Play Every Thing Twice

A good rule of thumb is to play everything at least twice on the fiddle: scales, exercises, melodic phrases, and full tunes.

Notice what happens the second time through

  • Do your hands relax a bit?
  • Can you listen more closely to what you’re playing?
  • Does the mind relax? Can you move from thinking to playing? Does that piece you’re practicing flow a bit more?
  • How does the experience change on an emotional level? Do you feel less resistance to the fiddle as you play?

Keep going

The Play Everything Twice rule doesn’t mean you stop after playing it twice. It’s just a handy way to train your mind to go deeper with things, and to not immediately jump to the next thing. In this way it’s similar to the The Two-Minute Rule

If you play something twice, you may discover something you had previously missed. You can then take this opportunity to more deeply learn that little piece.

Fiddle tunes do this already

Most fiddle tunes have built-in repetition. You play the A part twice and then the B part twice.
There’s often additional repetition within each part. Notice that every phrase in Kerry Polka is repeated at least once (repeated phrases are color-coded):
In this case, the repetition is separated by other phrases.


You can do something similar with any exercise or practice chunk. Play it two or more times, then practice something else. Then return to that thing and play it twice. This process is called “Interleaving”. Interleaving allows the brain to work on problems while doing something else.

Learn more here: Mix Up Your Music Practice With Interleaving

Go fiddle with it

Follow the lead of the tunes you’re learning and make Play Everything Twice an automated process. Once this good practice habit is established, make your sessions will automatically be more fun and productive…

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4 responses to “Play Every Thing Twice

  1. I usually play most things more than twice but I do find that sometimes I’ll end up getting careless if I repeat too often and start making mistakes. I’m not sure why. Lately I was travelling in Scotland in my Motorhome with my sister and she brought her guitar along. Then I could play many repeats without a mistake which means that playing with someone else really helps!? ( I had just seen your video about students uploading themselves playing and I really wanted to video us by Loch Ness practicing! But it rained when we were going to do it and the lighting in the Motorhome wasn’t too good! Maybe next time!)