Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Fiddle Inspiration via Musescore

November 14, 2023

I’ll admit it – it’s been a little over two months since I last practiced my fiddle. I was doing really well over the summer months, despite the heat… despite the AC going out… all the setbacks I ran into. Somehow, I still managed to keep fiddling. But then, come September, for reasons I can’t even remember, I just lost the momentum and stopped practicing.

Thankfully, it hasn’t been that long of a time without practice that I can’t pick back up where I left off (more or less). I’m not sure what it is about this time of year that inspires me to play again, but I recall back in 2018, it was early December when I bought my first violin shaped object and gave this all a try.

Though I haven’t been practicing anywhere near as much as I should, I’ve retained my subscription to Meadowlark Violin Studio. This is partially because I have a really good price on the monthly sub compared to the regular going price, and I worry should I unsub if I’d lose it.

I still check in on the emails that the site sends out weekly, and have kept track of lessons I really want to look at in the future (vibrato). One of the things I discovered while exploring the site for Christmas music today – she provides a whole PDF book of holiday songs! – is that some of the songbooks also come with a downloadable Musecore file.

Now, the way I work when it comes to practice and learning music is quite audible. I can try to read the notation, but I really need to hear it in action to ensure that I’m playing it correctly – especially something complex or new to me.

What Musescore does is take musical notation and allows you to play it straight from the notation itself. This was similar to something I was messing around with using Scanscore years back – though in this case, I was trying to turn notation into a midi. Musescore is a free program, and Meadowlark provides the notation for download that works perfectly with the program. All I really wanted was to be able to listen to notation – midi or not – so this works perfectly.

In fact, I found this whole discovery very inspiring! It opens up a tool that I wasn’t aware was on the site that I will absolutely put to use. I’m trying my hand at holiday music, as I tend to this time of year, with Deck the Halls on Musescore. I might also pick up Silent Night again… as this has been the holiday song I’ve gone back to year after year (and never quite play it as well as I’d like to).

Sadly, all of my lapse in practice has taken me back to the beginning. Even this summer, I was taking it very, very slowly and practicing very, very simple tunes compared to what I used to. I’m not letting this get to me, however, as I know it’s the right thing to do, rather than to rush to songs that are above my skill level and will only cause frustration.

I’m just happy to feel a bit inspired by my fiddle again. I even bought new strings today – I haven’t put new strings on my fiddle in two years, which is… a long time for fiddle strings. While I haven’t played so much as to degrade them from use, I do see some age spots forming on the G string, so that tells me it’s probably time.

I still have never landed on a brand and type of strings that really sing to me, and this time I’m trying the Pirastro Violino. I keep looking for something a bit more mellow, and these have good reviews at a lower price point than some of the other sets. I’ll write about what I think when I have time to break them in.

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