Renew With Review

Think about the word “review”. It doesn’t sound as fun and exciting as the word “new”. It sounds like maintenance, which sounds like cleaning toilets. But review can be a lot more fun than cleaning toilets (unless you are a fully enlightened being who has learned to equally love every single activity in each moment of life).

Here’s why review is important:

  • It’s fun.
  • It will give you confidence.
  • You can deeper into tunes and techniques.
  • It will improve your daily process of practice.
  • The process of reviewing your fiddle practice can carry over to other aspects of your life.

I’ve been thinking about the process of review a lot recently. We take in so much information, but how much do we remember? When does it become knowledge? I think it’s important to curate things we want to maintain. A cliché that says the same thing: Use it or lose it.

So I recently updated this article (July 24, 2020). I added links (lower on the page) to newer articles that relate to this. And in a way, this process of re-posting is a way to review ideas we’ve absorbed and build on them. So when you review a tune, pay attention to how it’s different. What new things can you apply? What new things can you learn from it?

Some strategies to help you review:

  • Fingerprinting
    • Review sets
  • Audiation

The main point: Keep track of tunes you’ve learned and review the ones you really care about.

Review can be a lot of FUN.

And fun is not over-rated. Once you start remembering older tunes you can have a good time simply playing through them. A fun way approach to review is to play a single drone and then play all the tunes that use that drone, regardless of style or scale type. For instance, if you’re practicing with a D drone, then you can practice Shady Grove (song in D minor), Arkansas Traveller (reel in D major), Tobin’s Jig (jig in D major) and Hava Negilah (klezmer tune).

I created a tool to guide you in this engaging form of practice: Tunes listed by root note.

Reviewing tunes will make you give you confidence.

If you go back to the first tunes you learned you’ll be surprised at how much better you sound. You’ll feel good about what you’ve accomplished. This will give you the confidence to learn newer, more challenging things. Record yourself {link} on a weekly or monthly basis. Then you can compare how you sound now to how you sounded back then. And you can look forward to sounding better in the future.

Read the article: Developing Confidence

Review your process. 

  • For how long do you practice?
  • How consistent are you on a day-to-day basis?
  • How productive is your daily practice? Do you only practice things that are easy? Or do you tend to always practice things that are way too hard for you? How can you find a good balance?
  • How much do you enjoy practicing?
  • Do you practice even when you don’t enjoy it? How does that go?

Regularly ask yourself these questions and bring awareness to how you practice. Keep a practice journal, either in a paper notebook or an online journal. When done reading this article, take a moment to answer these questions in the workbook below.

Review your life, renew your life.

The process of reviewing tunes and techniques can be used to review other things in your life. Similar to the master tune list, you could list all the important relationships in your life. How are they? What could you do to improve each one? What things are out of your control? Some other areas you could review:

  • Your work process
  • Media you’ve consumed
    • Keep a list of finished books, podcasts, tv shows
  • Habits, good and bad
    • Eating
    • Exercise
    • Recurring thoughts and emotions

If you take the time to review all your life processes, you can make better use of your time and energy. This is the good life!

Practicing review

If you haven’t already done so, create a master list of tunes and techniques. Write down everything you’ve learned. I like to simply list tunes and techniques that I’ve learned. You can add more information (date learned, categories) if you like or keep it simple. Learn more in this lesson: How to track your practice.

When should you review? Pick one or all of the following review points:

    • Daily review. Briefly run through all the things you’ve learned and practiced today.
    • Weekly review. Review everything you learned and practiced this week. If you’ve learned a lot then this process may take a full session of practice (20-30 minutes). If you consistently practiced the same thing every day, then the weekly review may not be necessary.
    • Monthly review. Take a day or two to review things you learned in the past month.
    • Yearly review. I recommend taking at least a week to practice everything you’ve learned in the past year.

Further study

Want to go learn more about the good process of review? Good! Just take these lessons:

Finally, now that you’ve read this article, take a minute to review what you’ve read. Like Yogi Berra says, “it’s like deja vu all over again”. By the way, “Deja vu” is French for Deja vu. I could continue this way for another few minutes, but the humor app I have installed on my computer has optimized this joke to be exactly this long.

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6 responses to “Renew With Review

  1. Hey Jason,

    Ran into a busy week, this one. But pretty much practice every day, sometimes multiple times. I am a full-time caregiver for my wife, with hired help. Most time she will enjoy my scales or melodic rhythms, while I feed her dinner. The fiddle has become a large part of my life. I love learning the chords; learning to play in tune; working on tone. I have recently found a local place where there may be jams. Shortly, I will garner the courage to hiire someone to watch my dear one, while I go make a fool of myself. When do I renew my annual lessons?

    Owen O’Malley

    1. Hey Owen,

      Your yearly membership ends on November 28, 2018. And you should be notified before it expires.

      It is a true blessing to give the gift of our music to our loved ones. I am happy to hear your life, and the lives around you, are benefiting from the joys of the fiddle.

      Thank you for being apart of FiddleHed!