Hey there 👋, I will gradually be updating this page with short instructional videos on how to use FiddleHed (small steps, small wins 😀). Is there something you don’t understand about the site? If so, just email me. Cheers!
New tutorials on how to use the site
FiddleHed Site Tour
Here’s a video tutorial to help you navigate the site. I’ll talk through the main elements of the home page as well as the menus.
How to change the speed of a video
Did you know that you can change the speed of videos?
Hover the cursor over the settings wheel.
You’ll see a popup window.
Click Playback speed.
You can choose a pre-set speed. I recommend starting with 0.75 for learning parts of fiddle tunes.
By clicking custom in the top right corner, you can play back the video or loop at the tempo which is most helpful to you in your practice. Awesome new Youtube update 🥳.
Can the playback speed be changed on any Youtube video?
The answer is…🥁… Yes.
How to send a private message to other FiddleHed folks
We have a new feature on the site that creates a social network within Fiddlehed. I made a tutorial video on how it works.
The most important thing to know is how to send a private message to other fiddleheads. This will allow you to support each other, share videos, and form your own practice groups on zoom.
Tired of seeing the weird emoji next to your name?
You can change that on your profile page. I show how to do this in the video above. You can also change your profile background. And similar to Facebook, you can make friend requests to other fiddlehead folks.
As you can see, there are other similar features as Facebook…but no annoying ads 🤠
What's the difference between core and bonus lessons?
In each module, there are core and bonus lessons.
The core lessons are what I consider to be the essential things to help you learn the fiddle. These tune and technique lessons reappear throughout the site. There are usually 3-4 core tunes per module and 5-8 core technique lessons.
The bonus lessons are a way to supplement the core lessons. For example, in Module 1.4 (the image above) students learn the G major scale. Once you’ve worked through all the core lessons, you can further practice that scale by learning one of the bonus tunes (like I Saw The Light). Or, you can simply move on to the next module and do those core lessons.
I also consider the note-reading lessons to be bonus lessons. The course is designed in such a way that you can learn everything without knowing how to read sheet music. But some folks want to learn reading, and so they can do it in a progressive manner as they learn the other tunes and techniques in each module. Another way to approach the note-reading lessons is to take them all in a sequence using the Note-reading for Fiddlers course page.
Let me know if you have more questions, because someone else has probably had the same question at some point.
How fast should I move through the course? Is it self-paced?
The FiddleHed course is designed to be self-paced.
Some folks are absolute beginners and need more time. Others who have previous experience learning music may find they need less time.
Generally speaking, most students tend to rush, both in how fast they play new tunes as well as how fast they move through the course. I wrote an article about this: The Ultimate Beginner Pitfall.
That said, I suggest you spend about three weeks learning and practicing the lessons in each module. There are nineteen modules in the main course (Beginner: 1.1-1.9, Intermediate 2.1-2.9). Here’s a suggested weekly practice plan from module 1.3:
The idea is not to hold you back but to help you get established in good practice and the technique fundamentals. If you do this, then you ultimately will be able to learn more quickly and will enjoy your fiddle journey more.
What are good tunes for an intermediate student to learn?
Here’s some guidance for you to get rolling with FiddleHed as an intermediate(ish) student. Start by reviewing these tunes from the Beginner course:
In these courses, you’ll learn how to add variation to these tunes, how to play them in alternate tunings and generally how to approach music in a creative way.
Also, check out the Art of Fiddling lessons. These teach more advanced variations and techniques. There’s a good series called How To Make Scales Fun which shows you how to deepen the practice of scales in an enjoyable way.
How do I download content?
You may want to download content if you are going to go somewhere without internet access. Or you might want to download audio to your phone so you can easily listen in the car.
Watch this instructional video and/or read text instructions below.
To download audio, R
Right-click on the red arrow to the left of any audio track. It will turn green when the cursor hovers over it.
You should see a pop-up menu. Click on “Download linked file”.
The audio will be found in your downloads folder.
Download sheet music
To download sheet music:
Scroll down the page until you see the full sheet music.
Click the PDF link below that.
Select the download button to the right.
Find the downloaded sheet music in your downloads folder.
Return to fiddling!
Right now, only newer videos have a download link.
How can I upload a video to the site?
I’m going to show you how to upload video to the website. You’ll be able to add video as a comment or to the forum. Here’s the basic process:
Upload a video to your own Youtube channel.
Copy the link to a comment on any FiddleHed page.
Why do I want to do this?
Uploading video other people, including me, to support you in your fiddle journey. We can help each other by sharing challenges, asking questions and cheerleading. It’s part of my efforts to create a community of fiddle students.
What are the main steps?
In order to upload video, you’ll need to do the following main steps. I’ll go into more specific detail for each step below.
Create a Youtube channel.
Upload video to Youtube.
Copy the link from Youtube, then paste it to a comment or forum on FiddleHed.
I will do my best to explain this with screen videos and text. But if something does not make sense or work, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.
How to create a Youtube channel
Sign in to YouTube on a computer or using the mobile site.
Try any action that requires a channel, such as uploading a video, posting a comment, or creating a playlist.
If you don’t yet have a channel, you’ll see a prompt to create a channel.
Adjust your video’s title, description, and privacy settings. You can have a title up to 100 characters and a description up to 5,000 characters.
I recommend setting the video to “Unlisted” under the description. If you set it to public than anyone can discover and watch it. Which is fine…just want you to know how it works.
How to post a YouTube video to FiddleHed
The essential steps:
Go to the video on your Youtube channel.
Click the “share” button, which is below the video on the right.
Click the “Copy link” button all the way to the left.
Paste this to a comment or forum post. This is what the link looks like when you first paste it: https://youtu.be/2kZASM8OX7s. After you hit the “Post comment button” it will look like this:
If you get stuck at any point in the process, just email us. Thanks!
You can watch the instructional video which includes screencasts of how the site works. You can also read the text on this page which summarizes the points from the video.
Tunes, techniques and concepts are presented in a progressive, step-by-step manner. Though it’s a highly structured course, you have always have the option to choose which tunes you work on as you learn new techniques. FiddleHed will encourage you to approach fiddling with focused, deliberate practice so that you can successfully make music and have fun doing it.
A Modular Progressive Course
The course is organized into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Art of Fiddling.
Within each level there are modules that contain lessons. And the lessons contain videos, tabs, play-along tracks, practice notes and sheet music.
In each module, we will define some goals:
There’s a weekly practice plan to help you stay focused:
The technique lessons are closely integrated with the tunes lessons. For example, in Module 1.3, the main technique learned is the D major scale. And so the tunes in this module, like Oh Susannah and Wildwood Flower, are picked because they are great practice for learning the D major scale.
Within each module you will learn core tunes which will be used throughout the course, as well as bonus tunes.
For example, Oh Susannah is a core tune because it is re-visited in a later intermediate lesson on how to add double stops to the song.
I recommend you work within one module for 2-3 weeks. Even if you think you’ve mastered all the material, you can probably make the tunes sound even better with more practice.
When you are done with a lesson, you’ll mark it as complete. You’ll then be able to see your progress in the module:
And on the main module page you’ll see completed lessons are checked off:
Tune lessons start with an easy-to-follow video lesson. Most of these have handy diagrams to help you learn the left hand fingering:
Below that are tabs and play-along tracks for you to practice with.
You’ll notice that some of the tabs are colored. Parts that are repeated are the same color. This makes it easier for you to understand the “road map” of a tune and memorize it more easily. The goal is to get you playing and enjoying music as soon as possible. Learn more about this in the lesson Repeating Patterns in Fiddle Tunes.
Highly extensive play-along tracks are the core feature of FiddleHed. There are three types: exercise loops, full play-along tracks and drone tracks.
Exercise loops are used to continuously practice key parts of a tune at different speeds. This is an amazing way for you to practice and get to the point where you can play with musical flow. The exercise loops also train youhow to practice, because they get you in the habit of focusing on small parts until you can play them with confidence. And learning how to practice is perhaps the most valuable teaching I have to offer, because with that you can continue to learn on your own.
First quarter: D2-2-2-1-0-2-3-A0-1-2-3
There are full-length play along tracks in which you’ll play the entire tune at five different speeds.
There are drone tracks on all tune pages. A drone is a repeating reference tone. You can use this to practice scales, tunes and exercises at any speed you wish.
Another great use of the drone tracks is to practice new fingerings and notes you’ve learned. For example, say you are learning low second finger on the D string (which is an F note). Playing along with the F drone track will help you to play better in tune. Learn more here:
In the tune lessons, you will find warm-up exercises to prepare you for the challenges of the tune.
Near the bottom of each tune page is sheet music for those who know how to read, or for those who are learning to read. You can either read right off the page, or download and print a pdf file.
Technique lessons will teach you the basic tools you need to play the fiddle: bowing, fingering and the combinations of the two. Each technique lesson is followed by a page of exercise loops which will focus your practice in a way that’s fun and immediate.
A major scale variations, 80 bpm
You can practice these exercises with the play along tracks. Once you get the idea, you can practice the same exercises with drone tracks at your pace and add variations of your own.
In the main top menu you’ll find the Library dropdown sub-menu. Here you’ll find pages of tunes organized by genre. Browsing through the tune lessons will help you to determine what tunes you need to review as well as what tunes you want to learn.
In addition to the genre pages, there are useful libraries of play-along tracks for scales, beats, and drones.
A collection of cool beats that are fun to play along with
FiddleHed emphasizes deliberate practice
It’s key to make the best use of your time when you play. FiddleHed is an incremental approach which teaches the powerful practice tools of drone practice, looping and self-recording. Want to transform your practice sessions so that they’re fun and productive?
You’ll also find these practice lessons spread throughout the course:
How fast should I go?
I encourage you to move through the course slowly, focusing on making simple things sound good. You’ll find that having a really good sound is it’s own reward. It will give you confidence and encourage you to keep on keeping on, day in and day out.
Remember, the most important thing is to have fun. Fun is not overrated! Also, remember that you are a musician if you play every day.
Now, go fiddle with it…
Here is a quick way for you to access the essential practice tools you need. Under each tab you'll find play-along tracks, tabs and condensed teachings to help you as you practice. This is an evolving idea, so let me know in a comment below if it could be better.
Here's a newer version of the Notefinder which is based on sheet music. If you're interested in learning to read, this will be an invaluable reference. I'll be posting lessons on this in 2020.
Note: the brackets indicate notes that are the same pitch but spelled differently. For example, AH3 (D#) sounds the same as AL4 (Eb). Without going into too much teory detail here, this will be determined by the key of the tune or piece you are playing.
Here's he original table version of the Notefinder. Sometimes people learn in different ways...
Sawmill tuning Notefinder
This is used to find notes in Sawmill tuning (when the G string is tuned up to A and the D string is tuned up to E). If you're a beginner...best to ignore this! Learn more about sawmill tuning in the Appalachian Fiddle course.
Here are some common scales used in fiddle tunes. Each runs through a series of variations: two bows legato, two bows staccato, four bows, tucka (4 shorts, two longs), hoedown (1 long, two shorts), throwaway bow, triplets, tremolo.
G Major, starting on D3
Practice a tune with its scale (Kerry Polka is in G major, so practice a G major scale). Practice scales before, during and after practicing tunes.
Always return to a good sound, even if it means playing quarter notes on the D string. You can do this! You just have to remember to pause on practicing the challenging thing and just get a good sound on single notes.
Why do this? Because it will bring you deep joy. And it will build your confidence which will inspire further practice.