Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Tis the Season!

Posted on November 6, 2019

Welcome to November!

It was about this time last year when I started to get it in my head that I was going to learn to play fiddle. I didn’t take the leap into buying my first cheap fiddle until Dec 7, but I know I spent a lot of time researching into how difficult it would be to learn to play, especially if you don’t have a teacher nearby.

Of course, all advice said not to do it. They also said not to get a cheap fiddle. I didn’t listen to any of it, and here I am, almost a year later. I own several violins of varying quality now – including the one I ended up loving the most. And I’m still working at it, still practicing, even though I wasn’t sure if I’d stick with it before I tried it last year.

Yesterday, I was browsing one of my fiddle Facebook groups when I ran across a post where someone was asking how to stay motivated in those slump times. I’m not exactly in a slump right now — in fact, I took to learning my newest tune, Cindy, far faster than I expected to. I was getting ready to move on to the next song (which I’ve already reviewed one practice last week), because I feel I’m at the point where Cindy is on daily clean-up practice, but something new can be in the works.

Anyhow, back to this Facebook post. One of the suggestions given was to add a song they wanted to learn just for the fun of it outside of whatever they’re working on for their teacher. This person said they were doing that with holiday tunes.

That’s when it hit me.

Of course! It’s November! A perfectly acceptable time frame to begin learning some holiday songs on my fiddle! After all, if I’m to play anything around Christmastime, I really do need to start practicing many weeks ahead.

I’m at a perfect place to take a bit of a break with the method I’ve been practicing for the past few months (of course practicing my latest trio of tunes a few times a week to stay current on them). I’m not in the middle of learning a new song yet, and I really did want to spend some time making use of my Bluegrass Daddy account.

I bought a subscription to Bluegrass Daddy (BGD) just to explore it last month. I did try to add one of the songs there to my practice, but I felt like the song was a bit too advanced for me, and gravitated back to AFM for daily practice. But in visiting BGD yesterday, I noticed that the site has a nice solid selection of traditional holiday music on the lesson list.

This is perfect! I’m considering a lifetime at BGD – that might be my Christmas present to myself this year – and using the site to practice and learn holiday music is a great way to put it to the test to see if it’s helpful to me.

I started with the standard Silent Night yesterday, and actually found myself learning it pretty quickly. I’m in no real rush, but I’d love to learn a handful of Christmas songs by the end of the year including:

  • Silent Night
  • O Holy Night
  • Greensleeves
  • The Holly and the Ivy
  • Auld Lang Syne (Maybe, for New Years)

All of these have a beginner version on BGD, and are tunes I would really love to learn to play. So here it goes, time to practice for the holidays!

Leave Your Thoughts!

Archived Comments

Jim Guinn - Thursday, November 7, 2019

I wound up buying a lifetime subscription to BGD; John has so many tune lessons, I thought it was worth it. I am also preparing a few songs for Christmas. Right now, the ones on my list I am working on are: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, and if I feel really ambitious, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Aywren - Thursday, November 7, 2019

I definitely think the amount of content there is worth the price. I know I'll probably go ahead and pick up the lifetime before my next sub renewal. I just wanted to test it out a bit between now and then and was pleased to see so many Christmas songs on the list.

Those are nice tune-picks, too! Wish you best of luck in your holiday practice!