Category: Learning to Play

Learning to play the fiddle

Practice Motivation and Excuses

Sometimes I have no motivation to practice. I can offer a lot of excuses. I’ll do it after this. I just don’t feel like it. I’m feeling frustrated. I’m feeling discouraged. I’m tired. My body aches. I’m too busy. I have other things to do. I can’t get to it. I just can’t seem to…

Trigger Finger

A few weeks ago I woke up and noticed the middle finger on my left hand was bent as if I was bent playing an F# on the D string. I had to consciously straighten it out, and with that it clicked back open. I bent it again and it stayed in that position until…

Learning a Fiddle Tune by Ear

In some of my recent posts, I’ve been writing about learning a tune using tabs versus being able to read traditional music notation. Today, I want to write about learning a fiddle tune by ear, because that is my ultimate goal. I wrote about learning music theory only because so many fiddle tunes I find…

Jessica’s Waltz

In my last fiddle lesson with my teacher, I began learning one of the lesser-known waltzes, Jessica’s Waltz, called by some just Jessica Waltz or The Jessica Waltz. Here’s a nice, simple, unadorned fiddle version. One of the things I like to do when learning a new tune is to try and learn about it’s…

Theory for Mandolin and Fiddle

The other day, I wrote a post about a course I signed up for at Peghead Nation called Old Time Fiddle with Bruce Molsky. As I mentioned in that post, one of the drawbacks for me in taking this course is the notation for each tune is standard notation, not tablature. In an effort to…

Bruce Molsky on Peghead Nation

I really admire and enjoy watching Bruce Molsky play the fiddle. I have watched and studied a number of his videos, and have even used a couple in my blog posts: It’s All in the Bowing, Playing Faster – Part 2, and Old Time Bow Holds. Not only does the way he convey how to…

Fall Practice Challenge

FiddleHed is running a Fall Practice Challenge. As Jason says, “It’s the time of year when fiddlers fall in love with practice by playing every day for two weeks.” From October 7-20, fiddle students around the world will make music a regular part of their lives. The primary goal is to establish the habit of daily…

First Position Scales

Recorded scales to practice and play along with are not always easy to find. Sure, you can find them set to piano, or even worse, midis, but to find a whole set played by the same fiddler, at the same pace, has been a challenge. However, today I found a YouTube video recorded by Dr.…

Baoding Balls

Yesterday, I wrote a blog entry about Hand Cramping. In the comments section, one of my readers, Stewart Holder, mentioned he has been using Baoding Balls to recover from hand cramps for over 20 years. Since I have never heard of Baoding Balls, I decided to do a little research. I found out Baoding Balls…

Hand Cramping

The Good News: I am back to practicing every day! The Bad News: I am experiencing a lot of hand cramping when practicing! Hand cramping is caused by muscle spasms, which is uncontrollable or involuntary muscle contraction. These spasms or contractions do not allow the muscle to become relax and cause pain prompting me to…