflects some imagined higher expectations, qualifications. 

Similar is the overall be the title  "musician" - seems often relegated to as more some job/career or professional thing; or some idea of successful; or perhaps to be a great icon "master"?  (again these are ill-defined, even what is successful?)

Alternatively, just a thought (especially for adults)... what if the goal is simply just to learn to do - just "some" things about a particular instrument,  just to be able to make "some" musical sounds... maybe enough to participate, to play "some" songs/tunes. Don't worry about age started, growing up, lessons/training... or if you get certification of qualifications to earn title of "fiddler"; or "musician"... nor worry about or career/awards/master.  Just enjoy participating in making music, what music you can. To me this is the essence of folk music.

There are lots of folks that learned in 30s/40s (or older), and successfully learned to play reasonably well, to enjoy participation. (including quite a few on FHO)

-------------

One easy example. Can show many folks some things on bass, just alternating open strings on beat, key of D... perhaps expand a bit from that. They had no learning intention/goal nor pressure to "be a bass player", nor would consider themselves a bass player (nor perhaps musician); but they learned enough to sit in and accompany lots of fiddle tunes and songs. (of course if do it enough, get solid... others might refer to you as "bass player"). Similar less pressure idea can work on other instruments. 

Related, I recall Chet Atkins was playing fiddle on PHC... his goal was simply "not bad fiddling... for a guitar player".laugh I adopted some of that when comes to fiddle, banjo, mandolin... I'm really a bass player, who just learned to do a few things on those other instruments, so hopefully not bad considering.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 06/30/2022 17:06:42

Jun 30, 2022 - 6:19:30 PM
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2703 posts since 10/22/2007

And speaking of "titles" there was a time it seemed where every other fiddle playing fool but me was a Champion fiddle player. Reminds me of Kentucky Colonels. Who was it that said, "I found out where you can buy trophies. Now I'm good at everything."smiley

Jun 30, 2022 - 6:25:11 PM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

And speaking of "titles" there was a time it seemed where every other fiddle playing fool but me was a Champion fiddle player. Reminds me of Kentucky Colonels. Who was it that said, "I found out where you can buy trophies. Now I'm good at everything."smiley


I'm just hoping for the "Particapation Trophy"..

Jun 30, 2022 - 8:12:31 PM

199 posts since 4/2/2019

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler

Related, I recall Chet Atkins was playing fiddle on PHC...


Hmm. I didn't know that Chet ever played fiddle! I looked on YouTube and sure enough there was a video of him in a "fiddling contest." Fun! Thanks for pointing this out!

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:15:13 AM
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RobBob

USA

2832 posts since 6/26/2007

I heard Chet play fiddle. Basically good, standard fiddling. His tone was thin IMHO but he fiddled! Roger Miller fiddled as well. He was quite good actually.

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:31:19 AM

199 posts since 4/2/2019

quote:
Originally posted by RobBob

Roger Miller fiddled as well. He was quite good actually.


Roger Miller, too? That's even more surprising, lol.

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:40:36 AM

177 posts since 12/30/2008

quote:
Originally posted by RobBob

I heard Chet play fiddle. Basically good, standard fiddling. His tone was thin IMHO but he fiddled! Roger Miller fiddled as well. He was quite good actually.


Sonny James too. My dad watched some of the country music TV shows in the '70s. One time, I saw Sonny James play a rowdy 8th of January. Left foot on a chair, upper bout resting on his knee, and as I recall, a heavy coat of rosin on that fiddle.

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