January is already half over, and I’ve only written one blog post so far this month, so I thought I would just do a quick update.
I guess the main reason I have not written anything new is because I am not doing anything new right now. I have been practicing daily concentrating on two things, both of which were the subjects of my last two blog posts:
- In order to get more into the good habit of systematic practicing, I have been diligently structuring my practice sessions as I discussed in my late December blog post Remembering Fiddle Tunes. This has been working well for me as am beginning to remember more tunes by heart (A List) and am working on forgotten or poorly played tunes (B List).
- I have also been concentrating on my bowing wrist movement as I wrote about in Wax On, Wax Off in early January. This has taken a lot of concentration and observation, but I have noticed an improvement in my playing as I work on pulling the bow in both directions.
If you haven’t been to the forum lately, I want to call your attention to a post made by Rick M called Playing at Speed. In this post Rick shared a video lesson by Kevin Burke about an approach to learning a new song and getting able to play it at the proper speed. While Mr. Burke was speaking about Irish tunes, his video is applicable to all fiddle tunes. It is a very good video, well worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch it. I have already viewed it several times. Here it is below if you haven’t seen it.
After watching this video, I went back to a tune I learned recently called Annie Laurie. I learned the simple version of it, but because I like Vivian Williams rendition so much, I went back to the YouTube video, downloaded the mp3 track, slowed it down with Audacity and figured out each note of her rendition. I then took that and began learning it phrase by phrase, but up to speed as Kevin Burke suggested. I was actually somewhat surprised with myself how quickly I was able to play all the notes up to tempo. Of course, I do make mistakes, but I now have this tune on my A List and am getting better with it every day.
My final comment for today has to do with my fiddle teacher and my lessons. I have been giving it a lot of thought whether I want to continue or not with these fiddle lessons. I do like the lessons, but I can barely tolerate the 130 mile, 3 hour, round trip it takes to attend them. I haven’t made up my mind about what to do just yet, but I think I am going to attend the Pocono Bluegrass and Folk Society Winterfest ’20 to see if I can make contact with a possible fiddle teacher. The event is being held about ten miles from where I live. Perhaps I can finds someone who teaches closer to where I live. I’ll let you know how I make out.
And, that’s the mid January update for now.