Do You Play Every Day?

I recently made a post to a forum called FiddleHangout with some practice questions:

Do you play every day?

If so, do you have to discipline yourself somehow?

Or do you do it simply because you love it?

How did you successfully become a musician (someone who plays every day)?

There were a lot of great and helpful answers. Here’s a summary:

-Keep it fun.

-Most everyone who answered plays a lot, but not necessarily every single day.

-Fiddling is approached with love, not as a chore.

-Set aside a regular time and place to play music.for music.

-Train people around you to respect your decision to be a musician and to allow you the time to do it.

-Keep learning new things to stay motivated: new tunes, techniques and styles.

-If you see you are improving, you will be motivated to keep playing.

-Play with other people, backing tracks and/or drones.

-Own a halfway decent fiddle.

-Play during your lunch break.

-Play the music you want to play.

-Keep your instrument readily accessible.

-Avoid TV 🙂

I would add: every time you play, realize how amazing it is to make music, and try to be grateful for it.


14 responses to “Do You Play Every Day?

  1. I play every day. I’ve only been playing for a year so my motivation is that it is a ridiculously fun and challenging instrument and that I have so much to learn that I have no trouble finding new things to play and practice that interest me.

    I have young children so finding time to play is a challenge, and also my wife HATES to hear me play. I race home after work to get a few minutes of unmuted playing in before I go pick up the kids and my wife gets home. Also, my wife won’t even let me play in the house with a heavy mute on, so I play muted outside during the day if the kids are napping or in the garage muted at night after the kids are asleep. Even with these challenges I still usually get in at least an hour a day. Unfortunately, I almost never get to play unmuted.

  2. I’m interested in “Own a halfway decent fiddle” and what are the characteristics of a halfway decent fiddle. I frequently lapse into the thought that if I only had a better fiddle I’d play better. But then think my deficiencies have more to do with the fiddlers and not the fiddle. I’ve been playing about a year, with a teacher for the first 3 months. I do play every day and I am getting better, although oh, soooo slowly!

      1. Thanks for this suggestion! I had seen on Johnston Strings that I could rent a fiddle and was thinking that might be a good idea. They give a little bit of guidance on choosing one to rent. I live in a small town with limited choices, so that might work well. My husband had surprised me with my current fiddle that he bought via the internet. Good intentions, but I don’t think its much better than the student fiddle I already had, although a but more expensive (about $425). Patience is a virtue!

    1. Sometimes a setup by a good violin tech makes all the difference. I’m a guitarist, but I was struggling with keeping the fiddle in tune. I grew to despise friction pegs. I had Wittner geared pegs installed and also had my tailpiece swapped out for a better one. He made adjustments to the bridge. The last step was to check the soundpost. At this point, he adjusted the intonation. Honestly I can’t be happier. It was $200 well spent. It might seem like a lot of money to spend on a $600 Barcus Berry fiddle, but it is a nice fiddle made in Romania. I’ll probably bring it back yearly to have the setup adjusted.

  3. I play daily. I have missed two days in four months. Some days, I don’t feel like it, but as soon as I start I get lost in it – and I know this, so I always start. On days when I do a lot of ‘drills’ (scales, arpeggios, bowing exercises) and then songs, I feel great afterward. I had a mute on through the summer, because I practice late at night and didn’t want to offend the neighbors, but now that the weather is getting cooler and windows closed, I took it off. The sound is so much more engulfing and rich without a mute, that it makes me look forward to playing more.

  4. I play most days. My wife has a rare dementia that originally just involved “warped” optic nerves and spatial problems. She continued to ride horse from age 52-56, when she lost depth perception entirely. She rode all her life and was rated sixth in the US in 1998. I toyed with the violin when younger, but never put my heart in it. Now I am a full time caregiver (with help). I know my wife wants me to grasp this art, as she had grasped her equine skills. I am very, very busy, as you can imagine; but I always have 30min-1hr. to play in the evening. Children are all out of the house now and I play in the family room, behind closed doors far from the bedroom my wife is sleeping in. I write this just to express how precious this opportunity is for me. Hope it doesn’t sound “sappy;” it is real life. I am 68, my wife 59.

    1. Owneee61, I can relate to your comment. My wife has dementia that was caused by viral encephalitis over 12 years ago. I first took up the banjo “scruggs’ style” and taught myself using YouTube videos. About a year and a half ago I did the same with the fiddle mainly using Fiddlehed videos. It is very rare for me not to play every day. In my banjo adventure I was “Banjoflyboy” and now “Fiddleflyboy”. The fiddle has captured my soul and I really enjoy playing!

    2. I am so glad to be able to be a part of your fiddling and I hope you will continue. How wonderful that you and your wife support each other. Life is real but you are faced with something that is very difficult. I hope the fiddling helps you both. Your age? Google “Fiddlin’ Phil May with Darling Nellie Gray”. Let him be your inspiration. Fiddlers are never too old. Will keep you and your wife in my thoughts. Thank you for your candor. You inspire me.

  5. I wasn’t playing every day until I bought a String Swing and mounted it on the wall. Now I pick it up and play several times a day – even if just 15 to 20 minutes at a time (in addition to my regular practice time). Accessibility is definitely the key to practicing more. I also agree that playing a decent instrument does make a serious difference. That doesn’t mean you have to buy brand new either. I found a perfectly good instrument at a pawn shop that normally retailed for $1000 for $300 (take a knowledgable person along to look it over if you’re unsure). I am thoroughly enjoying learning fiddle music!

  6. I’ve only been playing for a year now, but I have not missed a day. Sometimes it’s just 5 minutes, sometimes an hour x 2, but I play every day — because I love it. The progress is painfully slow at this age, but it’s there — I can feel the improvement for the every effort I put in. I love the feeling.
    I feel bad for CorrinRadd; my husband is very supportive of my learning, and he even drives me to the lesson (I can’t drive right now as my leg is in a brace) and patiently sits in the room and observes. My son memorizes the tune I am playing and hums along. I am so lucky! CorrinRadd: don’t give up!

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