Thanks for taking part in the Spring Practice Challenge 2022

From April 11-24, you and fiddle students around the world will make music a regular part of your life. How? Set an intention to play every day for 14 days in a row.

The primary goal is to establish the habit of daily practice, and have the time of your life doing it. If music is a daily part of your life, then you are a musician. If you want to do this, you can. Simply do it every day.


As part of the SPC 2022, I’m giving a “Mystery Tune Workshop”. You’ll learn a tune entirely by ear through call-and-response. If you want to join the class, just sign up to the FiddleHed email list below (if you’re not already on it). It’s a free class that happens on Wednesday April 13 at 12 PM PT.


What Is A Practicipant?

practicipant is someone who practices with others. By doing this together, we are more likely to follow through with our fiddling goals. We help each other to establish a good practice habit and become better musicians.

All you have to do is play every day. It’s good to have you on board!


Five action steps

Here are five suggested action steps. If you don’t do any of these things, but still play every day for two weeks, then you complete the challenge.These steps set you up for success.

1. Decide on how much time you’ll practice each day.

  • Pick a minimum amount of time that you know you can do.
    • I suggest at least 20 minutes a day.
  • Write this on the FPC worksheet, a wall calendar or music journal (online or paper).
  • If you know in advance that you have to miss practice on a specific day, write that in your calendar or practice tracker before the challenge begins.

2. What is your main practice focus?

  • Pick 1-3 things you want to improve: a tune, bowing, playing in tune, improvising, fingering & string crossing, reviewing tunes, etc.
  • Whatever you pick, work on something small that you can actually accomplish. For example:
    • Playing a simple tune 10% better
    • Slurring on scales
    • Remembering tunes

3. Tell at least one other person what you are doing.

  • Start by saying hello to other practicipants in a comment below!
  • Telling friends, family and roommates is a public commitment that will encourage your practice. You also signal to everyone that music is important to you and to respect the time you take for it.

4. Track your practice. 

  • Use “Your Practice Journal” at the bottom of the page. Make an entry for every day you practice.
  • Or use whatever method works for you: wall calendar, note-taking app, or spreadsheet.
  • Each day that you practice becomes another link in the chain. As the chain grows, you’ll get the emotional reward as you get closer to the goal.
  • Instead, you can also use a habit-tracking app (like Momentum) or a wall calendar to mark each day you practice. I like this old-school method!

 

5. Monitor your performance through recording.

  • Make an audio recording or video of yourself playing the challenging new tune or technique at the at the beginning (October 11) and end (October 24) of the FPC.
  • You’ll then review these performances to help you understand what improved and what still needs work.
  • I highly recommend sharing your videos on the Student Video Exchange. Mainly because you’ll feel a fun sense of camraderie with other FiddleHeds. If you haven’t done that, check out this tutorial: How can I upload a video to the site?
  • Another reason to share videos: you’ll be more motivated to practice, knowing that you will be posting a video.

What if I miss a day or two of practice?

If you miss a day or two, just keep going with the challenge. Remember the point of doing the FPC is to establish a good regular practice habit that’s fun and productive. So if you didn’t practice today, just pick up the fiddle tomorrow. Don’t give up!


Student videos from FPC 2020

Last year was a big year for student video submissions. Some folks posted videos almost every day. I hope you will too. The more people who take part, the more fun this becomes. Here’s a playlist of Fiddleheds fiddling every day:


Testimonials from previous challenges

I surveyed the 2019 practicipants after it was over. Over 93% of the people said they would do it again.

Here are some anonymously submitted comments from the survey:

  • “It was perfect for me because I finally nailed down HOW to practice. Each day was another very practical way of learning.”
  • “It got me to practice every day for 20 minutes-a realistic goal.”
  • “I established a connection with two other beginning fiddlers my age for continued exchange and support.”
  • “I enjoyed the daily tips, but most surprisingly the participants page and the comments and shared struggles. The videos people posted helped tremendously.”
  • “How much I improved with daily, focused practice….. you were right :)”

Do you know someone else who might benefit from the SPC?

The SPC is open to anyone. So if you have a friend who is also learning an instrument, feel free to invite them to join in. It would help them and also help you.


Further learning

Here are some articles that are relevant to the practice challenge.

Fiddling With A Master Practice List

The Two-Minute Rule

The Practice Challenge of Fiddling

Don’t Break The Chain

How To Improve Your Fiddling Through Recording 


Let’s do it

I’m asking you to take yourself seriously as a musician. What does that mean? You are a musician if you play every day. I encourage you to approach the practice challenge with a sense of adventure and fun. What a great thing it is to play music, and you’re going to do it every day!

Thanks for taking part, now go fiddle with it…

11 responses to “Spring Practice Challenge 2022

  1. Ok. I’m in. I HAVE been playing MOST daily… am keeping a journal, and my goal is to not have any blank boxes of no music. Even if it’s a 2 minute run of scales and arpeggios of said scales. We’ll see.

  2. This sounds amazing, I’m in! I’m a fiddler, but I really want make a point to practice guitar more. With school, orchestra, practicing violin and fiddle, and a bit too much procrastination packed into my schedule, guitar has recently fallen to the wayside. I also got a 12-string for Christmas, and have so far been too discouraged to play it enough to actually improve. For this challenge, I aim to practice for at least 25 minutes a day- some on 6-string, some on the 12. I want to strengthen my fingers enough to play the 12-string guitar a little more efficiently (using chords and scales) and maybe learn a song or two more fluently (Blackbird, or maybe something Pink Floyd). Also, I’ve heard that playing the guitar can make your finger calluses too thick to play the violin- I’ve been playing guitar for about 2 years and so far this hasn’t happened to me, but I don’t practice it nearly as much as the fiddle. Does anyone think playing the 12-string so much will interfere with my fiddling?

  3. Glad to try this again! I’m in the midst of a 100-day ukulele challenge too, but I usually have time to play through a few tunes each day on the fiddle. I can’t quite figure out why my bow still squeaks after 7 or so years of learning the violin (mostly self-taught). So, for the challenge, I will focus on my bowing technique and trying to get through one or two tunes with minimal or no squeaks. I will also aim to record and post a few times as well.

  4. Thanks, Jason, for the practice hour today. I made my Master List on Saturday and started reviewing and playing songs for memory. Thanks for the practice session. I loved to watch what you did, especially with the Bb scale. And I loved hearing the minor tunes. Really inspired and motivated me to learn more of those songs.

  5. I’m in. Shooting for 40 minutes a day broken into two sessions. Working on E flat scale and an arrangement of Fairest Lord Jesus to do as a piano duet. Working on getting some old turns up to a jam speed.

  6. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I’ve been sick as a dog and haven’t played much the last couple of weeks, so this is a great motivator to get back into the swing of things 😀

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