Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”
A little history explaining my ultimate frustration with the fiddle:
Somewhere in the mid 1980s, I saw Doug Kershaw and his unorthodox method of playing in concert and thought "I could learn to play that"! After all, I could already play the trumpet and read music for 20 years................
Well, it turned out to be harder than I thought, but I stuck with it. By the early 90s, I was playing in two bands and doing vocals as well, from time to time. Not that this was going to be my profession, but I was single and having a lot of fun.
Twice I had the honor of playing with the late Johnny Gimble! First time was impromptu at an event in front of the stage. That is me in the red T shirt.
The second time was a year later at a fiddle contest. I was dressed a little better, but still wearing red.
Then 1995 came along and I had a construction site accident. Broke several bones in my right hand, wrist, and arm. Out of it for a long time, but then, who says you can't play fiddle in a cast? Limited, but still able to play most tunes. Hokum bowing was out, though!
The final "nail in the coffin" came in December 1995 when I broke two fingers on my left hand "3 & 4". Fingers 3 and 4 can no longer operate independently enough to play much of anything.
I had to give it up in early 1996. Just couldn't play anymore. Fast forward to 2015:
One of my Grandson's has taken up the violin. Young beginner, and Gramps would just love to be able to help out beyond just coaching! I dug out the ol' fiddle last month and was amazed at how much I had forgotten!
Here is where the real frustration comes in......... My right wrist is far from flexible since I have fused bones. Fingers on left hand don't work well at all when 3 & 4 combinations (or separate) are needed!
But, I am determined to try and overcome some of this even though approaching "geezer" age!
Any suggestions from those out there with physical handicaps like these ar3e welcome!
The Internet was hardly in existence when I learned to play, so I find these forums and videos pretty cool!
Had not intended for this post to become a short story, but I tend to ramble sometimes............
In closing, I will always cherish the times I had with the late Johnny Gimble!
Well how do you do? So nice to meet you and read your story.
What a bummer about the injury and your playing limitations.
How awesome that your grandson is playing. That must tickle you pink.
Welcome to the friendliest fiddle/violin site around. I don't have suggestions for playing .. but I am thinking some will have some tips for you.
I hope you post often and have a great time on the site.
Cheers and Sunshine
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato
Welcome to the forum 🙂 I'm sorry about your injuries, but it's great that your grandson is taking it up!
I wish I had some tips for you, but I'm sure others will have something. Where there is a will, there's a way, so I'm sure something will work out and feel right to you 🙂
World's Okayest Fiddler
I'm pretty determined to get back at it!
I'll be going on a 2 week cruise starting this weekend and I know the Blackjack Band will be the house band on the ship. I've seen them before and Jimmy Hodge is one great fiddle player. That should be some extra stimulus to get back at it.
I did get it out and tune it up tonight. May need to get an electric to practice on so as not to drive the wife nuts!
That sounds like it will be a great inspiration to get back into playing 🙂 I know after watching videos online of great players I can't wait to go practice, seeing someone play live would do that even more 🙂
World's Okayest Fiddler
I really enjoyed reading your introduction.
It's always an inspiration when someone presses on despite many obstacles and maintains interest as you did.
Though I don't have any handicaps at this time I can make a few suggestions. I have in fact helped others with severe issues.
First of all, as you probably know, everything takes much more time when you have been injured. Even if a doctor says you won't regain full function, you may succeed far beyond what they say. They are often wrong.
It's only good to stretch and force yourself to do something if you do it carefully. The fingers that don't have much dexterity could be improved by stretching them carefully (to the point that you avoid pain) similarly to when one stretches muscles on a work out. Hold the fingers in an extended position for 15 - 30 seconds, perhaps several times a day increasing over time. Once again, better to avoid the point of pain.
Next, learn to lift your fingers the absolute minimum on the fingerboard. You don't need much motion. 99% of all violinists use way too much.
Lastly, lower your expectations but not your ambitions. 🙂
Baby steps forward.
I appreciate the suggestions! Dexterity in my left hand has improved quite a bit since the accident 20+ years ago, but it still isn't any where near 100%. I tried your suggestion of spreading the fingers. Gonna have to work on that! Doesn't take much to make it go "ow!".
We are leaving on a two week cruise tomorrow and I will be exposed to one pretty-good fiddle player on the ship. I'm sure this will provide even more motivation to forge ahead.
The last couple of days is the first I've had the fiddle out in 20 years. Amazing how much one forgets!
I bet a lot of it will come back after your cruise. Now that it is in your brain again, and I'm sure you'll get a good dose on the cruise, maybe you'll just have to find songs you can play with your fingers the way they are as you work on adjusting to playing with them again.
Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.