Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Just out of interest. Since taking up the fiddle again two years ago, I have a superstitious dread of letting a day go by without practice. Of course, I’ve had to, when family weddings etc beckoned & I was at a hotel. But if we’d got a self catering cottage somewhere, I’ve taken my fiddle Bonnie with me & tried to do about 45 minutes every day. It’s partly because I can’t bear to be parted from her, and partly because I dread going downhill even from the lowly stage I’ve reached, & don’t want to be too obviously rusty at my next lesson.

But I have read threads on a violin forum that suggest that people taking an enforced break have sometimes seemed miraculously better players when they return. Would it be better, in fact, if I just decided to have a break & get a bit of rest and refreshment? Would I return to playing filled with new va-va-voom?

What would you do? What *do* you do? Thanks to any ready to share their advice.
Live long & prosper,
Mollie

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Leave the instrument at home and take the opportunity to learn to lilt. I guarantee it’ll result in a step change.

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Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Well I certainly never leave my instruments at home!! well some I have to, but I generally travel with pipes, fiddle, a kind of tenor guitar/uke and whistles. yes Ive cut down on a lot 🙂
But at the same time I entirely concur with The hurlers other advice; lilting. Song is such a huge part of the tradition, as is dance , that to not sing and dance in a traditional manner/setting ( preferably lots) can be a potential limit on your understanding and therefor , ultimately ability.
Seriously, the art of lilting is at the heart of the music , finding the ‘song’ in the tune.
Personally im also a big fan of walking while playing , so that would be whistle , on the flat at a steady pace is easy but hill walking and fast pace walking while playing tunes really trains the breath and awareness , and all the fresh air! In fact why not go the whole hog and dance and play at the same time!! 🙂

Take yr fiddle and practice as normal but additionally!!! learn a couple of ballads unaccompanied . its a whole new ball game but cross training is where its at IMO to put a sporting analogy on it.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

As an aspiring flute dilettante my embouchure suffers notably from only 1 day off (not to mention inconvenient epiphenomena like shaking, sweating and nausea). So nah, no breaks for this muso. I have a cheap plastic flute for travel, which is also handy to beat up highwaymen, custom officials and the dreaded knights who say Ni.

And then there’s the eternal Yamaha fife for in-between stretching exercises; always having a whistle or kazoo at hand is a matter of course however. Just like chewing gum, or The Beano for that matter.

A mental break might certainly be advisable now and then, but how to exercise such a thing w/o physical outage? Meditation perhaps? Lobotomy? Bang your frog on the sofa? 😲

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I always have a whistle in my pocket when I leave the house, although I haven’t ‘been on holiday’ as such for about fifty years -- the last time, I had my guitar and someone drove over it with a motorbike.
I can’t see how anyone can improve by not playing, but the brain is a peculiar thing.
At least mine is.

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Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Yes. I may or may not play, but it’s always there if I have the urge.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I take mine on every trip and get my 3 hours minimum daily playing in without fail.
At hotels I play in the room during reasonable hours. I always try to get some kind of decent view which makes it more pleasant to play. At very early or very late hours, I’ve always been able to find a conference room not on the hotel room floors (sometimes with unbelievably good acoustics). At airports,in places like American Airlines Admirals Club I have used conference rooms on long lay overs or even the private shower/bathrooms they often have (very good acoustics).

I used to hate to travel. Having the fiddle with me has made such a wonderful difference; all my trips are much the better for it. I will never travel without it. And therefore I see the byzantine and bizarre rules concerning various woods and ivory as a direct threat to me, my fiddles and bows.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I usually bring my mandolin to lots of places that I go if I’ll be staying there a while. I bring it with me when I volunteer at a horseback theropy place and the people there love when I play.
When my GF goes up to college, I’d be bringing a mandolin or a fiddle when I go to visit her.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

@gam: “I can’t see how anyone can improve by not playing”

I actually know quite a few musicians who are the better the less they play.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

haha, that’s too true in some cases.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

9 Years ago, I set off walking from London to Portugal. At this point, I had being scraping at the fiddle for about 17 months. My main instrument was (and is) the mandolin. I knew I would be on the road for several months, and I had no idea how long I would be staying away (about a year, as it turned out). It would not have been practical to take both instruments, but I knew I would need to keep playing the fiddle to make any progress on it and the thought of spending that amount of time without a mandolin pained me greatly.

I eventually came up with a compromise - I built a mandolin out of a coconut shell, that was small enough to slip into my rucksack. It sounded kind of ‘small’ and it was awkward to hold, but it played nicely, had good projection and drew a lot of attention while busking. Unfortunately, due to a combination of poor design and hot weather, the soundboard ‘exploded’ (went “Crack!” 3 times in quick succession) and thus it was dead weight for the rest of the trip. (I still haven’t quite finished repairing it.)

It goes without saying that everyone that plays Irish traditional music should learn the whistle - it’s cheap (if it’s a cheap one), it gives access the full range of expression in this music and, most of all, it’s indisputably portable. I had a whistle (or two) with me on my trip to Portugal. I stopped off at the St. Chartier festival along the way, where I spent many hours playing in sessions. Since my fiddle playing was not up to session speed yet and may coconut mandolin was dead, I was forced to make the whistle my no.1 instrument. Over those few days, playing tunes in all kinds of less whistle-friendly keys, I reached a level of fluency on the whistle I had never reached before (and probably have not since, alas). So, if you play the whistle as a 2nd or 3rd instrument, you need never be unequipped.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Yes !
Because the only holiday’s I ever get, are ‘ Fleadh’s ’
; )
jim,,,

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I will take a whistle and/or harmonica, but I leave the big instruments behind. Nothing wrong with a little break here and there, as when you come back, things seem a little fresher, and sometimes, little things that were holding you back seem to work themselves out during your rest.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I don’t take my fiddle when I fly, but other than that it goes everywhere with me.

Most of my learning was done in hotel rooms. My work used to involve staying away from home for several months at a time, and practicing in my room kept me out of the bar. It’s probably what saved me from becoming an alcoholic like most of the people I worked with.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I take the pipes when I think there will be a session wherever I’m going, which makes it worthwhile to have them, as they are heavy and a pain to lug around. I usually have a Generation whistle no matter what.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I recently went on holiday for a fortnight. Took the flute but didn’t play because I was doing other things. On return the compulsion to play had abated some. I waited until I had time rather than made time.

Embouchure and finger co-ordination had suffered a little, but nothing that easing off on the tempo would not remedy. I found that there were some tunes that I clearly knew well and had fun playing again. There were others that I *thought* I knew OK but where there were hesitations as if the tune was not being recalled fast enough and/or fingers were not doing it quite right. Some recently learned tunes seemed to have vanished and needed a lot of work.

So I think the break provided information about what to work on. I went to a session three days after getting back, only played the tunes that had come back adequately and felt I did OK, possible improved by skipping the ones wth the glitches.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I never go anywhere without a harmonica or three. My harmonica case, always in my carry-on bag, must look like an ammo pack to the X-ray scanners at airports, but, amazingly, I hardly ever get picked out. Here’s me having a quick go at Carolan’s Concerto in 95-degree heat in Spain, which I recorded on my compact camera whilst waiting for my missus and my sister to grab a shower before we headed off to the local village for a tapas or ten, to be washed down with the local red rocket fuel. Ah, but what times! 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQqc6-4sw5M

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Very good Mr Shaw

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Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

If I travel I always have something with me. If I am taking one instrument, I typically take my flute, although I try to take my entire kit with me as it doesn’t take up that much room. I suffer from a terrible ailment known as if-I-only-haditus. I run into other players and don’t always have the right instrument for the group! Although recently I’ve started taking my harmonicas. I can jam with pretty much anything and have fun solo with a couple harps. 🙂

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Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Steve, RE: Carolan’s Concerto
Thanks. That was very good. I am in the late stage of nailing that one on my fiddle
and in fact I was just now polishing it up.
Certainly more grace, style and personality than I thought you could get from a harmonica.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Thanks for all these very interesting replies. 🙂

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you? Mile high club?

Fiddle in the boot of the car probably does it no good. I now choose hotels when I travel based on walkable distance to a session.
Practise mutemeans that i can bow fully in the room with little concerns about my mistakes/neighbours.
I guess no-one has suggested Tabor pipe while driving for a reason? Not really the done thing but I read somewhere of it being done…Always check your mirrors to see what the driver behing is doing (especially if his vehicle is bigger than yours).
I will struggle with withdrawal for 2 weeks in mobile S of France in summer but family would’t stand it.

Mile high club for musicians (do you have to do it in the toilet?)

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Definitely take it with you. Not practicing at your level is much more likely to hurt you than to help you. Ironically, the only place I didn’t take my instrument with me was to Ireland. I just found it too easy to imagine being on the flight home and realizing that I’d left it at some pub the evening before.

Once you get decent at it, having a fiddle with you when travelling opens a lot of doors. I now have an instrument I use specifically when travelling. It was inexpensive and has an acceptable but not great sound, so I won’t be heartbroken if it gets damaged or lost. There’s also an interesting story as to how I acquired it that has obtained many a beer for me. Often I’ll go out somewhere for dinner, then tell the manager that I’ll trade a few tunes for beer or dessert, which in turn has lead to many enjoyable evenings.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I picked up a cheap electric fiddle that work wonders in hotel rooms.
Like hotsauce, I don’t want my travelling fiddle damaged, but I wouldn’t be gutted if something did happen to it.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Always!

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I haven’t been more than a few feet away from my whistles for a couple of years now. I always have a whistle in my pocket, even at business functions. Since I’ve started learning mandolin, it goes most places with me, too. That being said, I practice or play nearly every day, but I do find, sometimes, taking a day or two break from it can do wonders. It gives your mind and fingers a bit of a rest and lets your brain process all you’ve been feeding it. Everyone is different though. This method works for me, but it may not work for you.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

My flute usually goes with me on trips. It’s in a very good case, so assuming it isn’t lost or stolen, it’s safe. I have wondered about the virtues of a travel flute, but then I wonder why I’d want to play something I’m not very attached to (which is the point of a travel instrument, right?).

So, do you have a specific instrument for travel? Why--or why not?

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

My job often takes me to a lot of very poor regions around the world where I usually stay in extremely basic accommodation for weeks at a time. I take a cheap mandolin with me. It’s a great cure for loneliness, a great way of de-stressing, a great way to prevent overworking on the lap top and a marvellous way to build up new tunes.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Thanks for all these lovely posts. You may wish to know ‘what happened’.

I took my starter-pack fiddle (Bonnie) with me; she normally is strapped into a back seat, but as my husband had monopolised that with his very-portable 61-note keyboard, I put her in the boot on top of the suitcase but ballasted with several coats. Every time the car went round a bend, I worried, and when we stopped for lunch, I opened the boot and the fiddle case fell out slap on the floor. But luckily, she wasn’t hurt. However, I then improvised a way to strap her into the back seat again after all.

I practised for about an hour a day - about half an hour on practice pieces (Klezmer & classical) for my two teachers, and half an hour playing around with Hubby doing Carolan duets. His keyboard, though basic, has a lovely ‘harp setting’. It was fabulous fun & I’m so glad we took our instruments with us.

I got back today and I find that I am more fluid playing my ‘quality violin’, and put it down to the lovely relaxing time we had on holiday. With all the walking we did, I’m feeling much fitter.

The next time we go away, it will be impossible to take my fiddle, so I will follow the Hurler’s advice and do some lilting practice in my hotel room. I am sure it helps, as I often, when I can’t get my head round a tune, make up some words to help me remember. I did that for one of the pieces in a Suzuki book I was on last year, but the words are too obscene to print. 🙂

Live long and prosper, all.
Mollie

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I am jealous of most of you - I take my accordion with me everywhere. Fortunately it fits in the overhead compartment. I am on holiday when I’m in the zone with my music no matter where I am.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I play the harp, and yes, I take it with me whenever I can - which is not so easy when you play the harp. Which is why I prefer to vacation either at music festivals or visiting family and friends that are in driving distance - sometimes other musicians, sometimes not - where I can put my harp in a safe corner and have it available to sit and play whenever I can. With one exception - a week down by the Shore for mindless ocean-listening.

Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

I’ve been annoying my extended family by taking my mandolin to every gathering so I can show off my latest tune. I’ve only been learning for 6 months so the more playing I do the better. The whistle fits nicely into my handbag, mando case, or glove box of the car so comes along pretty much everywhere. Theses are my 5th and 6th instruments so I find I’m more inclined to enjoy playing them and learning new tunes when I am on holidays as I have more time.

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Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

A friend of mine used to have an hour’s train journey every morning to work, so she would spend some of the time silently practising various bits of fingering on her whistle. One morning she was quite surprised when someone dropped a coin in her lap.

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Re: Do you take your fiddle/box/whistle on holiday with you?

Yes - because generally all my holidays are Morris/Folk related!