Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

I don’t have any other hobbies really and figure that it’s possible to let fiddle be my sole hobby if I want. I like to keep things simple so would like to devote more time to fiddle rather than getting a new hobby.

Anyhow currently I find that I get tired of practicing after an hour or two max. Is this just cos I am a weak loser? as I know some ppl show off about practicing 6-10+ hours a day.

Ive been practicing for about 2 years now and it is getting better and more immersive the better I get but it is often a struggle after a certain point.

So what else is there to do to occupy my time fiddle related. And/or what other aspects of practice are there other than just practicing the tunes cos I will play a tune through a cpl of times then do the same for 5-10 tunes then be twiddling my thumbs thinking hmm what do i do now? Playing the same ones again would be boring to me and I am often bored of older tunes that I already know. I know you always have more to learn but Im saying that is my problem, how do I keep inspired/busy?

Alot of ppl Ive found like to chastise me in the past for ‘wanting quick results’ or ‘not being dedicated enough’, but I think that is quite a narrow minded view. Effectively they are saying ‘just be tougher and enjoy every second of the learning process’. I think it’s a better idea to admit there are challenges to learning and with that in mind think to how things can stay varied and interesting as that is what helps keep interest and in turn motivation, in my mind.

Re: Other than practicing what other things fiddle related can I do to take up time?

Listening, Arthur. Devote at least as much time to listening to good fiddle playing - listening with the same kind of attention that you give to your practising - that’s by far the best thing you can do. Better to listen and not practise than to practise and not listen!

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

How many tunes can you play correctly Arthur?

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Yes, listening is a good way to spend your time. Another good thing would be to find some other musicians who are about your own ability level and play together.

But what worries me slightly is your description of how you practice - just playing through some tunes a few times, then getting bored. If that is all you do you are going to loose motivation very quickly. You need to set yourself some goals and challenges. Get a book about technique and work through it. If you set yourself the challenge of mastering a new bowing pattern or ornament you certainly won’t get bored after an hour, and 6-8 hours a day probably won’t look like showing off anymore.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Ditto Jeeve. Listen listen listen. And keep the tunes running through your head even when you’re not playing. It forms a good pass-time if you need it. You can finger the tunes, or just think about them, imagine different ways you can “bend” the tune.

As for getting tired after a while, that goes away the more regularly you practice. A year ago, I joined a symphony, and our rehearsals were about 3 hours long. At first, my back hurt a bit, and it was a bit difficult to get through the entire rehearsal, especially when on the times when I played in Church that morning, and then went to the session that evening (talk about a busy musical sunday. That adds up to about 8 hours in all). As time progressed, I built up endurance. Now I can get through the whole rehearsal pretty easily, and might only start having problem near the last hour-ish of the session.

So just listen, and practice, but don’t over-push yourself. If you start getting back pain or something, stop for a while.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

1 Make or collect together MP3 or ABC versions of the tunes you play. If you use ABC navigator, you can use the ‘recently played’ list, and just go through that, adding or removing tunes as you think fit. Keep the ABC as simple as possible, and play along with the tunes (using reed organ or contrabass, or something that doesn’t have vibrato). Set a speed at which you can play comfortably without making mistake. If you come across a tricky bit, isolate it in a loop and slow it down until you can play it as well as the rest, and gradually bring it up to speed.
2 Record yourself playing. The first bit that makes you wince (which could well be the first note!) is your lesson for today.
3 Listen to your favourite track, and when you hear something you really like about it – it might be a particular grace-note or a specific sound – try to duplicate exactly what you hear. You can put the section of MP3 in a loop and slow it down, or use something like Riffstation ( http://www.riffstation.com/index.html )
and keep working at it, trying to figure out exactly what is going on, until you can reproduce it.
4 Don’t do the same thing every time. Don’t think of practise as a chore to be got through so that you can play – play to enjoy yourself, but concentrate on what you are doing, and think of a specific thing - maybe timing, or intonation, or even something like the position of a particular finger, and when you are happy with it, have a break or try something else.
5 Stop as soon as you are fed up. It’s better to knock off when you are enjoying it than to play another five minutes and make yourself bored.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

It’s hard practicing anything that uncomfortable for more than 2 hours so don’t go calling yourself a weak loser. And its especially difficult to practice for two hours if you don’t have two hours of practice material.

I myself practice for several hours a day, sometimes 4+ but don’t get me wrong. My practice doesn’t always involve me sitting at the instrument. Attentive listening takes up a big deal of my time. Learning and studying the instrument itself takes up a chunk of time too. Talking to people, asking questions, always being on “Musical Alert”. And also, I’ve been exposed to a lot of music that I’d like to work on and learn so I definitely have more than 4+ hours of material to work on. It’s not just fiddle.

The thing is, music isn’t just a hobby to me. It’s a lifestyle. I collect songs, instruments, artists… Anything musical I can find I attach myself to it. I love it, its every part of me. I wouldn’t enjoy it if it were only a hobby. Hobbies are for people that have too much time on their hands. It’s my life. My career, my livelihood, my sociality, my joy. When the music is gone, everything falls apart in one way or another. I know cause I’ve watched it happen. I need it and depend on it.

So for you my friend, don’t worry if you can’t or don’t want to practice for hours a day. Don’t worry if it bores you. If you don’t need it, if its only a hobby, you don’t have to worry about all those things. I mean, you’re not trying to get a Masters Degree in Music Education are you? That was a rhetorical question ;) That’s what I’m trying to do, so those are the things that would worry me.

So take your time, and enjoy yourself. Hobbies are suppose to be fun. If you don’t like it, drop it. If you do like it, give it time. It’ll come friend.

Good luck!

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Thanks! Alot of good suggestions here 🙂.

Yes I think the two main ones for me are- set myself specific goals to practice. This I had actually been doing recently and it was good and motivating for me to track progress. I would record myself then play it again, get feedback, re record etc.

Listening is a good one cos it is easy to do 🙂. but maybe harder to find players I like but maybe I’ll just be less fussy about that and enjoy it for what it is and just soak it up.

as to the quesiton how many tunes I can play properly Id say 0! :D I could play a tune without ornamentation and make only a cpl of minor errors but it sounds like crap without ornamentation! not that I want alot but really monotonous these tunes if you don;t add just a little variation I think. I’m a minimalist but I think a cpl of variations are necessary to make the second run sound fresh. Even crappy pop tunes have variations to keep interest.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

So how many tunes can you play with a couple of minor errors?

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

10 or so jigs/reels.

another 20 or so with more errors but I know the notes, just cant play fluently.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Then my suggestion is that you should concentrate on learning many more new tunes.

Here’s how I do it: I listen to music (recordings, Clare FM, tunes at the session) until I hear something that catches my fancy, then I listen to it until I can sing it in my head (sometimes do this singing when I’m out on a bike ride) then I try to play it, often by playing along with a recording, sometimes on my own. Then I might try to put it with other tunes in a set. I record myself playing and listen to the results, and I go back to the original to make sure I haven’t made up any bits or left any out.

That should keep you busy.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Ye but if I cant play any tunes well whats the point of learning more since Ill just dilute myself even more.

I do like learning new ones tho but I realised recently i was learning them too fast cos i found myself relying on the sheet music but I enjoyed playing them so wanted to play them asap.

but now im working on memorizing the 10 or so Id printed off recently.

Triuble is if I learn too few, ie focus on too few then I get bored of hearing them so I guess its just getting a balance

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

This isn’t art music where you’re supposed to play a piece perfectly. Have a go at a dozen other tunes. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t play them well the first week.

I’ve always had the idea that it’s easier to learn 100 tunes in a certain time period, than…say, 30 in the same period. The one who has “played” 100 tunes (or whatever number that seems astronomically high) will have been exposed to a larger number of patterns than the one who has focused on just 30 (or whatever number that seems doable). The “100 tunes” fiddler will also see recurring patterns everywhere when learning new tunes. The “30 tunes” fiddle will not.

Good luck. I remember the good old days when I could practice for ten, eleven hours. Nowadays, I think it’s more fun to play music in sessions…

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Please, try to take notice of what your spellcheck says.
It does worry me that your attention to the detail of your playing is no better than the attention to the detail of your spelling.
Meanwhile…..many years ago ( and in a galaxy far, far away ) Aly Bain complemented a friend of mine on her playing, but asked what style she was trying to develop, and her reply was that she was far too busy trying to learn more tunes. It’s a difficult dilemma; tunes first, or style.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

I can’t just stick to one hobby. I’ve picked up a couple others that don’t require practice–something that gets me a little exercise–walking, hiking, biking. no practice required–time well spent. I do that and watch anime.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

There is the temptation to focus on tunes - more tunes, new tunes, different tunes, same tunes in a different style, different tunes in the same style - which I think in one way is good for musical enrichment.

However, if there are issues with your technique (that would include tone, intonation, timing, dynamics, physical tenseness, etc) then there’s the chance you would simply propagate every single one of those issues to all your other tunes.

The thing I find with teaching fiddlers is that sometimes it’s easier to break the whole into smaller parts, and concentrate on one thing at a time. That way it takes a lot of the pressure off.

Example - intonation bad. Hitting a few notes not on-pitch. Probably nothing wrong with your musical ear, but it’s happening because you are concentrating on memorizing melody, bowing to make it sound good, trying to keep good time, putting in accents, what ornament should I use now? etc, etc.

If you practiced simple scales slowly, bowing them in the simplest possible way, listened intently, ignored everything else but getting the notes bang in tune, then when it sounds good, that’s one hurdle overcome.

Same with the sound, or tone you are producing. Can you draw out a long single note and make it sound good? If not, work at it until you can.

Accents / dynamics - can you repeatedly play a simple 8-note bar from one of your tunes and make it sound like someone could dance to it? Can you purposely accent the 1st of 4 notes, or the 3rd of 4 notes, without faltering in the rhythm?

When players focus on these elements in isolation, they often get good results, and quicker too. Those who don’t, generally take longer to improve - and sometime they don’t improve much at all (and don’t actually notice).

That’s my general finding from teaching players of all ages, over the years.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Listen! Listen! Listen!

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

“if I cant play any tunes well whats the point of learning more since Ill just dilute myself even more”.

No, Arthur. This is wrong. Firstly Jeeve Stones (…god I always type that name backwards… stupid bloody Spooner) is spot on about the priority of listening. But more than that you have to think holistically and immerse yourself in the whole thing. This doesn’t ‘dilute’ you, it does just the opposite. I spend much more time learning the tunes through listening, though I’m not always conscious of it or focused (just spend my day with the music) . And then I’d average 2 or 3 hours a day practising (usually not all in one go). I listen just about daily, not only to contemporary recordings but (preferably) to the old ones. And I don’t restrict myself to just fiddle music either. You have to get the whole scene into your head. I have no idea how many tunes I can play but I do know that my constant improvement fairly well averages out over everything I play. And I usually find now that through listening so much I can wake up with a tune in my head that I’ve never thought to play before and pick it up in a few minutes. I also eagerly read any advice on this site by experts (and others) on any other instruments, even if I don’t play them. I’ve learned so much from non fiddle players on this site, but it’s all related. Think holistically and immerse yourself in it. Not one tune at a time till you get it perfect (which you never will), but the whole glorious big picture.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

It’s funny but I’ve only just realised since my last response that I never think of my fiddle playing as a ‘hobby’. It’s a compulsion and a passion, and a valued part of my being, but what’s this word ‘hobby’? Isn’t that like stamp collecting or train spotting or something? Sorry Arthur, I’m not trying to make light of your question but perhaps to just add some emphasis to my last reply.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Jerone was spot on earlier when he was discussing how with his music he’s following what he wants. For him it isn’t a hobby, though it’s O.K. for Arthur to decide for himself if he thinks music is ‘only’ his hobby or if it’s something much more.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

You could always work on your spelling… 😉

Work on spelling?

AlBrown, I daresay even Jude has met his match in this case.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

“it’s for Arthur to decide for himself if he thinks music is ‘only’ his hobby or if it’s something much more”
You are of course right about this Na éisc.. The only point I intended was that to intensify his ‘hobby’ (which is what he asked advice on), that he immerse himself into every aspect of the culture. It seriously does help with the playing. Live it, and it’s no longer a mere hobby.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

@ Na éisc , ….“Jerone was spot on earlier when he was discussing how with his music he’s following what he wants”
I Don’t intend, to be picky or a smartass. Just wondering if you meant somebody else because I just can’t seem to find a comment from Jerone. (??) Or have I still missed it?

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Fiddlelearner’s real name is Jerone.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

“…cos i found myself relying on the sheet music…”
“…but now im working on memorizing the 10 or so Id printed off recently….”

You need to meet Michael.

@Guernsey Pete: “…but asked what style she was trying to develop, and her reply was that she was far too busy trying to learn more tunes. It’s a difficult dilemma; tunes first, or style.”

I would disagree about the dilemma.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

“The thing I find with teaching fiddlers is that sometimes it’s easier to break the whole into smaller parts, and concentrate on one thing at a time. “

Judging by his playing and his posts, that is what Arthur has been doing wrong.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

“Fiddlelearner’s real name is Jerone”
Sorry Jerone, I did know that but I forgot!

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

For something different I suggest turning on the radio to just about any style of music and playing along by ear. If you know the song already, you’ll be surprised how quick you pick it up. The change-up will keep you on your toes. You’ll be exposed to different keys and playing backup chords. I find it relaxing and not what I would call work. I did this before I took up learning tunes and it paid off in that I can attend sessions without waiting to master a hundred tunes because if I can’t play, I can still play along.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

Yeah, I do that at times for a bit of fun, and it really is surprising how good you can get at it. Just one question Jim;- do you call these ‘airs’?

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

I call the “on-the-airs”.

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Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

fiddling is an escape mechanismr me its been part of my life for a long time. Its been my companion during good times and bad. I never get bored with it,maybe a little frustrated while learning difficult tunes, but never bored. You must have a love for it. I am a left handed fiddler, who is completely self taught. Don’t expect miracles over night, develop your ear. Don’t over do it when your new at it. If you pursue it ,you will learn. Try playing in the kitchen works for me.

Re: Other than practicing what other thigns fiddle related cna I do to take up time?

This is all true Doug, but for some of us it’s nature, while for some it’s struggled nurture. Also, all kitchens are different. I get your point but I roam all over the place with mine. It really helps to find the sweet spots.