Parts, Fills And Solos Workshop

Hey there fiddler!

In this lesson we’ll learn how to play parts, fills and solos on the fiddle. We’ll practice with the tune Your Cheatin’ Heart.

This workshop is geared towards intermediate students, but I think beginners can also get something out of it.

Video replay

Prepare for the journey

Learn and practice Your Cheatin’ Heart.

Take this workshop to build a foundation for jamming: How To Play On Songs Workshop 1

Learn, review and practice these lessons:

I also recommend you do some call-and-response practice:


Full outline will be posted after the lesson…

C drone

Warm up

  • C major pentatonic and chord
  • F major pentatonic and chord
  • G major pentatonic and chord
  • D major pentatonic and chord


Practice each chord individually.

Practice transitions

  • C/F
  • F/G
  • G/C

Enjoy the sound of playing two chords.

Full verse progression:

C / C / F / F / G / G / C / C


We can create chords by breaking chords into arpeggios.

Create part with triad notes:

  • 1-3-5-3
  • 1-3-5-1
  • Root and fifth: 1-5
  • Root and third: 1-3


Alter the original phrase in these ways

  1. Re-order notes slightly
  2. Rhythmic variation
  3. Chord rhythms with slides
  4. Transpose up or down an octave (if possible)
  5. Don’t try to alter; you’ll naturally play it a bit differently


Simply string together fills to make solos!

Or play the melody and add little variations.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try to improvise with the scale.


What was challenging?

What did you learn? Try to put it into words.

How can you use this in your own practice?

Write down your thoughts below in either a comment or Your Practice Journal.

Let me know in a comment!

Your Cheatin' Heart Sheet music

A Travel Guide For Your Practice Journey

What the heck is a practice journey?

This is a practice session in which you focus on one thing, but integrate other things you’ve learned into the practice. You can take a journey on your own or with others. The process of alternating and returning to a focus point is known as Interleaving.

So if you’re practicing a tune you can integrate all these things into the session:

  • Play its scale
  • Work on bowing challenges
  • Transpose to a different scale or octave
  • Practice good sound: tuning, timing, tone or flow
  • Work on ear-training
  • Add variation
  • Create a set of tunes
  • Improvise

After each time you practice something on the list return, to the basic melody. This structure will help you to remember things you’ve learned. The spaced repetition strengthens neural connections. 🧠

Put this into practice on your own. Take a practice journey every time you play…

Learn more here: A Travel Guide For Your Practice Journey

If you enjoy the practice today, you’re more likely to do it tomorrow. Fun is not overrated.


Practice tracking

Do you have any suggestions that would make this better?

If so, please leave a comment below, or email Jason.


Leave a Reply

2 responses to “How To Play On Songs Workshop 2

  1. This was SOOO much fun and SOOO informative! Although I won’t join live for awhile due to work schedule, I am thankful for the archives (and for fellow fiddleheds pointing me in the right direction!) During Jams, I always wonder if I’m playing “too much” or over bearing, or too little.. or…or…y’all understand.
    At any rate, this gave me some pointers to carry over to other songs.. especially when someone is already singing lead.. no since in fiddle playing lead unless it’s during a break/solo/etc.
    Cheatin’ Heart is a rather slow song. I’m guessing that for faster songs, we can just do some rhythm to the I, IV and V chords of the given song. I’m learning to do a few “walk ups” (or downs) from one chord to the next. Such a fun journey! Thanks, Jason for your hard work, and thanks fellow fiddlers for the encouragement! 😀