Improve Your Fiddling Through Listening Practice
If you’re a fiddler, then you’re probably fairly familiar with the way that learning a new piece of music can feel like trying to keep your balance on a moving train. But if you want to really improve your fiddling skills and become a better performer, you don’t have to limit yourself to just playing live shows or jamming with friends. In fact, improving your musical self-awareness is an essential part of the process for any musician who wants better technique and more confidence when performing in front of others. Here are some ways to develop those skills…
Practice prompt: Listen-phony
Let’s do a music meditation to build musicality and nurture the joy of music.
- Set a timer for 2 minutes
- Close your eyes and listen to all sounds you hear
- You might notice your attention shifting between different sounds
- Some sounds may originate from you (sound of your breath, ear ringing, things you hear in your head)
- Notice if you start thinking about something else (this will probably happen)
- When you notice this thinking, just casually return to listening
This can be a good practice break. Especially if you’ve been doing some highly focused, deliberate practice. You can also do this any time of day as a way to practice without your instrument. Experiment with shorter and longer intervals.
Hear all the different sounds as a unique symphony that will never happen again. Realize that you’re a part of this great, ever-changing, eternal flow of music…
If you tried this, leave a comment below letting me know how it went 🙏
Really listening to yourself can help improve your playing.
Listening to yourself play is a crucial part of music practice. You need to listen carefully, so that you can correct any mistakes and improve your technique.
When you listen to yourself play, you should focus on what’s going right, as well as what isn’t going right. This will help keep your playing at its best.
Listening carefully will also help with developing performance skills such as confidence and stage presence.
Practice prompt 2: Listen to your own playing and a drone
- Play along the open D string with the drone above
- Shift your attention between the sound you make and the sound you hear
- Hear both at the same time
- Repeat the practice with D0-A0
- Repeat the practice with D Major scale: D0-1-2-3-A0-1-2-3 | E0-1-L2-3-4
- Repeat the practice with a phrase from a tune in D Major
Listen to new music
Listening to unfamiliar music will improve your musicality. Most people listen to the same songs over and over again.
Become a better musician when you listen to music you haven’t heard before. When you hear something new, it forces your brain to put together pieces of information that don’t fit together — like the way a new chord progression may sound different than what you’ve been used to hearing. This helps your brain build new neural pathways that can improve your overall musicality.
Listening to new music makes you a more flexible and adaptable thinker. Researchers at McGill University found that when people listened to unfamiliar music, they were better able to solve problems that required adaptation and flexibility than people who listened to familiar music. This suggests that listening to new types of music can help us become more adaptable thinkers in other areas of our lives as well!
Here are some things that you may have not heard to get you started:
- Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift’s album “1989”
- Tyler Childers “Long Violent History”
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