Progress Report: Two Months of Fiddle
Posted on March 15, 2019
As of tonight’s practice session, I’m happy to announce that I’ll have practiced violin every day for two months. Let me tell you, that hasn’t been easy to meet every day, for sure. Many of the issues that I struggled with during my transition period of the first month have been resolved. This means that my practices are much more focused on playing than troubleshooting.
I have three different lesson books, all that say they’re geared towards beginners. While I’m sure two of them could work alright if you had a teacher, only one of them really does the job of walking me through concepts in bite-sized chunks: Essential Elements for Strings – Book 1 with EEi: Violin. I know that I’ve continued to praise this book and all of the online learning tools it provides (at a super low cost), but I really feel this method has been key to progress that I’ve made on my own over the past two months.
I’m a little over halfway through the first Essential Elements book now. This week, I’ve played up to exercise #102, which incorporates two new elements for me: the G string and 4th finger on the G string. This being the lowest string (but the highest on the finger board) is the most challenging for me to play due to my small hands and short pinky finger combination.
Here’s a teacher playing this version of the excercise I've been practicing:
Honestly, the song itself isn’t that hard — it’s just the 4th finger that makes it that way for me. Playing on the G string makes most of the tunes I’ve played on the D and A string feel so much easier. In fact, I keep going back over many of the tunes from #89 up to #102. This includes tunes like Bile em Cabbage Down, Lightly Row, English Round, and Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Probably the most complex tune I’ve picked up (and really enjoy the challenge of) is the Can-Can.
I’m really focusing on learning how to bow straighter and to cross strings cleaner. I have to admit that though the G string is tough for me to play, I really love the deep tone it produces on my violin. It has a certain thickness that I don’t hear on the other strings. Could be the kind of strings that came with it — I’m going to ask for a new set for my birthday (in May) and try other brands to see how they sound.