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How Often Do You Play Old Repertoire?
Enough to keep it fresh?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (10 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 14, 2022 - 4:46 pm
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How often do you go over your old repertoire to keep it fresh in your mind and fingers? 

I have tunes I played so much I thought I'd never forget them.  Now, it seems I haven't played them enough - many are slipping into the 'vaguely familiar' category! 

I'm guilty of only sitting down to play some of them a couple times this past year, leaving many more old tunes I don't want to forget. 

Seems such a waste, to potentially lose all the time and effort in learning really GREAT tunes! 

I did work out one practice set that easily used quite a few tunes - and it worked great, but doesn't help if I don't use it enough. 

When groups jam, don't they rotate old tunes to keep them fresh? 

How often do they recycle? 

A couple times a year is certainly not enough for me, so I've been mulling around some ideas on how to keep these old tunes of mine fresh.  But, I'm having trouble trying to decide, in general, how often I need to do this.  I can't have it take up so much of my time that it doesn't allow me to freely move forward with new music. 

🤔... taking time for experimenting and applying new, better skills to the old tunes - that interests me, so it's possibly good motivation. 

 

What tactics do YOU employ to keep tunes memorized? 

- Emily

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ABitRusty
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January 14, 2022 - 6:30 pm
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ELCBK said

"When groups jam, don't they rotate old tunes to keep them fresh? 

How often do they recycle? "

Im still very much a beginner at the group thing .. spread over a couple of years but if others are like what ive seen it depends on who shows up.  Luckily i also have fellow students working on same repetroire so between us we can call tunes familiar to each of us.   so that helps.   for our group class the rotation for new tunes seems to be about a year and coincides with a spring event we play.   after that new tunes are usually cycled in.  we...or at least i will try and uae the spring event list as tunes to call in the monthly session.  theres seems to be tunes common to everyone kesh, silver spear, out on the ocean...etc... id bet youd hear them in many sessions..no matter the city.   then there seems to be more deep catalog stuff that will show up.  usually by more advaced players.  thats how new stuff will find its way in i think.   as a beginner its important to get some of the common stuff then start adding ( talking about in a group setting).  

But if you never attend a setting like that i think you may have a little more to choose to concentrate on.  trying to memorize even if a good thing really isnt needed.  To be honest the session i go too doesnt frown on people looking up a tune online if they can play along that way.   i just would rather be able to not HAVE to do that on everything.  so if youre not playing with anyone else i wouldnt sweat memorizing evry single thing you try and play.

 

How often do you go over your old repertoire to keep it fresh in your mind and fingers?

I try to work them in often.   like at least every other time i pick up fiddle.   but my list of memorized tunes isnt that great yet so that is easy to do.

What tactics do YOU employ to keep tunes memorized?

for the trad stuff...talking tunes that are ..what 32 bars or so... you have to also listen alot to recordings and keep it fresh.  or think of a tune youve played and hum or whistle or something every once in a while even if you cant pick up the instrument and actually play it.  you can sorta work on the memorization part of practice away from the instrument that way.  but most of all you have to  practice stuff on the instrument you think youve memorized because theres always something you can do better with it.  speed or variations or ornaments.  so ill listen to music that i like to play and practice it even after some initial success in playing it. 

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ELCBK
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January 14, 2022 - 9:25 pm
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@ABitRusty -

Thanx! 

I hate the thought of it, but it's probably best if I comprise a physical list of everything I've played that's interesting enough to be worth remembering... for the long haul. 

Was thinking if I could group some in a meaningful/related manner - it would help me remember

I'd better organize them somehow, because I can only refresh so many a week - so, I have to figure what's feasible for one group at a time, maybe per week. 

...probably should figure how I'm going to organize them, first. 

 

 

Suppose it's not as bad as herding Cats. (lol) 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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January 15, 2022 - 12:51 pm
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Does learning to play a second voice, or back-up, for a tune help with memorizing? 

Because there's more you have associated with a tune? 

Or, does it make it harder - for the same reason? 

 

- Emily

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stringy
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January 15, 2022 - 3:13 pm
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Five different jigs or reels or whatever each night only takes about ten minutes,  thats thirty five a week, quite a set and you are playing them once a week so wont forget them, I just run through them once, with classical I dont do all the repeats, just run straight through, cuts the time down amazingly and still keeps the notes in the head. I think its more important to do scales, I have been managing to get in a bit of playing lately, spent four hours on scales yesterday, incredible for intonation.

Just learned a new one tonight. the book of rights. and I have also been doing maid behind the bar which I already play on banjo so its locked in the head. I find repetition is the only way to keep tunes in the mind.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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ABitRusty
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January 15, 2022 - 3:50 pm
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ELCBK said

Does learning to play a second voice, or back-up, for a tune help with memorizing? 

Because there's more you have associated with a tune? 

Or, does it make it harder - for the same reason? 

 

 

- Emily

  

im not sure about the second voice thing because thats not something im deliberate about.  practicing tune on a different instrument yes..that always helps.   i think knowing a tune well helps play backup for it.. as far as picking out chords or improvising melody lines...   im not sure about the other direction..i havent learned the chords first and then tried learning melody.. especially irish because chords vary so much..  they could be anything depending on who plays them.... bottom line for me is i think it all helps..  and the effort put into learning a tune/instrument translates to others so its not time wasted.   not always the most efficient route but they relate.

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ELCBK
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January 15, 2022 - 6:37 pm
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@stringy , @ABitRusty -

Thank you! 

Helps me narrow things down. 

I Wonder Emoticon

I've almost decided to rotate just 1 group of tunes per week... maybe 2 - think I need to play the same tunes at least a couple days in a row. 

If I played a new group every day it would take me at least a month to get thru everything anyway. 

Tough Decisions Emoticon

 

Haven't quite decided how to group them, yet - by type, genre, key, etc...  It might even keep me more on my toes if I really mix very different tunes together - but that may not help me keep them memorized.

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Ripton
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January 17, 2022 - 7:11 pm
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a 15-minute practice session I work 5 minutes on technique, 5 minutes on old songs and 5 minutes on a new tune. for a 30 minute session it 10 minutes technique, 10 minutes review and 10 minutes new, and so on. I finally got my rhythm back (no pun intended). 

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ELCBK
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January 18, 2022 - 1:01 am
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@Ripton -

I don't know how you do it! 

It takes me 15 minutes just to get warmed up to really start practicing. (lol)

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AndrewH
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January 18, 2022 - 2:34 am
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Maybe it's a little different for me because I spend months focusing on one or two pieces at a time in between orchestra commitments. I don't really maintain old pieces in my active, ready-to-perform repertoire, but every month or two I spend a whole practice session just playing through pieces I've learned in the past. I don't try to play them at performance quality, but the general idea is that, if I want to pick a piece up again and prepare it for performance, I should be able to do it in two or three weeks.

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Ripton
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January 18, 2022 - 7:32 pm
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ELCBK said
 

It takes me 15 minutes just to get warmed up to really start practicing. (lol)

  

@ELCBK what is your routine? One of my biggest challenges that slow me down and then lose interest is not having a good routine. I recently read a blog about this practice routine and tweaked it for my own needs. 1/3 1/3 1/3. Granted is kind of how my former instructor had me practice. I've decided to start a journal and keep track of what I'm doing and what I want to work more on. A warm-up would fit in nicely. 

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ELCBK
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January 19, 2022 - 1:12 am
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@Ripton - 

Thank You! 

Usually, the mention of 'routine' makes my brain shut down, but the whole purpose of my thread is to help me figure out a routine that would help ensure I don't forget ALL my tunes. 

Now, I have approximately 200 tunes I loved well enough to learn, most without sheet music - and they ALL need more work, so I'd like to keep them memorized. 

I just have to be careful a routine doesn't cause me too much undo stress, which would happen if I don't feel free to enjoy exploring boundaries with my fiddle.  I also need to be able to throw everything out the window to focus on something troublesome... and there's always new tune treasure found that needs to be looted - Argh!  

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/t/love-music-hearts-musical-notes-romantic-composition-30802769.jpg

I hate quitting practice after 15 minutes because it's usually where I'm seriously about to push myself to play better, while analyzing only a couple of current tunes.  So, 30 minutes of practice a day is like I'm just spinning my wheels.  Granted, if I run out of time for any reason, I usually pick up where I left off later in the day so I feel I accomplished something - usually at night when all I lose is sleep. (lol) 

- Emily

 

My main fiddling goal: is for me to be able to whip out my fiddle, anytime, anywhere, for whatever the mood strikes me to play for myself, and for/with friends and family - with no sheet music or anything else but rosin and a bow.  ...and I don't want to sound like I'm torturing my Cats. (lol)

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Ripton
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January 19, 2022 - 9:53 am
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When I work on old tunes my goal is to play a set of 5 to 10 tunes I know by heart. I should probably have one or two tunes on that list that i still need to use sheet music.  I have never counted the actual number of tunes I know, but as I add to my list of sets it will eventually show itself.  As time allows I will add additional sets to my daily practice, rotating the sets either daily or weekly. 

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Ripton
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January 19, 2022 - 9:55 am
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And yes, always wandering as a note played out of place usually sends me down a rabbit hole of many other tunes not in my set. Lolbunny_pole_dancer

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Fiddlerman
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January 20, 2022 - 2:30 pm
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Not often enough. :) Then again, I'm happy if I ever sit down by myself and practice. Those were the good old days, but I didn't know it. lol
It's great to do it though. Both new and old repertoire.

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

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