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Fiddle Lovers Online


Sep 17, 2022 - 3:29:18 PM
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10544 posts since 3/19/2009

Sure we all know the best way to teach the 'average' student.. but how about these!
Student sits, gets fiddle ready, puts bow hair at frog on E string and says.. Ok, I'm Ready!!
Student opens case and says, this is the first time I've looked at this. How do I hold the bow?
Student has a blank stare and I soon realize that this student is BLIND.. so much for fiddle tab!!!

When I've said, "It all depends on the student".. I speak from experience.. I've had very few average students.. Each is a challenge to an instructor..

Sep 17, 2022 - 4:08:45 PM
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RichJ

USA

772 posts since 8/6/2013

Anyone can teach a gifted student. A true teacher can deal with all kinds of students and once in awhile inspire them to greatness.

Sep 17, 2022 - 6:04:21 PM

13916 posts since 9/23/2009

I admire teachers. I'm not one, myself...lol...so i can see from outside the realm that it takes an awful lot to teach and get through to students. I'm grateful for some very good teachers in all sorts of subjects and settings I've had in my life...I won't ever forget what they did for me.

Sep 18, 2022 - 1:44:25 PM
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bsed55

USA

4247 posts since 6/23/2007

One of my challenges in teaching adults is getting past their physical problems. It could be arthritis, or fingers that just don't (or can't) bend like when they were young because of occupational trauma.

And then there was the teenage girl who had very pretty long nails. I basically told her she might have to sacrifice one or more of those nails if she was to excel on the fiddle.

Edited by - bsed55 on 09/18/2022 13:47:20

Sep 18, 2022 - 4:04:54 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4216 posts since 6/22/2007

I was teaching an elderly gentleman who desperately wanted to play the fiddle. He just wanted to play familiar hymns and such. He showed me a tab sheet for several songs that a well-known contest/dance fiddler made for him. This is great. I had a start. He had the desire. Oh, he was shocked that I didn't charge anything for the "lessons". I couldn't do that in good conscious.

He had physical limitations beyond the hearing, arthritis and other joint issues of old age. The main issue - he had been shot in the head in a hunting accident when he was a young man. Although he survived, it left him with total deafness in one ear and some cognitive disabilities. His short-term memory was severely impacted. I think his wife provided support for him.

Anyway, we scheduled weekly sessions. Every week was like starting at the beginning. Just moving the bow to make a sound was a struggle; noting was impossible. Holding the instrument was nearly impossible. (A kind person here on FHO offered a shoulder rest for him to use. Thanks, Tony!) He kept at it for about 6 months of weekly sessions. He was no farther along than when we started. He started canceling our sessions at the last minute, mostly for a doctor's appointment or other illness. I understand that! However, he never reinitiated or showed interest in continuing our sessions.

Sep 18, 2022 - 4:48:23 PM
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10544 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Fiddler

I was teaching an elderly gentleman who desperately wanted to play the fiddle. He just wanted to play familiar hymns and such. He showed me a tab sheet for several songs that a well-known contest/dance fiddler made for him. This is great. I had a start. He had the desire. Oh, he was shocked that I didn't charge anything for the "lessons". I couldn't do that in good conscious.

He had physical limitations beyond the hearing, arthritis and other joint issues of old age. The main issue - he had been shot in the head in a hunting accident when he was a young man. Although he survived, it left him with total deafness in one ear and some cognitive disabilities. His short-term memory was severely impacted. I think his wife provided support for him.

Anyway, we scheduled weekly sessions. Every week was like starting at the beginning. Just moving the bow to make a sound was a struggle; noting was impossible. Holding the instrument was nearly impossible. (A kind person here on FHO offered a shoulder rest for him to use. Thanks, Tony!) He kept at it for about 6 months of weekly sessions. He was no farther along than when we started. He started canceling our sessions at the last minute, mostly for a doctor's appointment or other illness. I understand that! However, he never reinitiated or showed interest in continuing our sessions.


Sounds like you did you best, and so did he.  

Sep 19, 2022 - 5:37:50 AM
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2825 posts since 10/22/2007

I've helped a couple of fellers with not so good hearing. No frets make it so hard. One fellar was pretty much successful with every other endeavor, so it was heart breaking. He would try to command and or will the fiddle into compliance. We know how that doesn't work. He settled on banjar, and was a part of it, as he so much wanted.

My first teacher told me I could learn everything he knew in two hours. So we agreed on a price and a date. (2, 2 hour drives) I honestly didn't know anyone else that played. Fifteen or twenty years later we met up again briefly. We discussed what we were doing musically. He said he should have charged me more.

Sep 19, 2022 - 5:46:24 AM
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Erock77

USA

148 posts since 9/3/2022

I am 45 and about to learn (what I think is probably the hardest to learn) instrument there is....violin/fiddle.
Trying to be optimistic. It all depends on how much time I give to it I guess. I am impatient and that's why I haven't reached a pro level on any instrument so far. I do have lessons lined up beginning in Oct. I respect teachers in all aspects. I am married to one.
I'm so used to being able to learn a new instrument and hop in with a band shortly after and thrive...but with the violin, I'm afraid that'll be some time. Great topic!

Sep 19, 2022 - 10:03:55 AM
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911 posts since 3/1/2020

I think if the student was old enough to have the patience, I’d spend a lot of time at the beginning on ear training exercises, while also working on posture and bowing with open strings, and then try to get the student to translate that to interval spacing on the fingerboard with fingered notes.

With younger students, there’s a delicate balance between information and fun. If you spend too much time on technique, the student becomes impatient to play and loses focus. Too much unstructured time or games and nothing ends up learned.

A student who can’t see the position of the bow on the string will likely need more physical guidance to develop the proper bowing motion at first.

Sep 20, 2022 - 4:06:40 PM
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3163 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Sure we all know the best way to teach the 'average' student.. but how about these!
Student sits, gets fiddle ready, puts bow hair at frog on E string and says.. Ok, I'm Ready!!
Student opens case and says, this is the first time I've looked at this. How do I hold the bow?
Student has a blank stare and I soon realize that this student is BLIND.. so much for fiddle tab!!!

When I've said, "It all depends on the student".. I speak from experience.. I've had very few average students.. Each is a challenge to an instructor..


The concept of an "average student" isn't much useful when comes to teaching an individual.

They all come from different prior experiences, as well can have different actual goals.

edit: one aspect that can get overlooked, is more the idea of teaching the student how to learn, guide them to self-directed learning.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/20/2022 16:09:40

Sep 20, 2022 - 5:00:16 PM
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6021 posts since 9/26/2008

The more motivated a student, the more likely they will learn to be self directed.

Sep 20, 2022 - 5:36:05 PM
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3163 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Erock77

I am 45 and about to learn (what I think is probably the hardest to learn) instrument there is....violin/fiddle.
Trying to be optimistic. It all depends on how much time I give to it I guess. I am impatient and that's why I haven't reached a pro level on any instrument so far. I do have lessons lined up beginning in Oct. I respect teachers in all aspects. I am married to one.
I'm so used to being able to learn a new instrument and hop in with a band shortly after and thrive...but with the violin, I'm afraid that'll be some time. Great topic!


Hardest instrument to learn is debatable, and overrated.

I had similar background prior to fiddle... already playing music, in a band, and picking up new instruments. 

My goal wasn't to be nor worried about a title nor career of  "violinist", or a lap steel player, or mandolin player (whatever those mean)... I tend to look at different instruments as just different tool; simply to learn mechanics in how to make some sounds in a controllable way that could be used in music I was playing; and have fun. Generally focused on something simple, then build from there. I didn't find took very long before I could do good enough to find some useful applications, play on a few numbers with the band. (also less expectations, "not bad, for a bass player"laugh)

As this is is under the topic of "Music Theory"... is perhaps apt, perhaps the most challenge in learning an instrument, isn't initial mechanics of the tool, but is understanding sound/music concepts, and how they apply.  Once you already know how to play music, other instruments, can give transferable knowledge to build upon.

edit: should note that what many folks that came from guitar mention; found that getting a mandolin (even inexpensive one) helped with transition, visualizing/understanding rough fingering layout.  (some folks alternatively use marking/tape on fingerboard... to help visualize frets)

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/20/2022 17:42:22

Sep 20, 2022 - 10:33:13 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

501 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by Erock77

I am 45 and about to learn (what I think is probably the hardest to learn) instrument there is....violin/fiddle.
Trying to be optimistic. It all depends on how much time I give to it I guess. I am impatient and that's why I haven't reached a pro level on any instrument so far. I do have lessons lined up beginning in Oct. I respect teachers in all aspects. I am married to one.
I'm so used to being able to learn a new instrument and hop in with a band shortly after and thrive...but with the violin, I'm afraid that'll be some time. Great topic!


Hardest instrument to learn is debatable, and overrated.

 

That is so true, having played the trumpet as a kid I classify the trumpet as a lot more hard work than a fiddle, for the simple reason that playing the trumpet requires a very good respiratory system, you have to do everything with your lungs/mouth and 3 pistons , I found this a lot harder to do than bowing.

Edited by - Quincy on 09/20/2022 22:39:49

Sep 20, 2022 - 10:37:27 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

501 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Erock77

I am 45 and about to learn (what I think is probably the hardest to learn) instrument there is....violin/fiddle.
Trying to be optimistic. It all depends on how much time I give to it I guess. I am impatient and that's why I haven't reached a pro level on any instrument so far. I do have lessons lined up beginning in Oct. I respect teachers in all aspects. I am married to one.
I'm so used to being able to learn a new instrument and hop in with a band shortly after and thrive...but with the violin, I'm afraid that'll be some time. Great topic!


Good luck but most of all: have a great time creating your own sound!

Iif there is anything to me that rocks about the fiddle: not one violin/fiddle sounds the same, and not one player sounds like the other one.

It's pure magic I say hehe.

Sep 21, 2022 - 10:45:24 AM

6021 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Erock77

I am 45 and about to learn (what I think is probably the hardest to learn) instrument there is....violin/fiddle.
Trying to be optimistic. It all depends on how much time I give to it I guess. I am impatient and that's why I haven't reached a pro level on any instrument so far. I do have lessons lined up beginning in Oct. I respect teachers in all aspects. I am married to one.
I'm so used to being able to learn a new instrument and hop in with a band shortly after and thrive...but with the violin, I'm afraid that'll be some time. Great topic!


Your impatience is very typical of adult learners. As Anja noted, there are harder instruments (uilleann pipes anyone?). The 'hard' part is letting go of the less than precise finger placement that frets allow, and instead using your ears to dial in the pitch, a.k.a. intonation. 

Sep 21, 2022 - 12:13:55 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1070 posts since 6/22/2016

"teaching the student how to learn, guide them to self-directed learning."

Reminds me of what a pro bass-player told me years ago:  "When a student comes to me for a first lesson, I assume I'm never going to see him again, so I try to give him an approach to playing" [ie, rather than teaching specific techniques].

Edited by - Old Scratch on 09/21/2022 12:16:10

Sep 26, 2022 - 4:50:02 AM
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Erock77

USA

148 posts since 9/3/2022

Yesterday was day one. I believe I'm going to keep a journal on the journey. After visiting Dave at his shop, I was very inspired to kick this thing into gear. My hopes are to dedicate a solid half hour of bowing every day. Who knows how long this fiddle hasn't been played.
I am blown away by this instrument. But I agree, if one is motivated, you can do almost anything. See I said "almost" lol. Fiddle on...

Nov 3, 2022 - 3:15:37 PM
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banjopaolo

Italy

246 posts since 9/14/2010

I teach violin since 25 years, I don't know haw many students I had!
I love this work, maybe more than playing myself...
In my experience a teacher must get 'in tune' with his student, I always try to make my best to make the violin lesson a moment my student want to do, a moment they wait for...
if they feel good doing the lesson they will feel good at home practicing, or at least they will feel well for one hour a week!

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