• Tom replied to the topic Faded Love in the forum Student Videos 1 day, 23 hours ago

    Great Job! Our group of 3 has talked about a video collaboration in the past, but it never happened. Maybe this is the prod that we need to get going.

  • Tom replied to the topic Call and Response in the forum Student Videos 1 week, 5 days ago

    Thanks Jocelyn! I had totally forgotten about this one.

  • Awesome!
    I was thinking of doing a lesson this great tune…you beat me to it.

  • Things I'm Grateful For – November 2023 ‘Tis the week before Thanksgiving, maybe my favorite holiday. So much so that I try to celebrate it every day in a small way. I make a short list of things […]

    • My first fiddle teacher, Del Bassett, recently passed at the golden age of 90. I am so grateful to have had him as a teacher and a friend. He taught me much about “Faith, Family, and Fiddle” in that order.
      Grateful for my wife Ann, two fabulous stepdaughters, Caitlin and Kyah, and two “fabulouser” granddaughters, Amelia, and Eleanor.
      Just turned 70 myself, and besides the aches and pains of arthritis in my hips, fingers, and shoulders, I am in good health.
      Grateful for the knowledge of Jason. Learning so much more!

    • I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful place – the Pacific Northwest. Grateful to have raised two healthy children with a loving partner. Grateful to have found the Fiddlehed community and to be having such fun learning music. Thank you everyone for sharing!

    • Grateful for my health today and that despite many joint issues, I can still play fiddle and participate in Fiddlehed, Strung Alongs and with some friend musicians. Grateful for my kids and grandkids and that I can travel to visit them. I love the State and National parks here in Virginia, where I love to wander and I’m grateful for that. Grateful that a puppy may soon be in my future.

      • Owen- I just said this morning we have to go back to Galax Rails to Trails 💖💖💖 we are in Pisgah Forest NC

    • Hi Jason!
      I am grateful for Fiddlehed, and all babies, including your beautiful daughter and my 1 year old granddaughter Johanna, who brings such joy into her every day! I am grateful for my dog, who gets me out in nature every day, and shares his playfulness and joy with me. I live near the ocean, so I am grateful for the two beaches near me, and also for meditation, family, and musical friends, and of course – so grateful for music!
      Re: your back – my physio told me to set my alarm for every hour to get up and move – stretch, touch your toes (knees bent), do some yoga. And thanks, Vicki – I will be checking out those “Jen Hilman lower back” videos too!
      Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    • Everyday there is so much to be thankful for, I love your “categories”–
      Family, all the love even with the challenges
      Health–my fingers mostly still work! Grateful for my Jeanne doctor
      Music–my medicine for living
      Teachers–yes, Thich Naht Hahn taught me how to breathe
      Mr. Graubard taught me how to learn
      My children taught me about myself
      My bees taught me how to move slow
      My students have brought me joy
      Friends–where would I be without them?
      Water, Sun, Clean air
      Thank you, Jason!

    • I’m grateful for my husband of 14 1/2 years and that he’s willing to be get involved with my music. I’m grateful for my church and church family. I’m grateful for where I live in the beautiful PNW and my warm cozy home. I’m also grateful for Fiddlehed and how I’ve improved since getting involved. 😌

    • Counting our blessings every day, it is even important as playing every day.
      I am grateful that I have the chance to help people in my job as a pharmacist
      But even more when I can recharge by playing music
      and that I can enjoy the fun lessons of Fiddlehed.
      And there are still many small and big things that I am grateful for
      Sometimes we just forget how lucky we are
      Grateful to take some time to think about it again
      So big thanks!!
      ( also to google translate 😉 )

    • Right up there on a list too long to share are my strung along fiddle friends and the fiddlehed community!

    • Hey Jason. I am thankful for this great season in my life. My home, marriage, kids, and finally having time for my music. This includes how much I am learning from Fiddlehed!!! I am an intermediate player but have been going through the beginner lessons to pick up things I missed before. So amazingly helpful!
      I have joined some jam sessions with my mandolin and working up to bringing my fiddle. Just about ready for that.

  • jason kleinberg replied to the topic Faded Love in the forum Student Videos 1 week, 6 days ago

    This is so great. A dream come true for me to see students creating together online.

    THANKS to Joanne, Debbie and Jocelyn for assisting with this…🙏

  • Swallowtail Blues Did you know that you can take an Irish tune like Swallowtail Jig and turn it into a blues song? I played it with a 4/4 beat (1-2-3-4) instead of a […]

  • jason kleinberg wrote a new post 1 month ago

    Old Tune, New Song! Did you know you can craft new songs from snippets of existing melodies?  Take the first quarter of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” for instance. I […]

  • jason kleinberg wrote a new post 1 month ago

    Guided Practice Session – Hesitation Blues Here’s a guided practice session on how to take recently learned tunes to the next level. I used ​Hesitation Blues​ as an example. This is an exp […]

  • jason kleinberg wrote a new post 1 month ago

    How To Play Chord Backup On Fiddle And Violin Overview Did you know that you can play chord backup on the fiddle and violin? This is a role normally played by the guitar, mandolin or piano. But you […]

  • jason kleinberg wrote a new post 1 month ago

    Should I memorize scales?A student asked, “Should I memorize scales?” The short answer is “yes.” 🎶 First things first: Start by memorizing a single-octave D Major sc […]

  • Learning A New Song Routine Here’s a routine for Learning a New Song. I’ll use “Hesitation Blues” as an example. Note: I use “Song” as a general term for “tune”, “piece”, ” […]

    • Absolutely stellar advice for learning songs/tunes, especially for those that the fiddle may be their first foray into music/a musical instrument. Also a great reminder to all of us old timers who tend to forget this when learning a tune. Rome was NOT built in a day, folks!

  • Play Slowly Looking to improve your playing? Slowing down helps you break through barriers, no wizardry required. Don’t worry, even pros catch themselves speeding […]

    • I think the “Play Slowly” is suitable for framing, for its message and its style! 🙂👍

    • I needed to hear this today. Yesterday,’s practice was clear evidence that I need to slow down.

    • I am learning to play every tune as a ballad. Great reminder and offered structure will be very handy. Sometimes, I like fast tunes better when they are slow. It’s fun try the different tempo and slow it right down — and for beginner me, often sounds better.

  • Wandering Mind Last night, I was practicing and hit a rough patch. I kept stumbling over a section of a song called “Climbing and Falling.” Then it hit me: my […]

    • Yes, my mind wanders all over. I had a teacher say that sometimes we practice with other music on or the tv on and that has something to do with the mind wanting multiple inputs. Yet to make fast progress it is best to be totally present and mindful of what we are working on. Like doing homework with the tv on takes 3 times as long to do as when you shut everything off and just get it done.

    • I deal with this sometimes….. The thing is, life ebbs and flows. When things are flowing with usually-but-not-always good stuff – my business, my grandkids, holidays, health issues, a new dog, travel, a personal problem popping up…. all this stuff can fill up a day so much that carving out time to read a book or practice the fiddle can just add pressure to a day blasting by too fast.

      That is when I begin to feel a touch of …. guilt – trying to squeeze in the fiddle and in particular learn something new. I find I really need “play days”, where I am not trying to improve at all, just playing with the instrument, pulling back into the joy of just messing around, without the pressure of learning a skill or a specific amount of time.

    • For some reason my go to tune is Whiskey Before Breakfast! I only ever play it when I’m struggling! That leads to Over The Waterfall and then I’m back & into my playing. On tired days I love to play soothing tunes; Midnight on the Water, Lonesome Moonlight Waltz, Dawning of the day, Lovers Waltz.

  • What's helped you the most on your fiddle journey? When I was college orchestra I sat in the last row of the viola section. I met with a student teacher who patiently helped me fumble through difficult […]

    • Straight bowing is my biggest problem since I didn’t work on it from day one. So the single thing that helps me the most is to use my web cam and computer screen to watch my bowing in exercises, record it looking and not looking, watch it when playing tunes, etc. This is better than using a mirror because I can record it and play sitting down.

      • Amazing idea for getting feedback on your playing. It’s a “twofer”. You get immediate feedback and then can also watch it after you play.

    • Jason, What is helping me the most is your encouragement to play very slow until it begins to sound good.

      • Great to hear you’re taking that to heart. It’s truly one of the most amazing practice strategies. It seems simple and obvious…maybe that’s why everyone forgets this (including me).

    • Daily practice is the best thing for my improvement. When I miss practice the fiddle feels foreign in my hands.

      Mary Reid

    • I have practiced for years and had to have each song perfect or I wasn’t satisfied. It is nice to have suggestion that we practice the bit we are having trouble with to get it right. And also I like the tips we get for improving our tones and over all sound. Perhaps we should have thought of these things on our own but we didn’t.

      • Thanks for sharing. Something I’ve been pondering recently: Nothing is obvious until it’s obvious. The foundational practice strategies are relevant forever: Chunking, Daily practice, Playing Slowly, Focus on sound.

    • I am super beginner at 55 yrs …. I played as a kid and then life happened …
      I listen to a tune in fiddle over and over then l I can try to duplicate what I am heard. It helps me try to find the right sound.
      A big help is watching YouTube Fiddlehed while sitting in the bathtub … Ha

    • Over all the most helpful has been practice strategy. IE-play scale, play tune, different rhythm patterns, looping, chunking and really important—- record practice!!!!
      Practice difficult parts instead of parts you do well.

    • Practicing along with Fiddlehed’s recordings- they keep me on time/tune whether exercises or songs. Plus it’s fun to play along, so motivates me to practice!

    • In terms of practice techniques, not just letting myself play slowly, but actually *savoring* the sound of playing slowly. And then with that, from the standpoint of emotional engagement, letting myself smile – sometimes even laugh – at those moments where I struggle (instead of getting frustrated and quitting).

    • Playing slowly for sure. Also, separating out a messy measure or string crossing and ‘working it’. But above all, playing along with your Tracks! Those have helped me a lot with intonation, something I am constantly working on.

      Thanks for all you do to help us in our fiddle journey.

    • What helped greatly were the call-and-response videos! They’ve allowed me to become more familiar with the notes through listening, rather than seeing them on a sheet of music. Because of these videos, I’m much better at being able to listen to music (or just a tune that might be going through my head) and be able to play it!
      The only problem is I’ve done almost all of them and I’m going to have to go back and start again!

      • Good to hear this! Were any of them too challenging?
        I feel like I sometimes play too long or complex of a call (at least on the earlier videos).

        • No, they weren’t too challenging! I enjoyed doing them. Once in a while, I’d have to listen again, which was fine. It was just really good ear training.

        • As an aside, I find Call and Response easier when using a song rather than random notes. Mind/hand coordination is better

    • encouragement to practice daily and to slow down when learning.

    • Encouragement.

      To instill courage by positive, well meaning comments; starting from the J-man, and from Jocelyn and from the Fiddlehed community and, last but not least from the “Strung Along” student group started by Jason.

    • What helped me most,was when I found your website,
      And I signed up for your 14 day deal, the 14 day challenge help me learn discipline,
      And keep pushing forward.

    • Call and response, making index cards as I work through the modules. I use a notice board where I can pin up up the cards relevant to my current practice, swapping them in and out. I’m amazed at the improvement in my ability to play by ear after being immersed in reading music most of my life. Now up to module 2.7, I find if I revisit an older tune and start in a different key, I can just keep going without even thinking about transposition, the intervals between the notes are embedded in my memory. Thanks Jason, your system of gradual skill building and kind encouragement really works!

    • That is a really tough question because there are so many possible answers! Aside from finding Fiddlehed and signing up a couple years ago I think the looping on hard parts has helped me the most. I used to play tunes over and over and kind of skim through the parts that didn’t sound that good, hoping they’d eventually get better. I’ve learned to slow down, pick out the less than stellar sections, and patiently work on them.

      Lately I’ve been getting back to learning by ear instead of being dependent on sheet music and that is taking my practice/playing to a place that is harder but more satisfying.

    • The number one helpful thing for me is the play along small chunks exercises. Advancing from slow to fast with the audio in small chunks has given me a sense of accomplishment .

    • Covid! It motivated me to start playing with a friend down the road, first online and then outdoors in our community gardens and finally we still practice together and encourage each other, sharing music and ideas. One day we are going to go out busking….

    • A teacher that expects you are capable of learning what you need to learn to succeed. And an encouraging family.

    • The whole fiddlehed site–small chunks, ear training, Jason’s encouragement–csn’t imagine another way to do this.

    • YOU have helped me the most in my fiddle journey, Jason! Your infectious enthusiasm, which never seems to waiver, and i brilliant course modules which, you’ve devised ,make practice sessions a joy. I love it! I’ve said it before – one of the best things I ever did, was signing up to fFiddlehed.

    • What has helped me the most is playing with and for others. Playing with others brings it all together for me. I’ve learned more about myself both as a learner and a musician.

      We do learn better together.

    • Practice a 1000 times!
      OK maybe not exactly 1000 but repeating and especially as you say, the part I find the hardest. The playback samples on Fiddlehed are great for this, you can just play each quarter over & over until it’s in the memory & fingers!

    • Definitely the techniques taught on Fiddlehed. Also recording myself and listening to the playback is hard but well worth it. I’m also blessed with a great group of online friends through Fiddlehed who support and inspire me!

    • Finding your site has helped me the most. I love the play every day mantra. It has help me find joy and fun in the fiddle. I sincerely appreciate how every skill is broken down into small steps. Thank you so much all you have done to make this site so helpful!!

    • Most recently the lesson on applying rhythms to scales. I was a very hard time keeping my bow hand wrist flexible, but as I practiced this scale lesson I could feel my fingers relax which made my wrist and fingers more flexible. I practice this every time play. This is a huge deal for me because I’ve been playing way too long with a rigid wrist.

  • The Three S's of Violin Practice: Song, Scale, Skill Think of this 25-minute practice journey as your daily bread and butter. Utilize the Practice Pipeline to pinpoint areas for improvement and […]

  • Enjoy this phase of your violin journey.

  • jason kleinberg wrote a new post 3 months ago

    Going From Low Second to Third Finger FiddleHed Sue recently asked “It’s challenging to go from low second to third finger on the G string. What can I do? That stretch is challenging […]

  • Optimism I’ve been talking to a lot of students recently. The ones who make it have one thing in common… My mission is to teach you good p […]

    • I think we choose to be optimistic. It’s easy to be discouraged after hearing someone who’s more advanced knock a piece out of the park. I am encouraged when I can break a song into smaller parts as in Jason’s lessons. Or practice one technique in slow mo. Take heart in improving one thing. Remember, even the slowest train eventually reaches the station..Deb S.

      • “It’s easy to be discouraged after hearing someone who’s more advanced knock a piece out of the park.”

        I feel this when I see a five year old playing Foggy Mountain breakdown at 200 bpm 🤯

        I turn it around by thinking of all the creative work and bands and experiences I’ve been privileged to do over the years.

        It also helps me to feel simple gratitude for being able to create and appreciate music…something I’m also feeling from the other comments.

    • When I feel bad about how something is going,for example, the recording I made sounds terrible, I think of something that did go well- I have that tune memorized and now I can work on making it sound better.

    • I agree with the theorem that you must choose to be optimistic and this choice becomes the path that leads you forward to greater and greater success.
      Although, sometimes we have to take this optimism in the face of a bad practice season, but we will persevere. 🎶

      • I think it’s worth celebrating the fact that you did the practice. Period. Even if it didn’t feel that great.

        Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) says something along the lines of…The pros just show up and do the work.

    • As a late bloomer, picked up a fiddle at 62, is to first be honest with yourself, brutally if needed. It is just a fact that I will not live long enough to be great. So I had to ask myself what was I hoping to achieve. I’ve arthritis, 2 kinds, my knuckles & fingers appear mutilated. I find optimism remembering the awe I feel when I start to play, knowing last time, I couldn’t get a particular thing correct. Next day or “a few more” depending on frustration, I find that somehow between then and now, my brain figured it out. Our brains are awe inspiring creations. My optimism comes from knowing that everytime I play, EVERYTIME, there is something I couldn’t do before that, unbeknownst to me, my brain figured out and even choreographed with my hands. Sometimes it’s a big thing, sometimes it’s very small but, everytime I start, something is possible that wasn’t before. It’s miraculous to me.

      I will never be really good but I love the feeling of the sounds I’m making. I like tuning. I tune down to the Hz, E-659.3, A-440.0 etc., then I check my fingering on 4th of previous string. I love feeling the vibration. I find optimism in knowing that every time I pick up my fiddle, I actually have a fiddle🤗, there will be something new. There will be something new about me.

    • I think optimism and a positive outlook on life is not really a choice, but closer to a personality trait. Inherent personality traits can be affected by life—especially early life events and how we are raised. All that being said I do think that we all have some choice about how we view the world and can make successful efforts at being more optimistic and positive—whether it’s about playing fiddle or anything else. Also, it depends on what we mean by successful. What that means is different for everyone. For me I hope to —at some point—be able to play on local jams and be as comfortable and have as much fun as I do playing guitar or banjo. My version of success is being good enough to have fun. I’m not shooting for being a virtuoso. Looking forward to Jason’s thoughts on this.

      • It’s similar to a something I tell myself, “You’re fortunate if you know you’re fortunate.”

        A lot of people have better lives than they realize. The get upset by minor things. Me too, me three…

        I feel that optimism is a choice, but you’re fortunate if you come to a place where you have the mind, income level, time, etc. to make this choice.

        Maybe anybody can chose optimism. But it seems easier for some people…

        Also, I think it helps to know that you do have a choice. This is the core idea of a “Growth Mindset.”

    • I believe optimism can be turned on.I think it is a decision one makes inside their own spirit, mindset or what ever you choose to call it. It may only last an hour or few but it can be restarted. After enough restarts it becomes a pattern or habit.
      I have been in some dark places and determined to get out, I climbed an imaginary rope ladder made of fiddle strings and guitar frets. You can be optimistic if you choose to be.
      I’m 76 and I still get a feeling of accomplishment when I play a scale on my fiddle in proper intonation.

    • Very thankful for the great comments so far.

      I have more ideas on this, but want to let the conversation roll and see what you all are thinking…

    • I think optimism changes. When things are going good you are optimistic and when they aren’t you are not so much. However, that is where a good teacher comes in (Like you Jason). Some of the approaches you suggest work very well imo. For instance when you were talking about the death grip or whatever on the strings it tends to make the bow screech. However, I noticed that when you suggested you touch the strings lightly with your left hand it simultaneously causes at least my grip to lessen on the bow and then I got the sound that I like which made me more satisfied and could be optimistic. I guess what I need is suggestions on how to address the little things that come up frequently that tend to make me sound less than I want. When I have a suggestion that works it makes me feel like moving onto the sound I want.

    • If hope is a virtue, then optimism is surely a choice. I’ll even go so far as to suggest optimism is a kind of practice, an essential discipline. Optimism sees that some thing or situation can be made better, & then works on that improvement. Like many others here, I picked up my fiddle late. I’m not aiming for Carnegie Hall or the Grand Ole Opry. I want to make music and find happiness while I play. Everything about that is optimistic. And optimism’s sister is gratitude. So thank you all for being part of my community of music!

    • I don’t think you can DECIDE to be an optimist any more than you can decide the sun will shine tomorrow. I believe it is possible to BECOME an optimist after experiencing life. You will never escape the bad stuff that happens in your life, but you CAN choose how you react to the bad stuff. That takes a lot of practice, believe me.

    • For me, optimism is an attitude and a choice. I’ve always been optimistic about most things in my life. Optimism has carried me through some difficult times in my life. And I’m a problem solver; I tend to believe that, no matter what, I can figure something out and find some sort of solution or pathway. Like most of us Fiddlehed students, I came to the fiddle later in life. I do like to set goals, but I really enjoy just being present with the fiddle sounds and the music. Makes me smile when I put that bow to the strings and just listen to the tones.

      Deliberate practice for me is the affirmation of all that’s optimistic. Just knowing I can follow those steps and find myself in the zone is optimistic. And I like what Debbie wrote — We have to be optimistic to have picked up the fiddle at whatever point in our lives we did so.

    • I think optimism is somewhat of an inborn trait. Can it be learned? Perhaps. To me there are 2 kinds of optimism – 1. Always having a viewpoint that everything will turn out to the positive before even beginning something, and 2. Optimism created by seeing progress in something you are doing that, although you may have doubted what you could accomplish at first when you see you are making progress, it in turns fuels optimism which in turn fuels the desire to work more/harder toward what you want to accomplish.

    • Optimism exists in some from birth born from either nurturing environments or necessity to. Even in challenging situations amidst setbacks and hardships, those with this trait survive. However, optimism is generally learned but you have to feel safe and secure – with yourself and the world around you to embrace it.

    • Jason, Thank you for this ‘Song-Scale-Skill framework. It will be very helpful for me. It comes at a good time for me. My biggest challenge is to get a good sound. Thanks for all you do to keep us motivated.
      Robert Goode

  • Nice!
    It might nice if you made a YouTube videos of you playing dulcimer for FiddleHed songs.
    That way others could play along with you…

  • jason kleinberg wrote a new post 4 months ago

    10 Common Beginner Violin Mistakes Do you want to successfully learn the violin? You’re bound to struggle and make mistakes along the way. That’s part of the learning process. And in […]

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