Intermediate Old-time tune in A Major


In this workshop, you’ll learn to make your practice fun and productive with a chunk from Bill Cheatham. The goal is to implement these strategies, teachings and games into your daily practice.

To do that I suggest you write each teaching on an index card. The cards can act as reminders or prompts.


This is part of the “Play Every Day” learning system I’m working on. You can play a series of cards to take a “practice journey.” That’s what we’ll do in this workshop!

Front of card


Back of card

Think of it as a general template for taking your own journeys. Practice this way with tunes you’re currently learning. Feel free to customize the journey as you see fit.

Video replay

Prepare for the journey

Things to learn, review and practice:

Intermediate and advanced students who are learning chords can review these lessons:


Pick a song you’re currently learning. Imagine it’s a ship that will take you to exotic lands where you’ll have adventures. Here’s a map of the journey.

Sheet music for Bill Cheatham


Use the “Plan-Do-Reflect” process of Deliberate Practice to practice a chunk of a song.

Bill Cheatham
B Part, First Quarter (A2-3)-E0-A2-E0-3-1-A3-E1-3-2-3-4-2-3


Break our main chunk into smaller sub-chunks:

  • E0-A2-E0-3-
  • E1-A3-E1-3
  • E2-3-4-2-3

Find the hardest part of the hardest part.It might just be two notes:

  • E1-A3
  • E3-4
  • E4-2

Single Reps <> Loop

Practice with a single rep, take a breath then repeat. When you feel ready, loop on the chunk.

Song <> Skill


Alternate between the song and a skill. Today we’ll practice Slur Two-Separate Two. This creates the Perfect Challenge, or Desirable Difficulty.


Alternate between the song chunk and this skill. Then try to apply the skill to the song.

Play E0-A3-E0-3 with Slur Two-Separate Two

Other skills you can practice:

  • Double stops
  • Vibrato
  • Georgia Shuffle

Music In Your Mind

Try to “hear the melody in your head.” A preliminary step is to sing it, then to hum it.


Transpose smaller then bigger chunks, then play with a drone:

A to D Major: A0-D2-A0-3-1-D3-A1-3 | A2-3-4-2-3


G Major: D0-G2-D0-3-1-G3-D1-3 | D2-3-4-2-3



Then, Chain each transposition to create a bigger, new exercise. Try to play this straight through. Don’t use a drone for this.

D0-G2-D0-3-1-G3-D1-3 | D2-3-4-2-3

A0-D2-A0-3-1-D3-A1-3 | A2-3-4-2-3


If you do this, then you’re introducing improvisation into your practice.

Re-order notes

Take the notes of the first two bars and arrange them as notes of a scale:




Play this scale a few times up and down.

Then simply rearrange the notes to create new melodies. Feel free to repeat notes as well as lengthen or shorten them.

That’s it. Don’t overthink it. Just start fiddling around. Use the A drone to make it more fun.

A drone


  • What was challenging?
  • What did you learn? Try to put it into your own words.
  • How can you use this in your own practice?


Lesson Chat

Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments below.

Zoom chat

15:02:54 From Carolyn B : Congratulations! Jason
15:03:16 From erika rocks : Having technical difficulties….so no camera for me. Next time. Haha!
15:05:37 From Vera Algoet : Jason is probably too young to remember Miss Nancy from Romper Room. “And I see Debra, and Jane, and Grace…” LOL
15:06:21 From Ann Repka : Congrats on new additions to the family! Enjoy!
15:07:51 From Carolyn B : Vera, you burst my 60s bubble. I thought she saw us!
15:08:14 From jason kleinberg : /courses/intermediate-fiddle-lessons/look-both-ways-before-you-cross/bill-cheatham/
15:21:54 From margaretolscamp : I’m a bit lost without score
15:22:05 From jason kleinberg : /courses/intermediate-fiddle-lessons/look-both-ways-before-you-cross/bill-cheatham/
15:22:10 From margaretolscamp : Sheet music
15:22:12 From jason kleinberg : There’s the sheet music
15:22:17 From jason kleinberg : On that page
15:25:09 From jason kleinberg : Whole B Part, First Quarter
15:26:32 From margaretolscamp : Does bow direction matter in a loop?
15:26:55 From Vera Algoet : Reacted to “Vera, you burst my 6…” with 😃
15:27:54 From margaretolscamp : That s helpful advice, thanks
15:35:10 From Lee Howell : I still proudly display my Romper Room diploma.
15:35:29 From jason kleinberg : 😂 @Lee
15:44:40 From Marg Sherringham : good pace Jason
15:45:02 From Lisa Biehl : Good lesson.  I am impressed you are here with a new baby in the family!
15:45:25 From Taryn McKim : D?
15:45:26 From Vera Algoet : D
15:45:30 From PeteHealy : D
15:45:38 From Ann Repka : D major
15:45:42 From Marg Sherringham : Dmajor
15:50:21 From Taryn McKim : That was fun!
15:52:14 From jason kleinberg : A2-3-E0-1-3
15:52:39 From Leanna : Thanks for the lesson. I’ve been learning “Squirrel Hunter” and will apply these steps to practice this tune. “Bill Cheatham” is a great tune!
15:53:18 From jason kleinberg : COOL LEANNA. I will do a lesson on Squirrel Hunter later this year.
15:58:46 From Beth : thanks!
16:00:02 From Taryn McKim : This Melody maker idea is a lot of fun! I feel like I’m composing!
16:00:13 From Vera Algoet : Great lesson!
16:00:18 From Brooke : That was great!  yes, that was my first time!
16:00:22 From Gerard Smith : thanks
16:00:24 From Terri Marsico : I’ve been working on it, this was perfect, thank-you!
16:00:27 From Carolyn B : Thank you! Good lesson.
16:00:28 From margaretolscamp : Thank you
16:00:32 From Ginger : Yes, firt for me.  Great lesson!
16:00:33 From Jane’s iPad2 : Great ideas!
16:00:33 From Cecilia Parajon : Thanks!
16:00:36 From Marg Sherringham : That’s was inspiring. Thanks Jason.
16:00:47 From Darcy’s iPad (2) : Great session, I love these meetings. 😁
16:00:47 From Donna Ewing : Fun. Learned a lot
16:00:49 From Taryn McKim : It was my first time playing with constraints instead of just my whole fiddle.
16:01:02 From Ann Repka : loved the lesson, thanks Jason!
16:01:11 From Lisa Biehl : Lots of fun.  We did a little improv in a previous lesson I think.  Very interesting stuff!
16:01:14 From Cindy Rossi : Fun to learn new ways to practice. Thanks!
16:01:19 From margaretolscamp : Definitely inspired
16:01:26 From Bridget Balthrop Morton : Thanks!  Great break from packing, and I had fun!  See folks in a few weeks!
16:01:38 From Laura K (she/her) : thx ! love the tools and particularly how to explore improv from melody
16:01:43 From Debra Hill : Thanks! Great way to practice a bowing pattern.
16:01:54 From Cindy Rossi : Most challenging was the transposition!
16:01:56 From Lisa Biehl : Call and response exercise updates also helpful
16:02:04 From margaretolscamp : Boy argil?
16:02:12 From margaretolscamp : Or girl?
16:02:13 From Taryn McKim : I’m going to buy cards this afternoon! Congratulations on the little one!
16:02:15 From Brooke : Yes, I really like the call and response!
16:02:25 From Brooke : Congratulations!
16:02:27 From Grace Schutt : 🥰
16:02:44 From Terri Marsico : Congratulations Jason 🥳❤️
16:02:50 From Taryn McKim : Praying for your family’s journey!
16:02:54 From Vera Algoet : She’s lucky to have you as parents!
16:02:56 From Carolyn B : You are courageous!
16:02:56 From Brooke : I’ll keep her in my prayers!
16:02:56 From Vera Algoet : I
16:02:57 From Laura K (she/her) : congrats on a new family member! sending lots of hope for your new little one
16:03:01 From Donna Ewing : Best of everything to you and Beta
16:03:02 From Vera Algoet : M sure she’ll be fine.
16:03:03 From Taryn McKim : I’ll be praying for you and Veda!
16:03:07 From jason kleinberg : Veda
16:03:16 From Jane’s iPad2 : That’s great news! Congratulations! Will pray for you three.
16:03:22 From Bridget Balthrop Morton  To  jason kleinberg(privately) : Enjoy that sweet baby!  May God bless you , your wife, and Veda!
16:03:29 From margaretolscamp : Bless you and your baby Veda
16:03:34 From Misha : Thanks! Came in late but loved it. Good thoughts for baby Veda girl❤️
16:03:37 From Vera Algoet : Is that her middle name?
16:03:44 From Ann Repka : She’s fortunate to have loving parents
16:03:45 From riley : congratulations
16:03:45 From Donna Ewing : How many months is she?
16:03:47 From Vera Algoet : I mean Saltonpuss
16:03:52 From Darcy’s iPad (2) : Best wishes for Veda ❤️
16:03:53 From jason kleinberg : Veda Marie
16:03:55 From Jane’s iPad2 : How old is she
16:04:03 From Cecilia Parajon : Congrats! Praying for you all and especially Veda Marie
16:04:05 From Vera Algoet : Oh my. I’m Vera Marie.
16:04:17 From Deborah Swanson : Veda is beautiful! Congratulations!
16:04:19 From Grace Schutt : Weight?
16:04:26 From Lisa Biehl : I am sorry to hear she is having a tough time. She
16:04:28 From Bridget Balthrop Morton : We’re all at zero in geologic time!
16:04:59 From Vera Algoet : I love these workshops.
16:05:16 From Taryn McKim : Is there a list of the cards you’ve mentioned somewhere?
16:05:28 From riley : thanks will you at least tell us the ket it will be in?
16:05:36 From riley : key
16:05:47 From margaretolscamp : Can you send the sheet out before to preview?
16:05:47 From Vera Algoet : Will you eventually have Tarot like illustrations?
16:05:58 From Gerard Smith : do you prefer we don’t use sheet music?
16:06:03 From Bridget Balthrop Morton : Sorry folks!  Gotta go pack!
16:06:18 From Mary Carignan : Great lesson, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow along, but I could. Yea! C&Rs on 1.4 were much easier! thanks!  My prayers for Little Zada and for you and Melissa!
16:06:18 From Terri Marsico : Thank-you again 🙂
16:06:19 From Ann Repka : See you next week
16:06:23 From jason kleinberg : Bye!
16:06:40 From margaretolscamp : Bye


Further practice

Take this journey on your own with different songs you’re learning. You can even take journeys with different parts of a song.

Further learning

Play Every Day


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