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Aug 10, 2022 - 10:13:58 AM
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2272 posts since 8/27/2008

It wasn't always the case, but playing by myself only means practicing now. I used to have more fire. Now it's hard to find pleasure unless I'm playing with someone else. Over the years there have come to be fewer people to play with around here, and now I look forward at most to once or twice a week with others and the other days I'm just pushing myself, or I don't play.

I see people like Peggy here making videos that keeps her going, and Lee only needs a rabbit and an audience to be happy. I don't like an audience unless I am with at least one other musician. I use Strum Machine to keep me company, but the drive I used to have to keep myself playing alone is flagging.

I guess I don't have a point to make. I'm curious if others deal with this. Maybe it's a phase.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:50:22 AM
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208 posts since 4/2/2019

“…at most once or twice a week with others…”?

Wow, I’m envious! I go weeks and sometimes months without playing with others. I have two groups I’m trying to play with lately, but the Saturday morning jam is difficult at best due to being on Saturday (and it’s difficult for the others, too, so many weekends there isn’t any picking for that group) and the Tuesday night that I started again recently has kept having surprise personal and work conflicts in my schedule.

I usually practice at least two hours per evening (not just fiddle - typically one hour for fiddle, then other time on mandolin, banjo, or others), but it’s all by my lonesome!

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:09:36 AM
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5947 posts since 9/26/2008

I'd like to think it's a phase. I am lucky to have a dance band that practices weekly (ish), but still often go that week without fiddling.

Full disclosure, I play other instruments and these days they get attention that the fiddle doesn't.

I've always played by myself, but with others has always been the goal for the reasons you mention, it's just more fulfilling.

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:27:04 AM
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Swing

USA

2169 posts since 6/26/2007
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I can appreciate your dilemma...over the last two years or so the sessions and playing with friends have mostly dried up around here... I don't like the Zoom meeting format... so playing alone is mostly what is available.... having said that, I enjoy playing so an hour or two daily to me is important..You ask how to keep motivated? uTube is a great source for motivation and learning... I try to learn new tunes constantly, different genres etc.... and as I progress I find that the tunes are getting more difficult in selection... Megan Lynch Chowning has great videos and she played a well known tune 'Turkey in the Straw' as a waltz in Bb... it only took a few tries and it really is a nice waltz... challenge yourself to the next level...

Play Happy

Swing

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:27:06 AM
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nickmc

USA

130 posts since 5/31/2021

I push myself to play the fiddle alone everyday with the hopes of someday having a full enough repertoire that people look forward to playing with me, as strange as that sounds. I would play all day everyday if I had someone to play with haha.

FHO really does give me a place to share. People like Peggy being brave enough to make songs and videos. It is a drive for me. I would like to see more FHO members posting videos and talking about their learning process! That would be even more amazing!

My wife grew up playing violin and she learns songs with me. So I play banjo etc... She isn't a lunatic for oldtime like some of us but, I am super lucky to have her :)

We attend a group as well a few times a month. She plays fiddle at the group and well as another guy and I am the only banjo so I dont sneak in my fiddling yet.

Someday, I hope to feed bored guitarists and banjo players hrs of tunes!!! THAT IS MY GOAL!!

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:39:59 AM
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24 posts since 2/12/2020

During the pandemic I tried doing some online collaboration, but it was sometimes clunky to do.  I found a phone app called Virtual Choir that makes it easy to take or make a base track then play along and multi track.  I'm not a great musician, and I mostly just mess around with the folk instruments I build.   ...But I do have fun playing with myself.

 

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:50:45 AM
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nickmc

USA

130 posts since 5/31/2021

quote:
Originally posted by steveh_2o

During the pandemic I tried doing some online collaboration, but it was sometimes clunky to do.  I found a phone app called Virtual Choir that makes it easy to take or make a base track then play along and multi track.  I'm not a great musician, and I mostly just mess around with the folk instruments I build.   ...But I do have fun playing with myself.

 

 


Awesome video! Subscribed. Thank you for sharing :)

Aug 10, 2022 - 12:06:54 PM
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10398 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by steveh_2o

During the pandemic I tried doing some online collaboration, but it was sometimes clunky to do.  I found a phone app called Virtual Choir that makes it easy to take or make a base track then play along and multi track.  I'm not a great musician, and I mostly just mess around with the folk instruments I build.   ...But I do have fun playing with myself.

 

 


LOVE IT.. Very CLever and Good sounding also..

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:12:08 PM
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1949 posts since 4/6/2014

I just enjoy working out, arranging, and researching fiddle tunes for my own entertainment nowadays....Great fun.
i get small insights every day to to sleep on. Then in the morning things become a bit clearer. Usually I've been over thinking things. But personally i have to sweat the small stuff before i can simplify it and make it playable for myself.

i have found that playing solo is like meditation (maybe? i never meditated before), and i am constantly amazed by the tiny musical insights. They are like small sparks that keep my enthusiasm going...... And most likely only relevant to me...:o)

But every now and again i do hit a plateau...Just got to recognize it as such.

Aug 10, 2022 - 2:10:15 PM
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141 posts since 1/21/2017

I consider myself lucky that my wife plays guitar and banjo, because I'm not the type to search out other musicians to play with. One thing I will tell you though, is that at this point, we rarely just sit down and play for pleasure, unless we have have a gig coming up. Life just seems to get in the way and it's hard to stay motivated. I guess my point is, maybe grab one of your guitar or banjo buddies and set up some casual gigs somewhere...farmers markets, art fairs, little cafe somewhere. Or maybe just find a good spot downtown on a Friday evening or Sunday morning and do some busking. Nothing focuses the mind while you're playing like having a someone watching you.

Edited by - coryobert on 08/10/2022 14:11:55

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Aug 10, 2022 - 2:25:39 PM
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Baileyb

USA

103 posts since 1/24/2019

I enjoy playing by myself. Don't have to worry about timing, intonation, and wandering away from the tune while playing it until my wife hollers "Your butchering that tune!"

Aug 10, 2022 - 2:26:03 PM
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519 posts since 7/30/2021

Steveh, Love it! And your built folk instruments look so interesting!


re playing alone...
I don't force it...when I'm really not in "the mood", I just don't play...
But I will often catch the mood by thinking that I'll learn a new tune I heard/liked...or sometimes just listening to music will have me running for the fiddle or guitar...I'm probably "in the mood" to mess around / play music 80-90% of days? When I'm not, I just think of it as good rest for the ole muscles and tendons (I've got a nagging repetitive stress injury that flares up sometimes...it's probably good to take breaks from playing).

I play with live people usually one evening a week...I get excited about it, I'm always one of the first to arrive!

Aug 10, 2022 - 2:51:32 PM
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13670 posts since 9/23/2009

Sounds great, Steve! Yeah it's fun to form your own band, if you can.

I used to love playing with others and I do miss that so much. Gets downright lonely, and yeah, you can also just lose your motivation if you're not careful.

I think it's just bad luck that covid came along and really messed up everything for everybody in the whole world...musicians included. Fortunately for me I had gotten used to not having any pickin pals nearby before covid...and fortunately for me I had my presonus. I would say it's the best couple hundered bucks I ever spent in my life. But besides presonus, I think anything that gives you the sorta illusion I guess you could say...crazy as it sounds, the illusion that you have a band or choir or pickin pals around. Sounds kinda sick in a way, yet, if I didn't have my presonus, I'd be terribly lonely as a person who loves singing and playing. It just ain't the same one line, one instrument, one voice at a time...I mean it's ok sometimes but you do feel the need for interaction with others.

I think strum machine sounds like apretty neat thing too. Guys...we can record stuff and share it here on the soundoff forum and it's sorta like having face-to-face people around...the best some of us can do. Do whatever you can...don't give up...I keep hoping some day we will all find some pickin pals and/or audience or some kind of musical companionship and sharing. All I can say for right now, for me, thank goodness for presonus, youtube, Fiddle Hangout, and a husband who does the dishes for me when I get hungup putting on too many tracks and spend an hour taking them back off...lol. Gotta do whatever ya can...don't give up.

Aug 10, 2022 - 4:23:15 PM
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29 posts since 9/22/2021

I don't mind playing alone but I too really benefit from at least some semi-regular communal music making. Being fairly isolated where I am has definitely made it tough to maintain playing inspiration and not having slumps. I feel ya man...

Aug 10, 2022 - 5:42:53 PM
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2756 posts since 10/22/2007

My opinion, all the double stops in the world don't seem to fill like they should. I practice alone, and not much. I still have once a week evening to play with others. The big band will move on without me. I won't play like that for free, and I guess the money's dried up. So. . .
Once school starts up, my bass student will be back. That's fun. I will sit for hours, singing and playing guitar, banjer, piano, or mandolin for accompaniment. All by myself.

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:25:54 PM
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2100 posts since 12/11/2008

Long gone are my days in L.A. where I'd have maybe three open jams a week to go to, in addition to just hanging out with musician friends and playing...or pretending we were working up material to do gigs. Now, as my screen name implies, I am indeed the Lonesome Fiddler. My audience is pretty much strictly neighbors within earshot or the stray cats that live in the back yard.

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:43:44 PM
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13670 posts since 9/23/2009

Seems to me one of the issues is that communities (wait, are there still communities? I mean...we just avoid our neighbors so they won't get angry or shoot or whatever) just don't sit around and play together, get together...I mean...people just seem to be stuck in isolation mode...at least where we live it seems that way. Heck I used to not be able to stop at the store on the way home from work to get a Coke without having to stay and sing a couple of songs before moving on. Seems humans have just turned into solitary critters.

Also...everybody buys professional, slicked-up music now...which means they don't feel like playing their own. Just my opinion. I've always thought it's so much more fun to play music than to have to just sit and listen to professionals on the juke box or whatever. Maybe it's just me, but if I had some way to communicate that with the world...like...Hey...if you like music, play it...if you just like community...get together and listen to the ones playing right there in front of you.

Aug 11, 2022 - 1:44:17 AM
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39 posts since 9/7/2020

I recently moved to an island in Korea and there's not really anybody to play old-time with :( I know a guy with a banjo but he refuses to take it back up, claiming it's too much effort (what a whiner. He doesn't even work)

Maybe I neeed to learn a new style

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:35:36 AM
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2756 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by goatberry_jam

I recently moved to an island in Korea and there's not really anybody to play old-time with :( I know a guy with a banjo but he refuses to take it back up, claiming it's too much effort (what a whiner. He doesn't even work)

Maybe I neeed to learn a new style


Wait! Too lazy to play banjer? I may have a brother I never knew about! smiley

I've been too lazy to pick up a banjer, but not all the time.  There's a real kept secret, once one learns to play, a fiddle is pretty easy to play.  There's many caveats in the last sentence, but c'mon, work with me on this one y'all. smiley

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:51:54 AM
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doryman

USA

351 posts since 2/10/2020

If you're playing once or twice a week with others, I think that's pretty dang good for most folks. Even if you are retired, I suspect that many you might play with aren't. My goal is to play with others once a week and, if I'm lucky, I'll play twice a week with others. It's not that I don't have more time, but rather, twice a week of my fiddling is all that folks around here can put up with!

Aug 11, 2022 - 3:24:23 PM
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WyoBob

USA

424 posts since 5/16/2019

I play old time music most every Sunday afternoon with a great group of old time music players.  I only play my banjo with this group and I can play up to speed on most any tune that I don't know if it is just 1,4, 5 chords.   I've not had the nerve to even mention my fiddle playing and don't figure I'll ever play my fiddle with this group.   I don't care.  I'm greatful that the leader asked me to join and I can play my banjo and watch and learn from the great fiddle players.

There's a slow jam group that I started with 9 years ago (with my banjo) that I played with for years but a "jam buster" who is a "performer" not a jammer pretty well ruined that venue and every other venue he shows up at which is every jam held in our area but for Lynn Young's O.T. group that I get to play with.   As our great OTJ hasn't met for a couple of weeks due the players being tied up with other things, I've been to a couple of jams with the old group and the jam buster didn't show up!   It was great!  Just like the old days before he decided to bless us with his amazing talent.

I've played my fiddle with the old, slow jam group on occasion but not very much over the last two years.  There's a couple of good fiddle players in the group and they needed a banjo player (I never thought I'd hear that!) so I decided to participate in the jam.

I'm very content, playing my fiddle, by myself in the basement along with the many recordings I've made of the great OT group.   I'm up to around 60 tunes (that I know on the banjo) that I can play on the fiddle, up to speed along with the recordings I've made.    I really don't care if I never play my fiddle with the great O.T. group and think I can entertain myself for the duration, doing what I'm doing.

It's been really hot here so our last gathering of the old slow jam group took place up in the Bighorn mountains at a campsite of one of the best guitar pickers in the area.  It was 97 degrees where I live and 75 in the shade of the pine trees at the camp.   It was a great time! 

But, I encounterd great sadness on the way back down the mountain to my home.   The Sturgis motorcycle rally is taking place now and I see hundreds of motorcycles going up and down highway 16, coming and going during the event (as I live right on Hwy 16).  Coming down the mountain, there was a wreck.   Lots of trooper's directing traffic up and down the mountain to one lane.   A car had hit a motorcycle pretty much head on.   The car was most certainly totaled with both air bags having been deployed.   The other pile of scrap was what was left of a motorcycle, I think.  It looked like someone had probably crossed the center line.   Once again, the fragility of life was on display.  People enjoying a drive through our beautiful area, enjoying the scenery and, in the next instant, tragedy and lives lost and, for the family's involved, great sadness.  It's so easy to get distracted and have a curve come up suddenly and then ---  everything changes.  

Kind of put a damper on my  jam experience but made me appreciate the great things that have happened to me since I took up O.T music and has increased my resolve to pay attention to what I'm doing while driving.

Aug 11, 2022 - 6:53:31 PM

13670 posts since 9/23/2009

That's a sad way to end a great jam.

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:22:47 PM
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631 posts since 6/11/2019

All I can say is that when I perfect something in the practice room at home, solo, I can expect about 50% of that performance from me when playing with other musicians.

Difficult getting a bunch of musicians in the practice room daily for me to advance, though.

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 08/11/2022 20:26:32

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:56:21 PM

nickmc

USA

130 posts since 5/31/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

All I can say is that when I perfect something in the practice room at home, solo, I can expect about 50% of that performance from me when playing with other musicians.

Difficult getting a bunch of musicians in the practice room daily for me to advance, though.


HAHA I love it!

Aug 11, 2022 - 10:33:01 PM
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2379 posts since 8/23/2008

That's what I reckon..."playing by your self is time to practice your stuff".

Once a week is plenty enough playing with folks.

Lordy, Lordy, we need our practice.....

Aug 11, 2022 - 10:33:52 PM

39 posts since 9/7/2020

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones
quote:
Originally posted by goatberry_jam

I recently moved to an island in Korea and there's not really anybody to play old-time with :( I know a guy with a banjo but he refuses to take it back up, claiming it's too much effort (what a whiner. He doesn't even work)

Maybe I neeed to learn a new style


Wait! Too lazy to play banjer? I may have a brother I never knew about! smiley

I've been too lazy to pick up a banjer, but not all the time.  There's a real kept secret, once one learns to play, a fiddle is pretty easy to play.  There's many caveats in the last sentence, but c'mon, work with me on this one y'all. smiley


haha well ... I have a fairly long history with this guy going back to Seoul. I suspect it's less laziness and more that he's just kind of a stubborn old ass.

I agree with your fiddle assessment, though. My ol' mandolin is much neglected

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