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What am I doing wrong or am I just being impatient?
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Schaick
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August 21, 2014 - 8:49 am
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While at the jams I have been attending I can get through the tune the first time when I am the lead.  BUT the second time it comes around to me it is a disaster!! Only a few times have I been able to finish.  Sometimes I know it is the speed, I just can't fiddle fast enough.

But other times when it comes back to me I don't even recognize the tune.  Can't even begin to hum it.  I do seem to do better with my eyes closed.  AND  I have noticed I can't play anything in front of fiddler's who are proficient!!

Also sometimes when I make a mistake same thing  They say just keep playing BUT I have no idea how to!!

I can get through the tunes at home from memory with no problem.  I have been practicing a bit with videos. Maybe not enough.

I have cut down on the tunes I am trying to learn.  I had been trying to learn 10 at a time.

Well one thing I have done that might not be helping me  I went from the easy Soldier's Joy to the harder version.  Same with Angeline the Baker.

I am getting better at playing back-up.

If I can figure out what the problem is I CAN FIX IT!!

PS.  One thing that has helped me remember the short tunes is to play the tune on different strings.  Can't do this on many of the songs I am playing now.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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DanielB
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August 21, 2014 - 9:00 am
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I think you are most probably just being too impatient with yourself right now.

That you are doing ok the first time around is plenty of evidence that you are definitely "getting there".

But you are always "raising the bar" on yourself and expecting more. 

Nothing wrong with that, it is the path to excellence.  Just have to expect that you'll sometimes stumble over some rocks on that path as you build the experience you need to be excellent all the time.

But you are getting there.

thumbs-up

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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fiddle chick
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August 21, 2014 - 1:40 pm
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This post could have been written by me! I have the exact same problems as you. So if you figure it out, please let me know! I can do just fine on my own, but the second I hear other instruments, I get distracted. It's very frustrating for me. Speed isn't so much the issue. It's more like I can't concentrate on what I'm supposed to be doing because I'm paying too much attention to the guitar or whatever other instrument. I've been trying to work on it but I'm definitely not there yet. 

Let the bow flow.

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BillyG
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August 21, 2014 - 2:47 pm
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Hmmmm... I see it as a kind of Zen thing... hear not the sound of one hand clapping, glasshoppah, but the clap of the one-sound.   ( hmmm.... Bill, you've lost it ) - no - I'm being serious - it is SO EASY to go off-track when there's something else going on -

So, what I do is to "disassociate myself from reality" (easy for me! LOL), and lock into (a) what I intend to play and (b) the rhythm/beat (the "clap" - not the melody)  of "whatever else is going on" but ignore the tune/melody I am hearing from the on-stage/monitor speakers or in-ear 'phones - trust me - if you are playing with others - you do not NEED to be note perfect (it helps, sure - but any slip-ups will be largely masked - and I'm NOT saying don't concentrate - of course - do your best and if you "fluff-it" just play on and get back in the groove - in a group everyone carries each-other - when you do the lead, you are rocking - when you're backing-up - improvise when it goes wrong! )

It is difficult to start with - but you just "need to be on the outside, looking in" ...  and that's just my way of looking at it - I did an impromptu play-along / invented harmony to something earlier today - OK - I spent 30 mins just listening to something new - and had an absolute WOW of a time - what I did was far from perfect - but it works for me.

I have NO idea if what I tried to say there made any sense at all....  it's just what works for me  ( listen - for me - the HARDEST musical thing I've EVER had to do is to do the Thaxted v1 to the click track and sheet music - honestly... I am not joking... playing-along to something is SO MUCH EASIER ( for me) )

So, when you're playing live, and backing, let it "flow over you" - forget what your "head and ears" say - just play what you already know from your heart - following the "clap" - it will work just fine !

Bill (like I know anything about it- can only speak from my own experience)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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coolpinkone
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August 21, 2014 - 4:20 pm
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With all the fantastic progress you have made, I can only come to the conclusion that you are wanting more and perhaps being hard on yourself.  You are doing great. 

I would suggest that even when  you think you have a song down...Play it about 100 more times..... LOL.. that is what I have to do...sometimes 200 more...

The dynamics of playing in a gig verses practicing are different..of course. 

Pat yourself on the back .. .keep up the  hard good work.  It will all fall together.

:)

Cheers

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Schaick
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August 22, 2014 - 9:14 am
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Oh My Goodness this site is awesome!!

@DanielB, thank you for your comments!!

@fiddle chick  When I am watching TV I can be sitting right next to it and if there is another sound no matter how soft I hear it.  This was great while I was a Mom with 3 young children pulling at me. Great when I am in 2-3 conversations going on at one time.

Multitasking with our ears with language, but now we need to incorporate this ability into our playing!!

@BillyG "flow over you"  "impromtu " I have mentioned to family members that I want to be able to converse with the violin the way I converse with my words in everyday conversations.  So jamming becomes being able to carry on in normal every day conversation but with the violin.  

I usually do not need to think out and practice and practice what I am going to say to people in normal every day conversation, but I have been speaking for 59 years!!

BUT like an infant I need to @coolpinkone practice, practice the "words" and "sentences" !!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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DanielB
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August 23, 2014 - 6:53 am
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@Schaick:  From your reply to MadBill, it sounds like what you might be working on is what I would call "fluency".  The ability we use in spoken language to select words and phrases that fit, and doing it "on the fly" as we do in verbal conversation.

I am pretty much always working on that for violin.  I can do it okay on guitar and some other instruments, but the violin is still kinda like... Well, there is a saying some of the older folks around here used to say, who were of Swedish descent..

"If I could only say in English what I am thinking in Swedish.."

But what I have found to be of the most use for that is doing a fair amount of playing around against a backing track with a simple repetitive pattern to it.  I use this one, sometimes..

If you are maybe a bit new to improvising, at first it can be easier to stick to a simple "pentatonic" scale.  For the key of Am, as this example, it would be just the notes A C D E G.  "Penta Tonic" because it has 5 tones.

Why those 5, in particular?  Well, they are the ones that are pretty 'safe' to play against a standard "vanilla" chord progression like this one.  Any of those notes will sound at least "not bad" against almost any moment of that backing track (or any other piece written in anything like a standard sort of chord progression for A minor or C major).  So it makes for some safe "baby steps" to just play around in and see what you can come up with.

Take it slow and easy at first and remind yourself that silence, like a pause or space, is as much a part of music as notes are.  No harm at all in listening for a few beats while you decide what note to play next when improvising.

If you can play through the whole track for the entire 20 min and sound great and brilliant the entire time, please hit yourself over the head, tie yourself up and lock yourself in a closet, before you make the rest of us look bad.  More likely, things you try will sound kind of boring or not particularly good (though not "wrong) part of the time, but part of the time you'll hear yourself doing some combinations and changes that actually sound pretty darn good.  When you find those, repeat them several more times, so your fingers can learn the moves and you burn it into memory a bit.

20 min is actually quite a long time to have to improvise.  In real life musical situations, it almost never happens.  But you can build up a vocabulary of moves/sounds this way so that when you are in a more realistic situation where you may have to "take the lead" for a minute or less, you'll already have "vocabulary" and "phrases" you've found that you can use.   Also, since the chord pattern repeats a lot of times over that 20 min, you get to practice it "coming around to you" a lot, which may help with that anxiety a bit.

You may be thinking "But we don't do any songs that are exactly like that backing track".  Probably not, but the chord changes are very typical, and what notes sound good against the chords and changes are something you can use in a lot of different songs.

The songs you are currently doing might not be strictly out of the "pentatonic scale" that I gave as an example.  But if you're doing Celtic, folk, traditional, pop, country, rock, blues, jazz or etc, a surprising amount of the songs you do will contain at least some passages that are that pentatonic scale.

For example, you can play the entire verse part of "Oh Susanna" using only those 5 notes.  (C D E G G A G E C D E E D C D)  Lots of other songs or parts of songs as well.

As you get comfortable with improvising, you can add in other notes like the B and F to get a full minor scale and etc. 

But to get back to the point, if I understand what you're trying to do correctly, what I have found to be helpful for it is to include improvising into your practice routine.  Doing it for a longer stretch than you ever have to "take the lead" for makes it easier when you take the lead in realistic situations.  Your fingers already will have learned plenty of things to do that can sound good, and will have already practised a lot of the note changes you are likely to need.  You can get used to your time to play "coming around" so you can get to feel easy about it.  You also will discover some tasty bits you can use as fill or embellishments that are "purely you" that can fit well with the melodies of the actual songs you may be playing.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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fishnrodds
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August 24, 2014 - 2:37 am
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http://www.google.com/url?sa=t.....2305,d.aWw this book helped me alot..I was told early on in my fiddling life when playing backup (old classic country stuff) to put in the parts that the steel guitar would play which is mostly improvisational. it has worked for me so far, I havent had to play with a steel guitar yet..lolol I would imagine we would have to take turns or "breaks" seperately. stay in the key of the tune and let yourself flow, theres no other real way to do this other than just to practice it, I will sit and just play random notes strung togather just to practice..you will get it, the more you play with others the easier it gets. Im lucky to have a circle that loves to teach and are somewhat forgiving..lolol  you will get it.. I did..

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RosinedUp
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August 24, 2014 - 9:48 am
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Presumably you can determine the scale of the tune being played.  Be aware of which notes are in and which notes are out of the scale and where they are on the fingerboard. 

If it's a major scale and you can identify the chord being played, you can play anything in the pentatonic scale that is based on that chord.  For example, for a tune in G, the main chords are G, C, and D.  When the chord is G, you can play G A B D E (the notes of G major pentatonic).  When the chord is C, you can play C D E G A (C major pentatonic).  When the chord is D, you can play D E F# A B (D major pentatonic). 

For a tune in G, all of the notes in the minor pentatonic scales built upon A, B, and E are also in-scale.

When a tune is in a major scale, then for any of the first six scale degrees, the pentatonic scale on that scale degree is contained in the scale of the tune, and the triad chord is contained in that pentatonic scale.

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Schaick
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August 24, 2014 - 10:06 am
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Great information thank you all!!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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lrrice
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October 10, 2014 - 10:26 am
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Hard version/easy version as long as its in the same key feel free to mix and match.  Jamming is about playing not perfection.  Before it comes back to you, play your simple version quietly along with the others then you are ready to come in.  Don't try to play what they are playing, yours will blend nicely.  Then come in with your simple version and flowered it up at will once your leading again.  Don't get flustered, it will bother you more than it bothers them if you mess up.

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coolpinkone
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October 10, 2014 - 1:41 pm
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@lrrice ... thank you for this jamming tip.  Makes sense and it a great game plan.  Like a plan B.  :)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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lrrice
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Hope it helps.  I have been a beginner for so long I guess I am probably a professional beginner just don't ask me advanced questions ;-)

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