Practice, even if it doesn’t sound good

It’s easy to get discouraged if it doesn’t sound good. But try to become curious about the process. Experiment, fiddle around.

Change your approach somehow.

Even if it doesn’t sound good today, you still have to pick it up tomorrow.

18 responses to “Practice, even if it doesn’t sound good

  1. Your insights amaze me; obviously, you’ve been there.
    I’m 77, 78 in July. Time is short. I’m trying to learn the fiddle. I’m also retoughening my guitar-chording callouses after years and years away from it. At the same time, I’m making a deliberate effort to learn finger-picking on my guitar. Too often my fingers won’t obey and I fumble on the guitar, and the fiddle will sound dull and lifeless. But I know that it will sing with more care and effort. An hour later I can play a cascading series of finger-plucked guitar notes, and the fiddle will again sing. My wife in her sewing room compliments me: “it sounds good,” she says.
    After more than three-quarters of a century, I can truthfully advise: the most terrible agony is regret. Don’t let failure to perservere be yet another regret. No one stops walking after a stumble. Pick it up and take another step.

    1. Thank you graybyrd!
      You inspire us fellow beginners! I’m in my mid-40s, and am trying not to listen to the voices whispering that only people who started as children will ever be able to play well. I dont need to turn pro to be satisfied, but it would be nice to get good enough to play Irish Washerwoman some night with a little Irish ensemble at the local coffee house, or to learn enough double stops to play along at a Bluegrass festival parking lot jam session.
      And I, too, cannot bear regret. I’m old enough now to have had some. It is a most hateful, ugly thing, and I do anything possible to avoid it. Thank you for the reminder that I don’t want to create another one by giving up on this music that would make me so happy!
      Very best wishes!

  2. Thank you Jason for posting this article and thank you graybyrd for your inspiring words. I had a rough practice session today so this was a EXCELLENT pick me up to read. Keep on making that fiddle talk, keep on makin that fiddle sing graybyrd!

  3. I am 57 and truly trying to learn something new, both for the synaps (?) firing and my own piece of mind. Loving the process and totally loving you Mr. ‘Fiddlehed’! Fun. alone. making some scary sounds and alot of good ones too! I truly look forward each day to my practice! Had childhood music and lifelong love of listening. Hoping this whole thing carries me toward the next 20+ years of playing, having fun and listening more!

  4. I too started the viola at age 58 … it’s been 6 months and I am so glad I took the plunge and went forward with it. Fiddlehead is a fantastic resource of learning methods and encouragement !

  5. Thank you graybyrd, I’m 56 started learning the fiddle in Feb, I so times think I haven’t made much progress, but I started to record myself every couple of weeks and realise that it does sound better on the open strings, not so much on scales, but your post really cheered me up, all the best to you and your wee wife from scotland

  6. Thanks for the wise words, graybird! I’m 65 and trying to learn. Some days seem to go smoothly and I’m sounding ok while others I wonder why I’m doing this. I keep trying to maintain what the Buddhists call the beginners mind. I’m trying to stay focused on the present as opposed to wondering why I’m not at the future yet. I sometimes battle with my need to get it right. Daily practice is really helping me to get better little by little. Thanks Jason. You are awesome.

  7. I am 67 and I just started this past February. Thank you all for making me realize I’m not alone! I fell in love with the violin years ago, but never had the confidence to try. But when I heard Taylor Davis play – I knew that I wanted to “Play” … and I will ! And Jason, you’re the greatest … you make it fun!

  8. I’m 56 and want to get good enough on the fiddle to be able to do my own fiddle tracks so I dont have to keep paying fiddlers and trying to convey what I want. I’m delighted that the mando is tuned the same way as I often think, hmm mando doing this or that there would be cool.

  9. I am 80 and continue to learn everyday. I started classical violin when I was 66 and switched to fiddle four years ago. I love it! Thank you everyone for your welcoming words. And thank you, Jason, for your wisdom, patience and humor. You do make it fun!

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