I am in the planning stage of making a series of instructional fiddle videos and I want your input! What kind of things would you want out of a fiddle course?
Would you prefer it to be mostly fiddle tunes? If so, what are tunes that you want to learn? Are you interested in improving basic technique? Are there specific licks you’d want to learn?
Leave me a comment and tell me anything you’d like to see in a video course like this!
Edited by - Fiddledroid on 11/22/2023 06:32:06
For me the most interesting topic would be fiddle styles of different regions.
Doing tune lessons is common, but it’s been done so much that it isn’t very interesting. People will follow for a little while out of curiosity but get bored and leave the channel pretty quickly if the content isn’t unique or doesn’t vary much.
Another topic that could be interesting would be putting together sets. This is a topic that people think about but don’t always put into words. Some tunes just flow together nicely, and if you have any subscribers who are new to fiddling, getting information like that can help considerably, especially when putting together the music for a dance.
I always like to see fiddlers teach what they do best.
I've seen good fiddlers take the route of "learn to play all the styles" or "learn bluegrass AND old time" and it's usually pretty watered down stuff that happens.
I took up the fiddle as a covid shutdown project about three years ago and, consequently, all my lessons have been online. I guess I've tried most of them and I pay for and subscribe to a few now. There's lots of great free content as well, of course. Generally, I think they are all pretty good to great.
If there's anything missing, I would say that it's attention to modern players, bands and content. By that I mean groups like Watchtower, Trampled by Turtles, Billy Strings or, heck, even touring Bluegrass bands that play trad bluegrass. Many others too. I listen to those bands and I hear interesting and new fiddle licks and breaks. It would be great to have someone break those down and teach them to us.
I know that's kind of niche, and maybe not too many people would be interested in that, but there are already lot's of great online lessons out there that teach us how to play Billy in the Lowground, etc...
Pieces and parts that travel from one key to another. Musical punctuation.
The internet is full of instructional fiddle lessons. Many are quite good, but there is lots of repetition among them. We don't need more of the same.
Fiddle styles: The fiddle is a tremendously versatile instrument with a long and varied history, so let's have more about fiddle styles from different places and genres. I don't want to dedicate my whole life to cajun, klezmer, swing or some other style, but I'd like to be able to "borrow" some of the cool things that are embedded in the big big fiddle universe.
Tunes: I like learning new fiddle tunes, but the slow-motion phrase-by-phrase, note-by-note approach drives me nuts. It's a waste of time and attention -- I never make it to the second part. Give us the outline of the tune, the main notes, how they are connected, and how they make the tune flow. That will get us going quickly and then we can work on filling in the blanks.
Licks: Show us the licks that make fiddle music jump & shout: intros, outros, kickoffs, fills, etc. and how to use them. These are mostly small pieces that can be inserted here and there into tunes to spice things up.
Backup: The fiddle is of course a great lead instrument, but sometimes we need to support other instruments. Fiddle is also very good for enhancing what others are playing. I see a distinct lack of good instructional material on playing backup. It's not just the chop.
Technique: Maybe it would be helpful to address some "favorite faults" and give some ideas about how to deal with them. Like many fiddlers, I did not start with Suzuki at the age of 4, so I my technique has some flaws. For example, excessive enthusiasm sometimes gets my bowing going caddywampus: What are 5 possible ways to make this less of a problem?
Conversation: Make it easy for fiddlers to comment and share experiences with the material in your videos. There is lots of brainpower in the fiddling community so let the conversation be as important as the lesson itself.
Hope this helps.
I think exposure to other styles is very important. After all, old time fiddling would not exist were it not for the cross-pollination between Scots-Irish and English styles with West African influences, and the Scots-Irish and English fiddle styles themselves were influenced by “classical” styles.
Many of the greatest fiddlers grew up listening to other styles of music and drawing inspiration.
I agree that it’s better for fiddlers making the videos to be skilled in the various styles that they present than for them to be mediocre, but I would wish the same of any video. By its nature, YouTube is available to anyone who wants to put content online, so there is no guarantee of accuracy or quality. It’s up to the consumer to sift through the haystack to find the needle.
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