When practicing something difficult, see if you can break it down into a series of small, intermediate steps.
I’ve been learning bluegrass solos from a book by a great fiddler named Annie Staninec. It’s been fun and challenging. It’s good because I feel like I’m working at the edge of ability.
I’m currently working on the “Banks of the Ohio” solo by Paul Shelasky (with Blue & Lonesome). I’m feeling challenged by some of the double stops. In particular, I just can’t play the D4A2 double stop in tune yet. This happens a few times in the tune. 🤯
I’m trying to practice what I preach and use the micro-practice process. I realized that the first three double stops are not as challenging for me. It’s going from D1A0 to A2D4 that’s beating me up. So I concentrate my practice energy and time on that one transition:
To solve this particular musical problem, I broke the “target phrase” into a few intermediate steps. I work on each intermediate step and then try to play the whole target phrase.
I’m also cheating a bit by sliding into A2. I have faith that once I master this, I won’t need the cheat. As long as I’m aware of what I’m doing than it won’t become a crutch.
It’s a bit frustrating to not be able to do it easily. But I know that if I invest the time in this now, I’ll better be able to do this particular double stop when it arises again.
Are you ready to begin your fiddle journey? I’ll send you some free lessons tailored to your current skill level.
Here’s the solo I’m learning.
- Work At Your Edge
- The Hardest Part
- Micro And Macro Practice Strategies
- How To Practice Fiddling
Special thanks to Annie for permission to mention her book…and for writing it.
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