Yesterday, I received an email from Jason at Fiddlehed about a new type of lesson he was going to premier on YouTube later in the day. He called it a Call-and-Response lesson, something he does when teaching a student in person, a kind of “Simon Says” exercise.

Fiddlehed’s Email

Hey Folks,

Just a quick note to let you know I’m releasing an interactive lesson called Fun With Call-and-Response today at 1:30 PST.

This lesson attempts to emulate how an in-person lesson goes when I teach it. I will play something along with a drone track and then leave a pause for you to play it back. This will train you to pick up melodies. It will also make the instrument more a part of your body, like your voice.

But above all else, I think it’s just fun. Too often music practice winds up feeling like a chore (for some people). Always try to find a fun angle on how you practice.

Please watch the lesson, try to fiddle along, and let me know if it’s useful. I’ve also made some audio versions of the same practice game. Let me know if you find this fun and/or useful (so I know if I should make more).



My Review of Call-and-Response

If you follow the link to this YouTube video, you can see my review/response in the comments section. I will put it here as well.

This lesson is so cool. It was a real challenge for me, and I had to go back a number of times. It forced me to really listen to the notes so I could try to mimic them back.

It’s not easy to explain, but it forces me to associate notes with where they are produced with my fingers, and visa-versa, knowing where to place my fingers to produce the sound I want. It is so different from seeing the written notes, playing those notes, and hearing the sounds, something any trained monkey could do.

It helps me associate a certain mechanical movement (fingering) with a certain note (sound), and if I want a certain note (sound) this is the mechanical action (fingering) I need to do. It is all still (and will continue to be) very much a real thought process requiring a lot of brain power, but I can see how this type of lesson which forces me to associate action with sound and sound with action, can become 2nd nature as it becomes embedded in that part of the brain where I don’t have to think as much.

In time it will come more naturally (the difference between someone trying to be a musician and someone who is a musician.) Kind of like an athlete who really needs to think about how to practice a skill until it becomes automatic. Gosh, I hope this makes sense! 🙂


Of course, as usual, Jason posted this and a lot of helpful exercises on his subscription Fiddlehed website that I will take advantage of also, including, a warm-up, play-along track of the D major scale with some fun variations to get the sound of the notes in your head and the feel in your fingers; another warm-up, play-along track with nothing but repeated notes on the G and D strings; and other related exercises.

Check out Fun with Call-and-Response, and let me know what you think.

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