Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

A Violin Inspiration

Posted on January 9, 2019

As a child, I always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. But due to finances and transportation issues, joining the school band was not in the cards for me. Nor was taking any sort of private lessons.

In fact, it wasn’t until I was in college that I got my first real instrument – a used but lovely teal Ibanez acoustic guitar. I made an effort to teach myself how to read and play music, and I did so at a very beginner level. I wish I’d carried on with my learning, but for whatever reason, I put the instrument down, and never progressed. I’d love to come back to it one day — I still own the instrument and have all my learning materials. But that is another story.

Learning fiddle/violin was never an aspiration of mine. But over the last few years, hearing musicians such as Lindsey Stirling and Taylor Davis sparked some interest in me.

It wasn’t until I started writing a story about a bard character that the fiddle started to really grow on me. I wanted to find an instrument that fit in the fantasy world but looked a bit different from instruments we’re used to. I discovered the kit fiddle and thought hey... a little baby fiddle is kinda neat and unusual!

Add to that the fact that fiddle can express a wide variety of music types and emotion, and I knew I had the instrument to match my character. I started discovering violin/fiddle music and highlighting it every Friday on my blog, calling it Fiddle Friday.

As things progressed, I found myself growing interested in learning about fiddles in real life. So, I did some research and discovered… violins are darn hard instruments to learn to play. This turned me off the idea for a few months. But I kept coming back to it, reading, watching videos and trying to figure out if there was any chance in an adult my age picking up the instrument.

Finally, a short time before Christmas of 2018, I pulled the trigger and bought a cheap student violin.

I received it a bit before vacation started and spent a little time setting it up, learning to tune it, and in general, just getting used to the instrument. It’s quite different from guitar, which is the only stringed instrument I’m used to. Very light weight. And the idea that you have to put the bridge on yourself came as a surprise.

In fact, the violin and bow have more maintenance and upkeep than I’m used to in an instrument. But that just makes it curious and interesting to me. Something you have to take care of is something you bond with.

I admit that I haven’t started learning the instrument in earnest — mostly because learning to hold the bow is something that’s going to take me time. But I want to document what I learn and my progress in this blog. My goal is to eventually play casually — more along the lines of Irish fiddle than anything orchestral.

As I go along, I wanted to share resources that were useful and any information that helped me out as a learning adult student. I’ve confirmed there aren’t any violin instructors nearby, so I’m going to have to start out by relying on learning from the net and on my own. Wish me luck!

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