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  • #2028 Reply


    Practicing and Choosing Fiddle Genres

    This thread is great for students interested in learning more about how practicing is an important part of developing skill on the fiddle. It also can be confusing what genres to work on as there are so many out there. After reading this thread you will get a better idea for these topics and become a better player!

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    From one of our community members:

    Question for Michael and any others who want to sound off.

    For an aspiring Fiddle player (I have been playing classical and pop music most of my violin-playing days) would you recommend they stick to one genre (such as American Classics or Irish Fiddle) or just go with what they would enjoy playing, no matter where the fiddle tunes fit?

    I, like many I know, am a player of eclectic tastes, from Irish to Cajun and from Country and Western Fiddle to songs of the Middle Ages. However, I want to become proficient and sound good at any public playing.

    I eagerly await your response(s)!

    — Jude —

    P.S. Could you also give your insight on practicing? Thanks!

    #2030 Reply


    In my small repertoire I have a Cape Breton/Scottish tune, an Irish Polka, and several other common North American fiddle tunes. I haven’t noticed having any problems switching between them. I’d say go for whatever you like. 🙂

    #2033 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

    My suggestion is to split up your mindset when you are practicing into three parts.

    Practicing Sector #1 – This is when you work on technique. Things included here would be drills, scales and anything related to fundamentals of playing. Spend the first third of your practice in this mindset. This is going to help improve your sound quality and overall playing ability over time.

    Practicing Sector #2 – This is when you think less technique, and more about notes and rhythms in songs. If you can tolerate it, I suggest working on an etude (any exercise) and/or a challenging song that you have to work on music reading. You can choose any of the styles you mentioned above for this practice sector as long as it is challenging enough, and will push your ability. Spend the second third of your practice time in this sector.

    Practicing Sector #3 – This is the music performance sector, where you should take any sort of fundamentals out of your mind. If you are the type of player that is very technical (wants to do everything perfect when they play), this will be challenging. For you Jude, I have the feeling this will be easier as you sound like a more musical type player at heart. This area is when you should take out fun pieces you have played in the past, and try to make the sound beautiful (based on your current ability). Don’t choose anything too difficult as you want to be able to think less about specifics of playing, and more about overall feel. Do the best you can to create a beautiful musical sound by staying relaxed, memorizing your piece, and/or playing for others. This is when you train to create a musical sound, and not think so robotic which can limit sound production (and ability to make playing fun). Spend the last third of your practice time in this area. If this sector is a struggle for you, start slow with one goal!

    Each of these sectors are equally important to satisfy what you are looking to do. Progress at an efficient rate, and have fun learning songs along the way. Hope this helps!

    #2094 Reply


    Such helpful advice! Thanks Michael!

    #2833 Reply

    Michael Sanchez

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