This year we had 305 practicipants sign up for the Fall Practice Challenge 2022! I am so proud of all of you who did this. The comments had me on the verge of tears (the good kind). It’s like you guys have become fiddle teachers. I pasted a few highlights below, followed by my comments with further learning links.
I was successful in the challenge in that I played everyday and I really improved. I prioritized my music practice to be first thing in the day instead of waiting till the end of the day. Often at the end of the day I have a hard time sitting down and getting to my instruments. By playing first thing I actually got it done every day and played much much longer. -Joe Ann
Simply playing every day is the single most important thing to do as a music student. It takes self-awareness to really establish a practice habit. Joe Ann learned the importance of finding the right time and place to practice. Learn more: The Practice Challenge of Fiddling
I’ve just finished my 2022 FPC, and I’m feeling very satisfied with the noticeable accomplishments. (Added on two additional days to compensate for a funeral.) The most notable lesson from this FPC is the effectiveness of Jason’s Deliberate Practice approach. I set my timer to 5 minute focused segments with great success. -cbFidHed2020
It’s great that you added extra days to make up for days you knew you would miss. I’m glad to hear that the deliberate practice strategies are useful! Learn more here: Fiddling With Deliberate Practice
I successfully completed my October practice challenge and feel I did definitely notice some improvement in my playing. Listening to drones made me appreciate each tone a lot more. I now like to play the scale for each song I start to practice. -Karyn
Practicing with drones is magical. Like Karyn says, they help us relax and play with better tone. Drones are also a great way to play in tune and experiment with improvising. Learn more Using Drones to Create Epic Practice Sessions and Alternate between a tune and its scale
This is the second time I’ve participated and it’s great!! It gets me back on track after I drift away. Life can be complicated, especially summers, and this has served a much needed reset. I used the practice period to nail down six tunes I had learned. These were tunes I could play it if I heard the tune, but nothing would come to mind when I set out to play it. I focused on memorizing the beginning of a tune, and every day I just worked on simply strengthening my recall and performance. So now I am thrilled to have six new tunes “in the can,” that I can bring to a jam. -Blueiiris
Blueiiris practiced retireval of fiddle tunes. As we learn more tunes, it becomes super-important to maintain the tunes we’ve already learned. Here’s a lesson on that: How To Remember Fiddle Tunes
Loved the FPC! I’ve been doing these for the past few years and always enjoyed them. I met my goals in unexpected and rewarding ways. Moving forward, I plan to use deliberate practice, chaining, scales, and other learning strategies to learn new songs. -Cindy
1. Some California fiddler friends came to town and we got together and jammed every evening for 2 to 3 hours. I played my mandolin, but practiced the pentatonic scales in the common keys we played in: G, D, A, C, and Bb. Yep, even Bb. So my time on instrument goals were definitely met.
2. I played with another jam group that was asked to play at a YMCA Senior Expo….again, I played my mandolin. Too many fiddlers already there! Again, had an opportunity to play the pentatonic scales in those keys and work on songs and scales. Loads of fun and lots of music.
3. After the guests left for California, I got back on my fiddle and worked through Jason’s rhythm workshop, which was challenging but very interesting.
4. Before we went our separate ways, three of us fiddlers created a challenge for ourselves. We each picked a song we want to learn by ear, one that will challenge us. Each of us will learn all three songs. Fiddler #1 picked Bees Wings in Bb; Fiddler #2 picked Booth (Sawmill tuning); and I picked Tam Lin (Dm to learn the string crossings). We will check in monthly via a Zoom meet to check our progress. We’ll meet in person next April to spend a week jamming once again. I plan to use deliberate practice, chaining, scales, and other learning strategies to learn these three songs. Jason’s video on bowing rhythms will also come in handy here.
A successful FPC overall, with some unexpected musical fun and challenges along the way — and some directions to go forward. I must say it was more fun playing with others than sitting here at home and playing by myself.
I like that Cindy came away from this with new goals and projects. Here’s one of the tunes she’s going to learn:
Well, this challenge went by fast!! I was able to play at least 45 minutes a day, which usually ended up to be over an hour and a half. My goal was partially met… I spent most of my time working on memory and lightening up my fingering. I am more focused and ready to continue on my daily playing. Thank you for this Jason… it has been a good two weeks! -Patty
The best thing about this challenge for me was getting back on track after a scattered summer… I am more focused and ready to continue on my daily playing. Thank you for this, Jason… it has been a good two weeks!
Mostly I’ve kept my promises to myself during this practice-fest. I even went far beyond the twenty minutes a day. -Margaret
These comments from Mary and Margaret demonstrate the principal behind the Two-minute rule. Set a minimal daily practice goal. Most people will naturally go beyond that goal. Learn more: The Two-Minute Rule
Yay! I made it through the Practice Challenge and I played every day! Most days were 60 minutes or more, a couple days were only 30 minutes. I met my goal of knowing 3 songs from memory and then I moved on to learn Whiskey Before Breakfast. I also worked with a metronome and it was a frustrating experience. I couldn’t hear it very well and I wasn’t sure if I was in time or not. That needs a lot more practice. Thank you Jason for having the FPC and for all of your emails and nudges! -Lukidog
Okay. Time for some honesty here. I bit off more than I could chew with my FPC goals:
I ended up just focusing on the steady speed goal. Lots and lots of practice with metronome with D scale and one tune – Arkansas Traveler (which I now officially hate). I had many issues – not being able to hear the metronome over the fiddle sound. So I muted the fiddle. But that sounded odd. None of my many exterior speaker devices wanted to pair with my phone or my computer. More frustration.
I was nearly at the point of tears. The first time in my fiddle journey!
I said, “Forget this. I like playing the fiddle. I’m playing something for myself.” So I played by ear all the songs we sang at church this morning. The first time through none of them were perfect but after a couple passes I could play them. That’s an accomplishment in my book.
So, for now, I’m going to forget Arkansas Traveler and the metronome. I MAY come back to it later when my artist heart is feeling more secure.
I did play every day more than the 30 minutes.
I’m proud of Lukidog and Mary for sticking with it in the face of frustration. Playing at a steady tempo on a whole tune is HARD. You have to independently develop that skill. Start with single notes, then intervals, scales, and tune phrases.
Next time you try Arkansas Traveler, just play the first four notes with a metronome. If you work incrementally, you will eventually succeed. Further learning: How to Improve Your Timing With A Metronome & Playing At A Steady Tempo Workshop
I became a FiddleHed early this year, so this was only my second Practice Challenge – and I loved it! I’m coming up on my first year of learning fiddle, so while I’m a uber-newbie, it’s given me a chance to actually use the ear-training skills I learned as a Music major (literally 50yrs ago!), but then didn’t use once in my marketing career (for some reason, lol!). Anyway, the 2022 FPC has helped me strengthen my ear-training even further, along with a solid comfort level using 4th finger. I didn’t spend as much time as I had planned on increasing my speed on some pieces, but I’ll keep that high up in my goals and my practice. -Pete
Part of what makes this a true challenge is the struggle. Learning to deal with those times when we don’t reach our goals. Remember, instead of saying “I can’t do it,” say “I can’t do it yet.” Learn more: Fiddling With A Growth Mindset
Flying fiddle sticks everyday! Sticking with it is what I’m working on…ear training, listening, bowing, and trying to remember…it will be a forever process for me, part of bringing joy into every day! -Alice
My entire goal as a teacher is for students to enjoy making music on a daily basis. If you learn to practice well, then you immediately reach the goal.
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