Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Fiddle Progress Report – January 2021

Posted on February 2, 2021

I don’t have a whole lot to update about things in January, but what I do have is something very important!

Of course, my 2 year anniversary of playing fiddle arrived in mid-January, which is one thing to celebrate!

Secondly, as of February 1, my quest to maintain consistent daily practice also hit a 1 year mark. I did pretty well, too! Out of 365 days, I missed exactly 6 days of practice. Not quite a week out of one year, which is great!

I’ve been giving myself a lot more wiggle room to miss practice this past month because I’ve seen that I can bounce back and not let that effect my overall consistency in daily practice. Part of this is because I’ve got practice planned out well enough that I know exactly what I need to be doing every day.

Going forward, I’m going to continue striving for daily consistency, but also be more flexible in allowing myself days off when things get busy or I just can’t quite make time for it. I’m not going to let it become a habit, mind you, but I’m also not going to beat myself up for missing a day (which usually happens on the weekend).

I finally said farewell to Russian Folk Song (IEE) and Amazing Grace this past month. I didn’t have the Russian Folk Song down perfectly, but I’ve spent so much time with it and I was only seeing minor improvements, so it was time to move on. Amazing Grace was a tune that I was pretty comfortable with, so I didn’t see that drilling it was getting a lot in return.

The most important thing that happened in January 2021 for me was… actual music.

In exchange for Amazing Grace, I brought back in the Skye Boat Song that I’d practiced earlier last year. I’d improved a LOT on this song, simply due to practicing long bowing on Silent Night. So while it’s not perfect, it’s much better than it was before.

I realized that my Fiddle & Song book also had Skye Boat Song included, though a more advanced version. Most importantly, it had a really nice backing track on the CD.

The one thing I love about Fiddle & Song is that the CD tracks are like playing along with a band and the backing tracks are amazing. Though I was playing a much more stripped down version of Skye Boat Song, I found that I could still play it along with the backing track.

Then, suddenly, one day of doing this, I was struck by actual emotion while practicing. And not the emotion of frustration with my poor playing, either. Actual emotion that I was playing (decently) music to a lovely backing track and for a song that I really love.

Oh my gosh. It’s an even better feeling than I expected!

Again, I don’t play it beautifully, but it was good enough to sound alright along with the backing track. For the first time, I actually felt like I was playing true music on my fiddle rather than just drilling an exercise and being frustrated with my sound.

That was something I’ve been working up to for two years now. It may sound silly but it’s the biggest breakthrough I’ve had so far, and it helps to bolster my confidence that with time and practice, I can start to play things I like to hear.

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