Office Hours with Jason / August 2023
I need a plan for improving Call & Response
- If it’s hard to learn the full “call” then slowly learn each note. Keep rewinding the track and listening.
- It’s a painstaking process at first. But it’s a good way to develop the skill of playing by ear.
- Another idea is to download the track and import into tempo adjust app like ASD.
- Try to sing the call instead of playing it. The goal is to develop a mental model.
- Sue says
- it’s a lot of work to learn a tune
- sing the tune
- uses a recorder and slows it down
- what app do you use?
- it’s a lot of work to learn a tune
- Tom says
- there are apps that tell you if you’re wrong
- how much looking at tuner
- Pete says:
- To Tom’s question, I’d say it helps to learn the intervals in a scale – major second, minor third, etc. – and then just let them sink in through lots of practice. Figuring out melodies in your head can also help (ie, converting a favorite Beatles song or whatever it might be) to sheet music in your mind.
- Associate intervals with a song
- The tonedear.com website, free, just identifying intervals by ear, helped me a lot. Just a few minutes at night while I fall asleep. Then, listen for intervals in tunes.
Can you give me some tips for navigating my way through jam sessions?
- On the first rotation of a song at a jam/session, just listen…
- Learn simple chords
- Practice ear-training with call-and-response tracks and other apps like Tonedear.
- Ask people in advance what tunes are played. If you don’t have time to learn any of them, just make a playlist and listen.
- Play a long-term game.
- Record the session. Then listen to it later.
- Try to learn at least one song
- Tom says 2 types of jams
- everyone has ipads
- no one has any sheet music
It’s challenging to go from low second to third finger on the G string. What can I do?
- Bring the elbow in
- If it’s still difficult or painful, then try using the 4th finger. GL2-4 instead of GL2-3.
- This is a link to a free pdf of a book of wrist, hand and finger exercises for viloinists: https://ia902607.us.archive.org/19/items/wardjacksonsgymn00warduoft/wardjacksonsgymn00warduoft.pdf
What strings do you use? How do you choose?
- Dominant G, D, A. Pirastro E.
- Learn more here: Recommended Fiddle Gear
How do I keep myself motivated to practice? Does the two-minute rule really work?
- Obviously, I haven’t tried it. I am hard on myself – it’s 30 minutes or nothing!
- The two-minute rule trains you to do it every day.
- But in order to succeed, you eventually need to practice more.
- I suggest 20-25 minute sessions followed by a break. You can get a lot done in that time.
- Learn more here: The Practice Challenge of Fiddling
I’m having trouble getting back into the rhythm of playing after having a month with very little practice time
- Find a skill that you previously learned and put it back on the workbench.
- This helps you get over the intermediate blues. [[The Ultimate Intermediate Pitfall]]
How tight or loose should I have my bow, and any suggestions on rosin?
Any more ideas for playing faster on tunes?
- In general, am now in the 120 – 130 bpm range but would really like to be in the 150 -160 bpm (where quarter note = 1 beat)
- Record yourself playing with a metronome at your fastest speed.
- Listen back. Where do you stumble.
- Isolate those hard parts, then speed them up past the target tempo.
- So if your goal is 150 bpm, try to get these to 160 bpm.
- Speed up scales past your target
- Aim to go much further with this. If your target for a tune is 150 bpm, then speed up the scale to 180-200 bpm.
- Play the tune extremely slow with metronome. This is the Jedi Knight way to play faster.
What would be a good daily practice to better develop Accompaniment and Improvisation?
- Learn and master D, G, A chords.
- Then learn and play backup on 20 songs that only use those chords.
- This trains you in the basic practice of backup.
- After that, it will be easier to add other chords and more complex progressions.
- Solos for jams and open mic?
- Learn the melody of a song
- Then fiddle with the melody. Add variations, compress or expand the melody, fill the spaces.
- Start by composing solos.
- Record then listen.
- Repeat this process, refining your ideas after each pass.
Here’s the chat from the office hours. Some students chimed in with answers and ideas that weren’t in the video or outline.
00:01:48 jason kleinberg: What are your fiddle and music questions?
00:02:28 tom: I need a plan for improving Call & Response
00:03:25 Rahma Krambo: I attended a newly formed fiddle jam group this past weekend–3 violins, 2 guitars and a banjo. No one but me brought sheet music. LOL.
I’m just learning a few basic chords but it all went by so fast, and I mostly faked it. Even so it was fun. They were all encouraging. But I was hoping you could give me some tips for navigating my way through the next session.
00:04:07 Sue Bates: I do have a challenge Spacing between L2 and 3 on G mostly but also have trouble on other strings. are there exercises I can d
00:05:09 Julie Smutzer: What strings do you use? How do you choose?
00:06:00 Mary Carignan: Can’t get my video up, but I’ll keep trying. Question: How do I keep myself motivated to practice, does the 2 minute play everyday really work? Obviously, I haven’t tried it. I am hard on myself – it’s 30 minutes or nothing!
00:06:15 Patty Peterson: Just having trouble getting back into the rhythm of playing after having a month with very little practice time (sickness, company, travel….etc.)
00:06:25 Linda Ball: How tight or loose should I have my bow, and any suggestions on rosin?
00:06:46 Terri Marsico: Any more ideas for playing faster? In general, am now in the 120 – 130 bpm range but would really like to be in the 150 -160 bpm (where quarter note = 1 beat)
00:08:54 Berri-Lynn: What is the best daily practice for improvisation and accompanying for jams and open mic?
00:17:44 Pete Healy: To Tom’s question, I’d say it helps to learn the intervals in a scale – major second, minor third, etc. – and then just let them sink in through lots of practice. Figuring out melodies in your head can also help (ie, converting a favorite Beatles song or whatever it might be) to sheet music in your mind.
00:18:05 Carolyn B: The tonedear.com website, free, just identifying intervals by ear, helped me a lot. Just a few minutes at night while I fall asleep. Then, listen for intervals in tunes.
00:20:21 Terri Marsico: Tunes are tougher for me to learn by ear
00:21:30 Carolyn B: At first, your C n R were hard for me, now they’re easy. Time and practice. Ear gets better.
00:27:08 Terri Marsico: On the first rotation of a song at a jam/session, just listen…
00:30:18 Terri Marsico: Also, kind of a cheat, but you can read a guitarist’s hand and know what chord to play
00:31:03 Benno giannone: Re Call & response… I really like, even tho I play & replay over & over. I like to stretch!
00:33:54 Carolyn B: Jam, I practice very simple known tunes to call myself and play lead with confidence. (Leave the fancy stuff alone unless you’ve really nailed it.) Call songs everyone knows and you’ll be a star! Backup, I play double stops when confident, single long notes when appropriate or when tune is cryptic. Arpeggios for slow, lovely waltzes. Never enough fiddlers! They want us and will be very tolerant! Ear is good, iPads are usually welcome.
00:34:30 Terri Marsico: Reacted to “Jam, I practice very…” with 🙂
00:36:40 jason kleinberg: Reacted to “Re Call & response… …” with ❤️
00:37:03 Terri Marsico: This is a link to a free pdf of a book of wrist, hand and finger exercises for viloinists: https://ia902607.us.archive.org/19/items/wardjacksonsgymn00warduoft/wardjacksonsgymn00warduoft.pdf
00:38:37 Rahma Krambo: I love Dominant strings as well; with Piastro or Heliocore E string
00:39:05 Carolyn B: Vision strings
00:39:58 Terri Marsico: For fiddle music, so far, I like Helicore Medium or Light tension strings. They seem more responsive than the Preludes or the Larsens that I’ve tried.
00:41:09 Iona: Reacted to “Jam, I practice ve…” with 👍
00:42:54 Julie Smutzer: Reacted to “I love Dominant stri…” with 👍
00:42:59 Julie Smutzer: Reacted to “Vision strings” with 👍
00:43:07 Julie Smutzer: Reacted to “For fiddle music, so…” with 👍
00:43:37 Pete Healy: Reacted to “For fiddle music, so…” with 👍
00:43:52 Pete Healy: Reacted to “This is a link to a …” with 👍
00:46:12 Iona: Patty Peterson, what was said about just play for fun. Tunes that you have done the lesson for, and really enjoyed. This is good to do when you don’t feel like starting a new lesson.
00:47:57 jason kleinberg: Hindersine
00:48:24 Pete Healy: Re bow tightness, for me in Northern KY, it also depends on the humidity and other weather factors.
00:50:05 Berri-Lynn: What would be a good daily practice to better develop accompaniment and solos for jams and open mic?
00:53:14 Terri Marsico: Thanks very much 🙂🎻
00:54:54 Berri-Lynn: Yes please
00:55:37 Carolyn B: Jason’s double stop chord progression practice loops are amazing and effective!!
00:55:51 Terri Marsico: Reacted to “Jason’s double stop …” with 🙂
00:56:56 Berri-Lynn: Thank you
00:57:42 Terri Marsico: That book was written by a guy who played as a child, quit for decades and then wanted to play again
00:57:59 Carolyn B: Thank you for that composed solo info Jason!
00:58:01 Terri Marsico: Yes, 4 PM meeting on this end, great discussion, thank-you very much!
00:59:15 Rahma Krambo: Reacted to “Jam, I practice very…” with 👍
01:02:10 debbie: Thanks!
01:02:14 Patty Peterson: Thank you Jason!
01:02:21 Carolyn B: Thank you Jason!
01:02:21 Darcy’s iPad (2): Thanks 😊
01:02:22 Sue Bates: thank you
01:02:23 Rahma Krambo: Lots of great ideas. Thanks!