Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Three Years of Fiddle

Posted on January 15, 2022

It’s January 15th again and that can mean only one thing – it’s my fiddleversary! (I made that word up, obviously.) Three years ago today, I started to seriously learn how to play fiddle.

I’ve come a long way from where I started, but I have so, so far to go still. Last year, I started out pretty strong when it came to mostly being consistent with practice. This fell off in October and lasted until I dusted everything off in January again. Thankfully, I was able to pick back up where I left off, but that also meant that I lost three months of progress I should have had.

I try not to look at it too much like that. I honestly have no idea where I “should” be in terms of progress and skill at three years in. It’s very likely that without a teacher, I’m further behind than what I’d like it to be.

However, over the last year, I’ve finally hit a point – at least with one song – where I’m playing something that feels like actual music rather than just a practice exercise. That’s more of what I want to discover this year. I’d like to find more songs that inspire me as a musical piece, but I’m not sure exactly where I’m going to find that.

I decided to check out Fiddlehed this year – something I’ve wanted to do, but felt was too pricey – at least for a few months to see if this is helpful. The problem is, I often stall out on tunes and need to play them for weeks, if not a month or so, before moving on to something new. Sometimes even longer.

For example, I’ve been playing the Skye Boat Song for… I have no idea how long. Maybe a year now? I keep it in my practice because it’s the one song that sounds halfway like music and it helps remind me that it’s music I’m trying to play. The longer I’ve spent with it, the more improved it’s become over time. I’ve even added small complexities to it as I’ve played and listened to the backing track.

So, if there’s on goal I’d like to reach, it’s to find more music to play as music.

Another goal would be, yet again, to increase playing stamina. I wanted to do that last year and that fell flat. This year, I’m going to set this as another thing.

I’d like to get vibrato practice back in the loop, too. I dropped them last year because they’d often exhaust my hands and arms before I could start playing anything – again, lack of stamina. But I need to make vibrato a thing since this is going on year three for me.

My practice consistency has been good this month so far. So if I can just keep it up, and maybe find some music I really enjoy, I can continue this trend.

I’ve also restored this blog – which is a project I’d like to put more time into this year. I have a number of things yet to write for it, so I’ll see where it goes!

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