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Jamming on the violin
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Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 20, 2011 - 10:45 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16195

From time to time I get asked how to jam on the violin. Jamming in itself is easy, however it is difficult to jam or improvise at an advanced level with complicated rhythms and pattern. Point is you can jam right away and work at getting better over time.

To be able to improvise and jam, you should first familiarize yourself with the most common keys and scales both going up and down. Identify the appropriate key while jamming. Most music consist greatly of scales and arpeggios even if all the notes are not being used. Practice finger patterns corresponding with interesting licks in as many different keys as you can. Some of the most common keys are G, D, F, C, A, E, Bb, Eb.
Also extremely beneficial  to learn and master minor dorian scales.

You are jamming even if you are only playing the base note of a piece in any given key and some kind of rhythm (hopefully creative and interesting). Rhythm is just as important and interesting as note patterns. If you add one note, such as a fifth to a base note and keep the rhythm you are already doing much better. Eventually add scales or arpeggios and play them with the interesting rhythms. Chromatic scales work well too, provided you begin on and shoot for the appropriate notes. It is often a safe bet to keep the base note and fifth in mind at all times.

See my Jazz improvisation for violin video.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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fiddlefaddle
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March 21, 2011 - 9:33 am
Member Since: January 12, 2011
Forum Posts: 34
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So what is the best way to get started?

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Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
March 21, 2011 - 5:03 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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This book is NOT everything you need to know but it contains a lot of "smarts" about jammin and what the music is about.  Make sure to look at the table of contents on the Amazon site.

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 22, 2011 - 12:16 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16195

Looks like it could be a good book. Do you have it Don?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
NC
King
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March 22, 2011 - 9:26 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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Yes I do.  I was expecting a book of music but it was more instructions on how to play back-up parts.  Lots of chords info, back-beat rhythm, vamping, etc.  The CD has bluegrass sets but no printed music.  They want you to "sit in".   The book also talked about jammin etiquette. 
I have a whole new appreciation for what is going on with jammin.  Lots to learn.
I think the book is well worth the price.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 22, 2011 - 1:42 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16195

Thanks for the tip. It's always hard to know in advance if the material is worthy or not. 

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Mouse
September 20, 2022 - 11:34 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 4324
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I am replying to this to make this old post from March 2011, started by Fiddlerman, visible. I thought some of you would be interested. It is beyond me, but others of you might be interested. 

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