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Hi everyone - what a great community! Glad to be here.
I'm 41, and a secondary school teacher (high school) of maths and other stuff. I've been a musician all my life - firstly guitar, but various other instruments as well, including 20 years ago dabbling with a bit of fiddle (I was lucky enough to have Steve Knightley of Show Of Hands as a teacher, and benefitted from his mentorship and generosity of spirit many times as a kid).
I've wanted to return to fiddle a few times over the years, but somehow have never got round to it. This week I happened to notice a rather forlorn Stentor Student I in the back of the music cupboard, with the fingerboard detached, and in a sorry state. I've patched it up, re-glued the fingerboard and brought it home for a bit of love, care and attention until I buy a replacement.
Am thoroughly enjoying it. My own particular interest in bluegrass, and I'm so grateful that in these extraordinary times, there are so many amazing resources available for free on the Internet, including those created by Fiddlerman. I guess I'm pretty much starting from scratch (quite literally) but the prior knowledge definitely doesn't do any harm.
I have a local beginners group, and my intention is to get myself along to that as soon as I can carry a tune without too much embarrassment (I'm hoping that will be next Wednesday... 😉 ).
Nice to meet you all!
WELCOME ABOARD @Reptile Smile - there is no doubt - you have come to the right place ! Good luck with your endeavors and journey with the fiddle, it will become an obsession, you have been warned ! LOL
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Hi @Reptile Smile ,
Welcome to the forums - you will find a wonderful community here to go along with the learning resources.
I also returned recently to fiddle after about 20 years away, which in my case definitely means essentially starting over. It has been a lot of fun.
It's great that you have a local group for beginners to play with. Haven't found anything like that here - I can still only dream of joining the local Irish music sessions, which are definitely not targeted towards beginners. Let us know how it goes if you bring your fiddle there on Wednesday.
Well, as planned, I went along to the beginners' group, and had a great time. I was inevitably a little nervous about 'being on show' - of course, I wasn't. Everyone was in the same boat and was very supportive and helpful.
I then stayed on to the 'main event' and very rapidly realised how outclassed I was - I'm nowhere near the stage on fiddle that I can sit in on a session and pick things up like that. In the interval, though, I played someone else's mando and also a banjo (tuned in violin tuning) and slightly brought the house down, so the person who was running the session went off to find another mandolin for me to play. That worked out fine - playing fiddle when I could, and then playing other (more familiar) instruments when I couldn't.
HOWEVER... Right at the beginning of the beginners' session, it was very apparent how much larger everyone else's fiddle was than mine. I rapidly realised I'd been playing a child's size, and - again - the owner dashed off to egt me a spare full size fiddle which I played, and - my goodness - what a difference. Both the volume, but also how much easier it was to judge and correct intonation. It also transpired I've been playing with a cello bow - a nice one, but a cello nonetheless.
On getting home, I got around to actually measuring the fiddle - 13", making it a 3/4 size, I believe. Ah well. Live and learn...
So - 49 days in today (must be time for another video!)
I went along to the fiddle group again on Wednesday - it runs like this:
6:30-7:30 - Absolute beginners
7:30-8:30 - Learning a tune by ear (sort of intermediates)
8:30-9:30 - General session (no tuition - sit in and join in!)
It was hugely flattering. I realised myself that the beginners' group wasn't really appropriate any more - it was just a bit slow and unnecessary for me. The brilliantly, they asked me if I'd like to come along and play with them in their group at which they have a regular gig at a local National Trust house/country market. Nartrually, I'm really fired up about that! (and with a bit of luck, might get my 'Live' badge!)
I emailed the co-ordinator to ask for a suggested list of things I can start practising and ended up with this:
Nipper x 4/Off She Goes x 4
Buttered Peas key of G x 3/Jenny Lind key of D x 2/ Buttered Peas G x 1
Three Around Three x 3/Quaker x 2/Three Around Three x 1
Mazurka Limousin x 2 / Bear Dance x 4
Smugglers Wedding Dance
Salmon Tails/Kerry Polka
Officer’s Polka /Kit Whites Square Eight
Oh Suzannah/Nelly Bly
Hot Punch /Fiery Clockface
Cock of North/Mairi’s Wedding /Scotland the Brave
Sweets of May/Dingle Regatta
Galop Hey /Redowa Polka
Oyster Girl /Perfect Cure
Louisberg Square G/D / The Railway G
Rogue’s March D/Captain Lano’s Quick March G
Seven Stars D/ Month of May G
Woodland Flowers (G) / Uncle’s Jig (G)
Goobie O am/Stirling Castle am
Astley’s ride D/Jimmy Allen G
Brighton Camp G / The Sloe D
Harper’s Frolics D / Bonny Kate G
La Russe G / Caddam Wood G
Monk’s March G/One More Dance and Then
All the Way to Galway D mix/Tralee Gaol em
Man! I don't know a single one of them! And my current repertoire is about 8 tunes long... *gulp* Better get started...
@reptilesmile I was starting to wonder if you were still around. Haven't seen you post in a while. Thank you for the update! And fingers crossed for your gig!
Sounds like your progressing very well!
It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach
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