Here’s a sweet Irish jig for you to learn and enjoy. I learned it from a Martin Hays recording called The Lonesome Touch.
Notice in the first quarter how we go straight up the D major scale starting on the sixth note. That’s why we play scales! If you can see the connection between the scales and the tunes then it will make the scales a lot more interesting and fun. Eventually, you’ll be able to hear the scales in the tunes.
Warm up with the D major scale and phrases from the tune (once you’ve learned it) using a D drone:
A part, first quarter
A part, first quarter: D2-2-2-1-0-2-3-A0-1-2-3
A part, second quarter
A part, second quarter:A0-0-1-0-D2-1-1-1-0-1
A part, third quarter
Third quarter: D2-2-2-1-0-2-3-A0-1-2-3
A part, fourth quarter
Centering on sound?
Let’s pause for a moment and pay attention to how we practice.
Just play an open D string.
Put your full intention into relaxing your body, breath, and mind.
Simply enjoy the sound.
Next, return to the D major scale, keeping that same good sound and relaxed feel you had on the open D until the scale sounds just as good.
Review the A part, keeping that same good sound and relaxed feel you had on D major scale until the tune sounds just as good.
Cool, now that you’ve centered yourself, let’s continue to learn this awesome tune. ??
B part, first quarter
B part, first quarter:A3-3-3-E0-1-A1-1-1-1-0-1
B part, second quarter
B part, second quarter: A3-3-3-E0-1-1-0-A3-E0-1
B part, third quarter
B part, third quarter: A3-3-3-E0-1-A1-1-1-3-1
B part, fourth quarter
B part, fourth quarter: A0-D2-A0-3-0-D2-1-2-1-0
Lessons complete in Module 1.4:
Other versions on Youtube
Here’s a practice routine to help make a tune sound better. You will be guided through scales and warmups using text and a video trainer.
Here is a quick way for you to access the essential practice tools you need. Under each tab you'll find play-along tracks, tabs and condensed teachings to help you as you practice. This is an evolving idea, so let me know in a comment below if it could be better.
Here's a newer version of the Notefinder which is based on sheet music. If you're interested in learning to read, this will be an invaluable reference. I'll be posting lessons on this in 2020.
Note: the brackets indicate notes that are the same pitch but spelled differently. For example, AH3 (D#) sounds the same as AL4 (Eb). Without going into too much teory detail here, this will be determined by the key of the tune or piece you are playing.
Here's he original table version of the Notefinder. Sometimes people learn in different ways...
Sawmill tuning Notefinder
This is used to find notes in Sawmill tuning (when the G string is tuned up to A and the D string is tuned up to E). If you're a beginner...best to ignore this! Learn more about sawmill tuning in the Appalachian Fiddle course.
Here are some common scales used in fiddle tunes. Each runs through a series of variations: two bows legato, two bows staccato, four bows, tucka (4 shorts, two longs), hoedown (1 long, two shorts), throwaway bow, triplets, tremolo.
G Major, starting on D3
Practice a tune with its scale (Kerry Polka is in G major, so practice a G major scale). Practice scales before, during and after practicing tunes.
Always return to a good sound, even if it means playing quarter notes on the D string. You can do this! You just have to remember to pause on practicing the challenging thing and just get a good sound on single notes.
Why do this? Because it will bring you deep joy. And it will build your confidence which will inspire further practice.