The first phase is just learning how to play it start to finish.
The second is making it sound better.
The third is expression, which includes things like accenting, adding variation, dynamics and improvisation.
As you enter each new phase, you approach the tune with a beginner’s mind using micro-practice, looping, call-and-response and other practice techniques.
The lesson will cover the basic technique applied to simple accents on beats one and three. In later lessons, we’ll apply accents to more complicated rhythms.
If you practice these simple exercises, you’ll find that you naturally start to add accents to the tunes and songs you play on the fiddle.
We’ll start out very slow so that you can do it with ease.
Video downloads are available to paid subscribers
First, let’s work on the sound of the accent. Add a little extra weight at the beginning of a bow stroke. Think of it as a little grit. Practice this downbow and upbow in free time (without a beat).
Next, try to do this with quarter notes. This is a key step. You’re now playing a simple rhythmic texture.
Once you can do that, we’ll just practice it with variations.
Quarter notes open D
Quarter notes D major
Tucka on open D
The rest of the exercises are available to paid subscribers, along with full sheet music. Thanks for your support ?
If you find this to be helpful, then add it to your Master Practice List so that you’ll remember to practice it tomorrow.
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Here's a newer version of the Notefinder which is based on sheet music.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.