Path to Fiddling Enjoyment

The Path to Enjoying Your Fiddling

Fiddling enjoyment has been on my mind from the first days of beginning to teach. I would always advise a beginner to find a tune they liked to play. Then, play that one first. As in, “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” But, how to get there as soon as possible. Here is a story as an example.

Wayne Martin enjoys fiddling at White Springs on the Marble Stage


Wayne Martin enjoys fiddling at White Springs on the Marble Stage

A Parable on Fiddling Enjoyment

June 27th was a good day. It was my birthday—number 75 for counting. Among other pleasant things that happened, I got together with Kathy, a fiddler, and Doug, a guitarist for a fiddle tune session.

After playing through Da Slockit Light, a new tune for us, thanks to Hanneke Cassel, Kathy expressed frustration at her tone. I asked her to play through the first four bars by herself. Because her sound was a little tentative, I asked to play again with more bow pressure. Wow! What a difference. Her violin started to sing.

Going into the days ahead, I will remind her, (should I say nag?), to keep producing the bigger sound, until she’s use to it. She said she avoids playing out because she fears a bad note. So, because she fears a bad note all the notes are disappointing in tone. You can tell, this makes no sense.

I have personally played many bad notes. Some musicians call them “clams.” I have, all by myself, populated clam city.

There are some occasions when you really want to avoid clams, public performance, auditions, even performing for yourself, by yourself. But casual sessions are not the total clam busters that fear can make them out to be. As they say, “Laissez les bons clams roulez!”

The Moral of the Story

This incident with Kathy is a symbol of what I hope to accomplish with this fiddle oriented blog. A fiddler arrives at the blog with something on their mind about fiddling. Especially, needing something that will make a real difference in their enjoyment of fiddling.

Fiddling is a complex skill made up of many simple skills. But simple does not mean easy. It means few movements or parts.

If I can highlight a skill in such a way that it makes more sense, seems more approachable, more doable, then I accomplish my purpose.

Along the way, I’ll be writing about many topics relating to fiddling. If the one in front of you is not relevant, look around. Leave a comment about what you would like to see covered.

You could be responsible for a topic posted that is of great interest to many fiddlers! That would be a great service to me and them.

The Path to Fiddling Enjoyment

I want to see the fiddler visitors to this blog go from not knowing something to having knowledge, from being frustrated to enjoying their playing, from not being connected to attending sessions.

I’ve already posted relevant material, and plan to continue. For example, a book I recommend for learning fiddle is not even about fiddling. It’s The Little Book of Talent. If you take the book seriously, and you can get it as a Kindle book, you will have a key that unlocks the world of fiddling enjoyment.

In the post linked to above I take a few of the 52 Tips and apply them to learning to play fiddle. If you haven’t read this post, I strongly recommend it. You may see immediately why the book is so good for learning to play and enjoy fiddling.

Elan Chalford
 

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