Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Fiddle Progress Report – February 2024

March 1, 2024

I’m happy to say that my fiddle practice has remained consistent! There were a few days when I did a short version with just a couple of tunes or scales due to time constraints. But I have picked up my fiddle every single day no matter what.

I do feel that keeping my fiddle stored on a wall hanger has helped a lot with that. Making it easier to pick up and play my fiddle, and keeping it within my sight, has supported my practice habit. It was something I debated doing, but after two months, I feel this was a good choice. I have had to tune some of my strings a little more due to changes in weather, but other than that, it’s been just as safe on the wall as it would have been in the case.

Playing long bows and scales in front of the mirror in order to practice bowing straight has gotten much easier now. I can’t say that I’m always bowing straight when I’m not checking in the mirror, but adding this to my practice certainly can’t hurt.

I’ve been focused on continuing to build up my skills very slowly by moving through the simple tunes in my EEI book. Last month, I last noted that I was comfortable playing #42 – Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Since then, I’ve progressed through:

  • #43 – A Mozart Melody (A fancy name for Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star…)
  • #71 - Au Claire De La Lune
  • #73 – Buckeye Salute
  • #76 - For Pete's Sake

The reason there’s such a big jump in track numbers is due to the fact that the EEI book has so many super short and simple practice exercises in between what I consider actual songs. Because this is my second time through the book, and all of this is just review, I treat the tunes themselves as my exercises.

These songs are very easy for me to play, so I only practice them about a week in total. That’s usually what it takes for me to feel fully comfortable with playing them mostly accurately. Then I move on to the next tune.

I think today, as long as time permits, I’ll likely move on from #76 - For Pete’s Sake to a new song, in order to start a new month off right.

On the side, I have continued to play Boil Them Cabbage Down from my Fiddle and Song book. It’s short, it’s simple, and I use it as the “fun exercise tune,” even though I really should have moved on to something a little more challenging weeks ago. The backing tracks for this book are like playing with a full-on hoedown band, which is what gives it the energy I enjoy as a fun song.

I know that the next tune in Fiddle and Song is the same tune but with a shuffle bow pattern. So, this might be a good option to change things up this month.

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress, even though I’m taking it very slow with tunes that are not very challenging to me. I know that I’ll work back up to something a little more difficult later, and hope that time spent rebuilding my coordination and the habit of practice will be worth it.

Leave Your Thoughts!