Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

hey all-

I took my ebay purchased fiddle to a reputable luthier and had some minor work done on my fiddle (new bridge, strings and action at the nut taken down…all on luthiers suggestion) He also put on a new chin rest filled a small crack and roughed up the tuning pegs to prevent slippage. He only charged me for the bridge and the strings. He also at my request picked out a bow for me (luthier is also a very experienced player). He picked out a brand spanking new bow in my price range.

I have now had 2 lessons on fiddle. My teacher has been giving lessons longer than I’ve been alive. Originally classically trained but now does mostly Irish music and knows the mechanics and theory of classical vs. trad and explains them to me (ie. open string vs. 4th finger…he’s teaching me the open string). He is a very attentive to technique and that’s great because I don’t want to develope any bad habits.

My first lesson consisted of him putting a rather ugly shade of yellow tape on my finger board (I can only assume he chose the color to motivate me to hone my finger placement at an excellerated rate) giving me exercises for finger placement and showing me how to hold my bow. I went home with many positive things. I got to hear my fiddle being played….I think it sounds really nice, he really liked the strings the luthier picked out for my fiddle (prim’s) he thought they made a nice sound. He couldn’t believe my bow cost only $100 USD. Curously, every other fiddler that has looked at my bow has had the same reaction. So I’m guessing I got a good deal on it. The best thing was that my teacher said after he taught me how to hold my bow that my position was really good, and that it looked like I’d been holding a bow my whole life. So I left all smiley and enthusiastic toward fiddling.

My second lesson was a bit more eventful as I actually got to put bow to strings. I have kinda done a little of this at home already just to test the waters and have developed a "loud and proud" philosophy to cut down on the cruelty to my ears and those of my fiance. Anyway, we worked on bowing on the A major scale. At the end of my lesson my teacher said I had really good tone! So I left all smiley and enthusiastic toward fiddling.

So that’s the fiddle update.

On to another musing…I WAS going to make a tune book for a friend of mine who was learning fiddle (as a birthday present in June). I have seen the light. Will, you and Dave were so right. See https://thesession.org/discussions/3199 I was telling her about my lessons and found out that she is soooooo not ready for a tunebook. I think I may give her money for a teacher or find a good tutorial or both.

Anyways that’s my update.

Re: Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

Well I always end up thinking learning how to play a new instrument is one of the funnest parts the other is when I can play tunes well. If you want a good tutorial for your friend if she can play basic stuff in first position this tutorial will be good it is "The Complete Irish Fiddle Player" by Peter Cooper it has everything she will need to know (you know like ornementation and stuff) it also has 80+ common session tunes and a two CD set it is a little expensive ($30) but worth it in so many ways they have it at Elderly so just run a search for it there. If she can’t play simple first position tunes forget about that book and go for a basic Violin book then when she has the basics this book would be great then.

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Re: Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

I don’t think a book is going to help my friend nearly as much as a teacher would at this point. She is not doing her finger position correctly. How would I know….well, she isn’t using her index finger (left hand) to depress any strings at this point. She is using a tuner to find her positions….I thought she was taking lessons. I didn’t realize she was trying to teach herself….badly. Money is tight and I think the best gift I could give her would be a couple sessions with a good teacher.

Re: Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

A neat way to give her the lessons is to pay the teacher up front and then have the teacher call her and say, "Congratulations! You’ve won three free fiddle lessons, courtesy of a good friend." That way she doesn’t think you got her the lessons because she’s so bad. Just a thought. 🙂

And the tunebook idea is great—just wait till she’s ready for it.

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Re: Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

I wish my friend didn’t live almost 2 hrs. away….I’d just bring her along with me when I go to my lesson’s under the guise of moral support and pay her way. Ugh. Anyway, I need sleep. 5:30 am CDT comes pretty early. I’ll look up teachers in her area tomorrow. I think I’ll make her a tune book next year and put everything I’m learning in it.

Re: Fluter turned Fiddler update and other musings

Well it can be hard to teach yourself but when you have musical ability flowing through you veins it is not as hard but still hard. I would know I taught myself but I have a great deal of musical ablity so I am not doing as bad as she seems to be doing you will get to hear me play Fiddle on Mighty Craic I was very daring I have only been playing a few months and decided to do this. If that is the case with your friend get her a teacher she needs one very badly from your description.

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