Fiddling with life and learning with the occasional dad joke thrown in...  


Slow And Fast Learning

It’s hard at first At first learning something new is slow and challenging. You’re building a network of neural connections. Like going to the gym, it can be painful and frustrating. I’ve been learning the Chop bowing. Every day I practice, and initially, it feels like I’m not improving at all. But then, something clicks—it … Continued

Ashokan Farewell | Call-and-response Fiddle Lesson

Let’s learn and practice Ashokan Farewell with call-and-response. This is a great way to develop your ear which will help you learn tunes more easily as well as play in jam sessions.  Learning steps First off, I have a full tutorial for the tune here. I’ll play a little Chunk, and then leave you … Continued

Super Cool Fiddle Sounds

Overview When I was a kid practicing violin, I’d sit in my room and make weird sounds like this…My Mom would yell at me from the other room, “Is that what you’re supposed to be doing?” No! I was supposed to be practicing classical pieces like Sarabande. Anyway, in this video, I’m going to do … Continued

Mini-Scale Fiddle Warmups {Short}

Overview In this lesson I’ll show you four “mini-scale” warmups to help you coordinate the hands, mind and ears. As you’ll see in the lesson, these can be adapted to practice whatever you need to practice, regardless of your skill level. There’s a lot of creative power in scales. If you tap into that, then … Continued

Mini-Scale Fiddle Warmups

Overview  Scales don’t have to be torture. In fact, a lot of my students devote whole practice sessions to scales because they know how to have fun with them. Here are some mini-scale warmups you can do with simple four and five note scales. They’ll help you coordinate the hands, mind and ears. Once you … Continued

Fiddling With Transposition

Overview Do you wonder, “What can I do to prepare for jam sessions?” The ability to transpose songs from one key to another is a superpower for playing with others. Especially singers, because they tend to sing songs in keys that match their voice (which might be D flat 🤯). Transposition helps you map the … Continued

Games and Routines for Group Practice

Are you struggling to practice every day? Do you feel like emotional challenges of doubt or frustration are getting in the way of a productive session? If so, consider forming an online practice group. Meeting on a regular basis can accelerate your progress and make the journey more fun. In this guide, I’m going to … Continued

Transforming Major Melodies Into Minor Keys

Overview You can reinvent major key songs like “Oh Susanna” by playing them in a minor key. This is a fun way to improve your mental map of scales, melodies and the fingerboard. Plus, it’s a creative practice which gets you into the mindset for improvisation. Learning Steps  Start by playing a  D Major scale … Continued

Improvising With Melodic Chunks

Did you know that you can deconstruct existing melodies to improvise and compose new tunes?   Further learning Learning Steps Listen to this Chunk of “The Wellerman”: D0-1-1-1-1-3-A1-1-1 Loop a smaller Chunk until it starts to sound like a riff: D1-1-1-1-3 Add a little slide on D1. Then transpose it to the A string: A1-1-1-1-3 … Continued

Practice Kentucky Waltz With Alternation Games

Did you know that you can have a musical conversation by playing the same thing two different ways?   Further learning Learning Steps Let’s play this game with the first Chunk of Kentucky Waltz. Continuously alternate between: • Sing Play • Scale Song • Chords Melody Play this alternation game on each Chunk of the … Continued