Even as a beginner, you can make music.

What we will do in this lesson:

  • Practice alternating between strings with plucking.
  • Play a game of call-and-response to learn a cool new rhythm called peri-diddle.
  • Make music together by playing beginner duets. 

In the video lesson, I’ll show you a pattern called ‘peri-diddle’. We will learn it by playing a game of Call-and-response. I’ll play something and then leave you a space to play it back. I’ll start with little bits and then put those little bits together to make bigger bits.  Eventually, you’ll have the whole pattern.

We’ll use this method of incremental learning throughout the course. In this way, you can easily learn things that are both long and complex because you start with very simple pieces.

We first learn peri-diddle going from D to A string. Notice how the second part is the inverse of the first:


Another way to write this is with tabs. ‘D0’ refers to the open D string and ‘A0’ refers to the open A string. Notice that I only indicate a letter when the string changes:

D to A peri-diddle: D0-0-A0-D0 | A0-0-D0-A0

Next, practice this on the other string pairs:

G to D peri-diddle: G0-0-D0-G0 | D0-0-G0-D0

A to E peri-diddle: A0-0-E0-A0 | E0-0-A0-E0

Once you get the basic idea, practice it daily with the play-along tracks. If you run the pattern a hundred times a day, then in ten days you’ll be a master! You can also practice this at your own pace using this D drone track:

D Drone

Think of peri-diddle as a little song. If you can learn peri-diddle (which is tricky), then you can learn anything. We will use this same incremental approach to learn longer, more complex tunes.

Try to enjoy the sound as you steadily play this. It may sound obvious, but if you can make these little exercises sound good, then you transform exercises into music. 

Beginner duets

Here are some beginner duets I arranged for you. This will give you the immediate experience of making music.

In each track, you’ll hear me start by playing your part which is a second fiddle part. After the first repetition, you will continue to play the second fiddle part, while I will switch to the melody. Eventually, you’ll learn the melody. Not only is this fun in the immediate moment, but you will learn these melodies more easily when we get to them.

Below each play-along track are tabs which tell you what notes to play. Unlike written music, they don’t tell you how long to hold each note. For that, you have to carefully listen to each track. I’ll also offer some hints.

The letter indicates what string to use, and the number indicates what finger to use. The number “0” indicates an open string. Note how repeated phrases and parts are the same color.

After you have learned and memorized your part of the duet, keep playing it with the play-along track until you can hear both yourself and the melody part together.

Peri-diddle Duet

D0-0-A0-D0 | A0-0-D0-A0

Remember, you don’t have to wait for years to make music. You can start right now. If you’re able to play the peri-diddle duet, then try the other duets below. 

Bile ’em Cabbage Down Duet

Note: this entire tune follows the tucka pattern.





Kerry Polka Duet

D0-G0-0-0 | D0-G0-0-0 |

G0-D0  | D0-G0-0-0

Notice that G0-D0 are two longer notes (called half notes) and the notes in the first line are shorter (called quarter notes.)

D0-G0-0-0  | D0-G0-0-0 |

G0  D0  | D0-G0-0

Fais Do Do Duet

D0-0-0-0 | G0-0-0-D0-0

This starts with the ‘Long-short’ rhythm. G0-0-0 is a triplet and so it’s counted 1-2-3.

D0-0-0-0 | A0-0-0-D0

Soldier’s Joy

Note: this entire tune follows the hoedown pattern: LONG-short-short.

D0-0-0 0-0-0 | G0-0-0 0-0-0

D0-0-0 0-0-0 | A0-0-0 0-0-0

D0-0-0 0-0-0 | G0-0-0 0-0-0

D0-0-0 A0-0-0 | D0-0-0 0-0-0

Fairy Dance


A part


D0-0-0-0 | D0-0-A0-0

D0-0-G0-0 | A0-0-D0-0

B part

D0-0-G0-0 | G0-0-A0-0

D0-0-G0-0 | A0-0-D0-0

There are two parts, A and B which are repeated. Notice, that the second half of each is the same. I’ll coach you in the play-along track, letting you know what’s next. 

Have fun with these duets!

In the next series of lesson, we’ll learn:

  • How to hold and use the bow
  • String crossing patterns

To continue with the Start Fiddling Now lessons, you’ll need to sign up for a Trial Membership below.

This gives you access to the lessons on form, technique, tunes and exercises. Everything you need to get up and running on the fiddle.

In addition to that, I’ll email you lessons on how to make learning fun and productive. I will also help you to overcome the physical, emotional and practice challenges that arise when learning an instrument.

If you know you want to sign up for a paid membership, then click here.

Thanks for practicing ?


Previous lessons

9 responses to “Let’s Make Music

  1. somehow got baffled in Soldier’s Joy and Fairy Dream on what I hear vs what I see on the noted D0/A0/G0 guide, re: rhythms.
    Are all the tunes, even these simple things in sheet music too?
    Still finding my way around here. Feel free to ignore a few days as I look around. I’ll re comment if I find it or figure it out.
    Helpful for me to note it here.
    Yes I am talking to myself again because it helps.

  2. Hi there! Really enjoying the course; what you’ve done here is amazing! I think the recording under Fairy Dance is actually a recording of Fais Do Do Duet. Would love to try out Fairy Dance; please upload. Thanks!

    – Roma

  3. My 11 year old son who is all sports no music was mesmerized by this and wanted to try it. So, I showed him the strings, gave him instruction and off he went. I could tell by his face he enjoyed the beautiful sound he was making, I might make a musician out of him yet!

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