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So I have a friend who plays in a band locally. He is very musically inclined and can grab almost any instrument and just play. He never practices or uses sheet music or anything like that. He plays the violin mostly and I always say I'm going to come out and see him play but never do. I finally went out to the bar last night and watched him and his buddy play (the entire band wasn't playing) and they would switch off between guitar, violin, and piano.
The bar wasn't very packed but man was it an experience watching them. At one point my alcohol indulged self said "I got backup on violin" and they called me out. Needless to say I know nothing about anything and didn't know what to do. I was standing on stage, plugged in on a violin I've never touched, had been drinking, and quite frankly scared as hell. He said just play D and G. I didn't know if he meant the scale, or chords, or what the heck he meant. So I played backup to them playing just one little arpeggio (3 notes lol) the entire time. It was pretty pathetic but at least I contributed. At the end they didn't pull the violin from my hands and there was complete silence as they decided what to play next. I took this as my cue to jump into Swallowtail Jig and rocked it! My friend went from, "eh you can't play" to "holy crap you know what you are doing." It felt really great. We had a huge conversation on arpeggio's and he said he plays the entire night just running through them. After he told me this I watched him play and he was right, everyone else thought he was playing amazing songs he had memorized and all I could see him do was playing arpeggio's and holding on whatever note he felt like at the time.
I learned sooooo much last night it's not even funny. I realized that I can back up a band now if I learn them. It seems like it is a (not so) hidden secret for violinists/fiddlers but I never cared about practicing or learning them. I feel like last night lifted the veil from my eyes and now I'm going to be someone who can improvise anything in no time at all. My passion for the violin was cemented last night. I overcame a fear of standing on stage knowing nothing. If I can get some practice in the next few weeks with arpeggio's I'll yell out again, only this time maybe I'll know what I'm doing!!! Anyways, long post but I'm very excited.
@Fiddlerman You'll have to let me know what Cecilio's you have in stock, I'm definitely getting one now.
great post! I wish I had been there to hear it . It is definitely a rush to jam with a band and I have put down my guitar and picked up my violin on a few songs now, using fiddlermans Blues jamming tricks. I am afraid to tell you this: its addictive and I can tell you are hooked.
"Make every note beautiful", Ivan Galamian
“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!” , Ludvig Van Beethovan
"It ain't rocket surgery"
That is a pretty exciting story @Hman ! Sure wish I could do that...but alas...I'm pretty sure if I had just 2 drinks, my fiddle playing would suffer! But, I guess if you're revved up and in the moment, (and can handle your liquor better than I, lol) perhaps it is a benefit! haha. Anyway I'm so glad you had that experience and may there be many more!
on arpeggios and jamming along - I have a book by Gordon Stobbe, and that is exactly what he says, and why is so important to learn your scales, as most of improv skills are just that.
What I don't know is, what if you can't tell what scale by ear? or more specifically, if you can't tell what key the song is in from ear? (I couldn't.) Someone would have to tell you? Maybe that is why a guy I know, who plays harmonica at the local blues jam, informed me that the other players tell him what key, which one to use.
Anyway, great going, what inspiration!
Thanks for the kind support! Sorry I've been afk for the past week. It's my first week of teaching at the college level so I've been so busy. I haven't even played the fiddle all week. Anyways, @Helvetika and @KindaScratchy, what these guys do is they have an app on a small 7" tablet that is by the mic. They have hundreds of songs on the app that have guitar tabs, lyrics, etc. My friend doesn't need it like the other guys do. All he does is glance at the song they pick to see what key or chord it's in and then he's set. So it's okay if you cheat just a little.
A tablet by the mic .... Guess that's 'new school'. I have been going to the local blues jam on Saturdays for years, and I sit up by the stage. No one uses a tablet or tells any of the players what key the song is in (except for my friend with the harmonica who has no clue & he's not a regular), but then its all the same guys, pretty much, and all the same songs; and most of them are in bands too....there's been a few who I watched grow up on stage that have now obtained a certain level of fame. like the Sheepdogs for one.
But technology also has rewards for musician's, that's for sure! There's an app for everything!