Welcome to the Fall Practice Challenge 2020!

From October 5-18, you and fiddle students around the world will make music a regular part of your life. How? Set an intention to play every day for 14 days in a row.

The primary goal is to establish the habit of daily practice, and have the time of your life doing it! If music is a daily part of your life, then you are a musician. If you want to do this, you can. Simply do it every day.


Sign up!

Click the button to be an official practicipant in the FPC 2020. I’ll coach and cheer you on with emails throughout the challenge.

Sign up for the Fall Practice Challenge 2020

Do you want to take the challenge but not get emails from me? No worries. You’re still welcome to do the practice challenge on your own. Use the worksheet and connect with FiddleHeds in the comment section below.


FPC 2020 worksheet

I made this FPC 2020 worksheet to help you organize your practice.

FPC 2020 worksheet pdf


Five action steps

Here are four suggested action steps. If you don’t do any of these things, but still play every day for two weeks, then you successfully complete the challenge.

1. Decide on how much time you’ll practice each day.

  • Pick a minimum amount of time that you know you can do.
    • I suggest at least 20 minutes a day.
  • If you know in advance that you have to miss practice on a specific day, write that in your calendar or practice tracker before the challenge begins.

2. Track your practice. 

  • Print the FPC worksheet and use the practice tracker. Each day that you practice becomes another link in the chain. As the chain grows, you’ll get the emotional reward as you get closer to the goal.
  • Instead, you can also use a habit-tracking app (like Momentum) or a wall calendar to mark each day you practice. I like this old-school method!

 

3. What is your main practice focus?

  • Pick a primary aspect of playing you want to improve. Some ideas: bowing, playing in tune, old-time music, improvising, fingering & string crossing, etc.
  • Whatever you pick, work on something small and simple making an effort to improve the sound enough that you enjoy it.

4. Tell at least one other person what you are doing.

  • Start by saying hello to other practicipants in a comment below!
  • Telling friends, family and roommates is a public commitment that will encourage your practice. You also signal to everyone that music is important to you and to respect the time you take for it.

5. Monitor your performance through recording.

  • At the beginning of the practice challenge (October 5), make an audio recording or video of yourself playing the challenging new tune or technique.
  • Do the same thing at the end of the practice challenge (October 18)You’ll then review these performances to help you understand what improved and what still needs work.

What if I miss a day or two of practice?

If you miss a day or two, just keep going with the challenge. Remember the point of doing the FPC is to establish a good regular practice habit that’s fun and productive. It’s not about completing the worksheet. That’s just an aid. So if you get off track, just pick up the fiddle and play again today. Don’t give up.


Do you know someone else who might benefit from the FPC?

The FPC is open to anyone. So if you have a friend who is also learning an instrument, feel free to invite them to join in. It would help them and also help you.


Testimonials from previous challenges

I surveyed the 2019 practicipants after it was over. Over 93% of the people said they would do it again.

Here are some anonymously submitted comments from the survey:

  • “It was perfect for me because I finally nailed down HOW to practice. Each day was another very practical way of learning.”
  • “It got me to practice every day for 20 minutes-a realistic goal.”
  • “I established a connection with two other beginning fiddlers my age for continued exchange and support.”
  • “I enjoyed the daily tips, but most surprisingly the participants page and the comments and shared struggles. The videos people posted helped tremendously.”
  • “How much I improved with daily, focused practice….. you were right :)”

Further learning

If you want to learn more about practice read the following articles:

The Two-Minute Rule

How To Practice Consistently

Don’t Break The Chain

How To Track Your Practice

How To Improve Your Fiddling Through Recording 


Let’s do it

I’m asking you to take yourself seriously as a musician. What does that mean? You are a musician if you play every day. I encourage you to approach the practice challenge with a sense of adventure and fun. What a great thing it is to play music, and you’re going to do it every day!

Thanks for taking part, now go fiddle with it…

Jason

410 responses to “Fall Practice Challenge 2020 – Home Page

  1. Signed up and looking forward to it. Some unexpected life problems have stopped me practicing for the last two two weeks. This will kick start me into playing again.

      1. Hey Y’all…from Big Island of Hawaii… very cool Challenge! Love all your comments.
        I’m fiddling on Pretty Little Dog, Ashokan Farewell, Ark Traveller with ultimate goal Amarillo By Morning…

        all with the goal of relaxed fluency & tone….and slowing DOWN the practice!

        Also been blessed to be working with bluegrass guitar for 4 yrs with Jack Tottle…the founder of the Bluegrass Program at EastTennStateU (so lucky to have him as our Big Island neighbor!

    1. It’s SO easy to do that. There is A TON of things to work on. Getting lost in all of it is a given. I have to remind myself this all the time. Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting better because I’m all over the place to much, so that’s when I step back and focus on one thing or one song for a few days.

  2. Whoa! Super cool!! Look at all these musicians signing up! Glad Jason started this so we can connect! I’m @mini_moose_ak on Instagram, which I recently joined, if anyone wants to follow me there.
    👍🏽🎻 😎

  3. This is awesome! Jason, love what you do and exited to be feeling like I’m not standing alone in a room driving the dogs insane with my fiddle…even though that is exactly what I do.

  4. I’m in! Excited for this and to participate with my fellow Fiddleheds. My goals: improve my intonation to the point where my cat doesn’t leave the room when I practice. 🤣

  5. Thank you for organizing this Jason.

    I have many challenges on the go, workout 5am, knit 8pm, read 10pm, fiddle 6h30pm! I got this!

    Goal is to warm up with scales and a couple of tunes, learn a new tune on the Monday and practise until Sunday. I should have two new tunes learned by the end of the challenge!

    Kimberley

    1. Hey Kimberly! Same here! I workout with weights when I get up at 1 and work 16 to 18 hours outdoors. We can do this!
      My goals are to get better at the D scale, complete 3 more lessons and play Swallowtail Jig all the way through. 🎻😎😁

      1. Wow!! 16 to 18 hours! How do you have time to fiddle?

        I’m doing a 90 day challenge workout program.

        I am working on Smash the Windows. I would like to play it with more rhythm and improve my bowing.

        I am learning The Tennessee Waltz and would like to play it with a few grace and ornamental notes by Saturday.

        My practices are 45min to an hour.

        Good luck with Swallowtail Jig! It’s on my list to learn.

  6. i need more structure to my practice as I’ve been too easygoing with it. Although i play just for pleasure, i think if i don’t feel as though I’m progressing my efforts will tail off so I’m keen to try this. Let’s go!

  7. I’ve only been playing for a few months, so this sounds scary but with encouragement from my husband I signed up! I think I did it correctly, I entered my email and name and hit subscribe. It that it?

  8. Who else is working in Jerusalem Ridge? I got most of the first couple of parts but have been resisting (been lazy) with moving forward with the rest. And always working on Orange Blossom Special (over a year now). Two challenging songs I know but helps with a lot of skills.

    1. I’ve been working on Jerusalem Ridge too. I can play with the practice track just fine, all the way to the end. I sure can’t get that rhythm though. Something is just missing and I can’t figure it out.
      You’re working on the OBS? I dare to dream. 😀

      1. OBS is one of those songs that takes a long time to sound good. I “know how” to play it, which is a bit different than playing it well. Has helped to improve my double stops.

        Jerusalem Ridge is taking a bit more patience than I expected. With all the different parts it’s like learning about 5 or 6 different songs all at once.

  9. Pretty sure I already set too many goals for myself for these two weeks, but here they are:
    Ashokan Farewell: work on intonation and flow. Video to see where I need to improve.
    Arran Boat Song: Continue to work on intonation and flow. Video to see where I need to improve
    I’ll Fly Away: Work on adding variation and smoothing it out. I always feel so clunky when I try to add rhythmic variation!
    Falling Star (a song I wrote). Work on playing the long notes during verses while singing, also practice lead. Video to make sure it’s in tune, ha ha!

  10. I’m looking forward to participating, and have decided to simplify my goals. I will practice Jason’s Tuning Exercises (found in the Library, Call and Response Central) on a couple of strings every single day. I will practice at least one and a half hour per day. Plus, I will get back on track with keeping logs in the practice journal— I let the journal slip when time got scarce, even though I continued to play everyday. I’ve worked hard on intonation and it’s there 99% of the time. However, when I work on the Tuning Exercises (usually twice a week), the following day I find that every single pitch is effortlessly precise. Can’t wait to hear the results after two weeks of intensive training!

  11. Working on “Tennessee Wagoner” has a double shuffle part. Also 2 Appalachian songs “Home With the Girls in the Morning” and “Lonesome John” strung together. Quite a few slides, double stops, and slurs. Will be a lot of fun!

  12. time to get practising again. been a bit lax lately working 6 days a week and with other things. will need to start with bowing practice and string crossings

  13. Fell off the fiddle wagon with massive face mask-making and too many Zooms. Hopping back on with “Pretty girl milking her cow” and focusing esp. on intonation and 3/4 time bowing.

  14. My first step is to get the poor old fiddle out of its case and see if I can remember any tunes from those I gave up on rather a long time ago. Then see if I can track down the most recent tune I thought (about nine months ago) it would be fun to learn, and spend a fortnight learning and practising it. I need technique but I’m going to incorporate it into the tune practise by repeating little segments in different ways.

  15. I’m looking forward to the practice every day time because I’ve slacked off completely. I took lessons for a couple of years but played cajun songs that I didn’t know, thus it made it hard for me to practice and learn. Now, I’ll learn English songs that I know how to sing and that will make the learning much easier. Thanks for the help and encouragement.

  16. I forgot to post that I started learning how to play a fiddle when I retired at 68 and now it’s ten years later and I’m starting again. I joined a strings group in my church and I’m loving it….. Here we go…..

    1. I don’t know if I should reply, but I am. I took up the fiddle when I retired also, that was 6 years ago and I am still at it. Nice to see someone my age here (73) Pam

      1. Hi, Pam:
        I always loved banjo and played it a bit off and on. Same as you, retirement gave me the opportunity to pursue music so I started fiddle 18 months ago and I love it! Never too late to follow your passions. Last year here I met a 2 fellow fiddlers and we get together on Zoom almost weekly. You might want to consider that for support and fun.
        best of luck,
        Kay

    1. Hi
      Julia, impressed with your video. Do you use a camera to make videos? I think it woukd help my practice to video myself (even if the thought makes me cringe a bit!😱)

      1. Thanks – I actually used an old iMac for this. I am surprised by how helpful it is to just watch yourself and notice, being your own teacher as Jason says. I always try to be too ambitious and overlook the details.

    2. Love your tunes! Thanks for the video post. I only know “Irish Washerwoman” and “ Flowers of Edinburgh”. I’d love to learn “King of Fairies” and “Clark’s Case” eventually.

    3. I enjoyed your video very much. Very encouraging. I’m a 66 year old grandma living in Maryland. You have a lot of courage to post your video as I won’t even let my husband listen to me yet. Playing through FiddleHed for a little over a year. Its been such a blessing to have this learning experience during this dreadful pandemic. Thank you. (Susan)

  17. After a long time of jumping around and only using the site as it would let me Jason told me how to start from the beginning and that’s what I’m doing half of the time it would not let me on as a member and the other half I didn’t know how to navigate / I will learn to play more scales With some flow and try to learn the second half of the Tennessee waltz with correct intonation

  18. I’m all in. I’m working on the chromatic scale, cleaner more natural sounding doublestops, but mostly, just picking up that fiddle and making sure I play every day. Good luck everybody. Let’s stay Motivated, Dedicated, and All Fired Up.

  19. Just what I needed…a practice challenge. I put my instrument down in April due to lack of fun in person jam sessions. I went camping this past weekend with my bluegrass buddies, fiddled lots and swore when I got back yesterday that I would start playing daily even if it was only for a few minutes and this morning I received the challenge email. PERFECT TIMING! Thanks for motivating us!

  20. First day. I was more disciplined in my practice and spent quite a bit of time on scales and my sound. Then played some tunes I like. I realise I tend to the slower tunes so need to add faster ones to my repertoire !

  21. I just bought an electric violin, and boy is it different than my acoustic… feel like I’m starting all over again.. but i have made a commitment to my band to learn 4 new songs with it, so, i am accepting this practice challenge to keep me on track

  22. I will be experimenting with my Electric Violin, Effects and Looper. Goal is to practice 4 Tunes for a New Set List!.
    Focusing on technique, intonation, some improvisational variations. Basically trying to incorporate things learned to this point.
    Will be using pentatonics, modes, arpeggios, some slides, embellishments, 4th finger use and positions. Here are “The Tunes”.
    1. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd / To play over a backtrack with some FX
    2. In the Light (Intro) – Led Zeppelin / To play over a Cello Drone in A with Delay+Reverb
    3. Innisheer / Play Acoustic Fiddle over my own Acoustic Guitar Backtrack.
    4. Ashoken Farewell / Play on Acoustic Fiddle

    1. After a little over 3 months my cat doesn’t (always) leave the room when I practice. Practicing 2-3 hours a day, now working on clean string crossing, scales, long smooth bowing with metronome and 3 tunes; This Land is Your Land, I’ll Fly Away, Keep On The Sunny Side, and just started on Blackberry Blossom as a 4th finger exercise. Have worked through the beginner exercises and concentrate on the ones that need work. Slurs come easy, clean string crossing not so much. Just recorded the above 3 tunes and will see how much improvement after the Challenge.

  23. I went out and bought a small sound system to help with practice today – I think it will help to learn how to play into a microphone, and it will also help with making my back-up tracks loud enough to use effectively. A new direction seems to motivate me more. Thanks, Jason!

    1. Oops! Forgot to mention what I’m working on the next two weeks. I’m a new student to Fiddlehed (I took lessons years ago back in the 80’s but haven’t done much with it since then, now that I’m retired I’m ready to fiddle!! My main focus, besides becoming a better fiddler, is old time hymns and my goal is to play in a gospel band) Jason has soooo many lessons, it’s hard to choose. I need to learn scales, so I decided to stick with the Key of D. I need to focus on playing in tune, so I started today looking at his “Playing in Tune” video. I will be practicing with drones and using a tuner I downloaded on my phone. I will practice tunes that are in the Key of D, like Arkansas Traveler, Bile-em-Cabbage Down and Ashokan Farewell. Got any other tunes in mind for key of D? Please let me know in comments below!

  24. Okay, I’m in. I truly hope I can stick with it without “life” hindering me. My goal: consistency in timing. I find that I’m good for a couple of measures, and then I just fall all over the place.
    Good luck everyone!

  25. I practice every day anyway but I’ll do the challenge anytime. I am still a beginner. I would also like to join an on line practice group. I am in Mooresville, NC. If anyone is near me I would love to meet and get together for live practice. My name is Doug

  26. I am looking forward to finishing up Module 1.5 and starting the next. Also, anxiously waiting to pick up my new “old” fiddle from a luthier who is getting it set up for me. I have been borrowing one from a dear friend. Thanks for holding the FPC! Great idea!

  27. I am going to be playing scales and first position fingerings blindfolded for 14 days for the challenge. I’ve herd that’s a great way to master intonation. I agree, but I’ve never tried it. I figured it’s a perfect challenge for this.

      1. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve also discovered that I need to work on my Bowing. 😖 It’s impressive how much sound you pick up when you can’t see and only listen👂

  28. This challenge came at the perfect time for me! I was playing regularly for several months and then life got in the way. We are preparing to move, so are packing, showing the house and also house-hunting, Between that stress and the news, I realized I have not been taking good enough care of myself and have been feeling on edge. Playing my fiddle is part of my self-care, and I am ready to get back to it!

  29. So i’m going to be camping in the desert over the weekend and its not practical to take my fiddle with me… but figure it will still help me be consistent the rest of the days!

  30. This is perfect timing for me because I am meeting my Dad and his jamming group in December and I want to play with joy not fear. Practicing will help me be ready!

  31. Ok, here we go. Every day for 2 weeks. That alone is a challenge since I have to stuff my fiddle into a 737 cockpit as rip around the country. But I’m looking forward to it. I think i will try to revisit the tunes I once knew and have lost.

  32. FiddleHed Gayle here from Central Oregon. Pledged to 30 minutes a day, learning a new tune each week (just started on the bonus Irish tune, Over the Ocean, from module 2.3) as well as cleaning up my bowing techniques and working on double stops, and told my husband, my 98-year-old mom (who always got me to practice my accordion lessons as a kid), and now you guys. Happy to be part of this enthusiastic group!

  33. Well I do practice every day but I am going to try and be more disciplined and work on good sound and better string crossing. I tend to just play tune after tune and speed through tough bits.

  34. Day 2. During the challenge I hope to: 1) develop a more disciplined approach to practicing, which will include keeping a record of what I have done and intend to do. 2) Work on playing scales in different ways so I enjoy them and learn the names of different scales. 3) Learn two new songs and polish old favourites. To do all this I need to break my nervousness about videoing/recording myself so will also attempt that. I hope to practice a minimum of 30 minutes a day but hope to do two lot of 30 minute practice one in the morning and one in the evening.

  35. Since the early days of the pandemic, I’ve been meeting with a couple friends twice a week and we jam under a bridge next to a creek where we can distance from one another, be outside, and take advantage of the good acoustics. We’ve been concentrating on several fiddle tunes, so this week I’m practicing Soldiers Joy – trying the be more precise, adding variations, and trying to increase the tempo.

  36. Good morning, 72 yo new fiddle player here in the UK. Started playing five months ago as a pandemic lockdown project. I already play the banjo and mandolin so had a fund of tunes to go at, but using a bow is something else!
    I intend to practice for at least 30 mins every day, concentrating on my intonation and bowing technique, in particular double stops and learn at least one old timey tune a week.

    Thanks Jason for your all your work and enthusiasm,

    1. WOW ! That was just great !! Thanks for sharing – that took a lot of courage, but honestly helped me so much to watch and listen to your work. I love the tune. I did have to look up what “fortnight” means but now I know haha ! Thanks again !

      1. You are an excellent fiddler. You sound quite good. I do not hear the squeaks you speak of. Your rolls are super excellent. Very authentic. I want to do rolls like that.

        A thought might be that you are not getting an even pressure on the string from your bow. Doing long slow bow strokes keeping the tone even from tip to frog And watching to see that the bow is relatively straight might help.

  37. Thanks for this Jason.
    I will mainly be practicing G major D major and D pentatonic scales.
    Tunes little liza jane, Danny boy, ode to joy and Maggie in the woods.
    Paying attention to being relaxed and making as good a sound as possible with accurate left hand finger positioning. Most importantly enjoying the time.
    Only you and my wife know about the challenge.
    I will practice about one and a half hours each day in 15 to 20 minute chunks.
    Good luck to everyone one x

  38. I start with scale warm up, then variations on scale rhythm for about ten minutes. Next I’m trying to do double stop scales -very challenging. Also playing over chord progressions and drones. I’ve told my wife. Don’t see much of anyone else currently.

  39. Hi everyone, I’m a day late but excited to join! Practicing at least 20 minutes a day, I want to improve tone, tuning, and string crossing. I also want to just find some good consistent ways of practicing, as I have a tendency to just play a tune through and not really *practice* it to improve. Another goal is to make some fiddle friends!

  40. Hi all, I’ve been playing for 2 yrs. I haven’t played much due to injuring my arm. I have been working on building strength in my arm and it’s getting better. So with that being said I will start off with practicing for 30minutes. Work on being more relaxed while playing. Practice my scales. Learn 1 song tll it’s embedded in my head (I have a hard time memorizing)

  41. Setting my goal at 15 minutes a day. Yesterday was scale warmups, then Swallowtail Jig and Arran Boat Song.Today was scale warmups, then Swallowtail Jig, then playing descending G scale along with Friend of the Devil 😀

  42. I liked this the last time. I was practicing anyway, but it made me focus better.
    I particularly like your phrase- “if you play every day, then you are a musician.”

    Everybody wants to be in that club.
    No assertions are made regarding the quality of the musician, but we’re getting to that, day by day.
    The sense of a community of dedicated players, studying in parallel, is encouraging in this strange time.

  43. I have a new to me fiddle. I’m learning it. It feels very different from my rental one. I am working on getting a good sound on all the strings. I’m practicing intervals scales in G and C. I am also memorizing Angelina the Baker (the one fiddle tune my jam group plays that I have somewhat learned). I intend to practice twice daily for 20 minutes. I’m telling you and I’m sharing with a young fiddler in Indiana via Facebook.

    Mary Reid

  44. I’ve played for 1 1/2 yrs now off and on. These past few months have been tough getting any motivation. But I like this challenge because I think it will give me a boost again. I love the violin but sometimes more on the box than playing. I’ve trying to practice 30mins a day and working on a small but loaded piece from the essentials for strings book. Thank you so much for doing the awesome kick start challenge. 🙂

  45. I’m planning to practice at least 20 minutes. It’s not much but way better than nothing! I’m working on the Swallowtail Gig, which I love. I’ve told my husband, and a flute-playing friend. I videoed the tune yesterday and will do it again in a week or so.

  46. One of my goals is to improve my playing on Ashokan Farewell, one of the tunes I’m currently learning. Here’s my day 1 video; trying to be brave by posting here! 🙂 I’m working on intonation, flow, and trying to use more of the bow. It was helpful for me to see this video because I can see here that I am only using a teeny tiny bit of the bow closer to the frog. Also I feel like my string crossings are way clunky, so I’m trying to work on smoothing that out. Obviously I need a lot of work on intonation as well. I have been playing since late August 2020 and I absolutely love the Fiddlehed site and YouTube channel!

  47. My goal is to get in 30-45 minutes a day, and to make sure I am breaking down the songs I practice into smaller pieces. I tend to just play them straight through every time, which means I don’t really work on the tricky bits or on sound quality for specific notes.

  48. Great fun everyone ! Personally I’m going back to the basics – bow hold, volume control, speed control, technical stuff that is not much fun but I know will help me in the long run. (also – Cherokee Shuffle, June Apple, and Top of Cork Road cause Fiddlin’ is FUN above all !!)

  49. Hi everyone! I am signing on more to force myself to be social about my (attempts at) playing.

    I will practice between 30 and 60 minutes each day. (sometimes it will be in bits).

    And my list of what to primarily focus on is way too long to call it primary- . So I’m not going to mention playing in tune or string crossings or trying to start vibrato etc. etc.

    Instead, I’m going to take a song I’ve wanted to learn and focus on that. It is Out on the Ocean. I’m an ocean swimmer (just did a 10k last week) and want to play everything with Ocean or water in the title LOL! I’m more a beginner than and intermediate but I’m going to give it a shot.

  50. Hi, I am working on low first and second finger, tone quality and getting that chromatic scale down and adding another song to my list. I am dedicating 30 minutes a day to these particular goals .

  51. I signed up for the practice challenge to improve my sound. I have been playing scales and arpeggios. I want to eventually be able to shift from 1st to 3rd position and play a 3 octave scales. I enjoy playing and watching your lesson videos. Thanks!

  52. Hello. As a 2 year now beginner I will hopefully moving forward to the next stage by focusing more on technique.
    I am also working on If I Ever Leave this World Alive by Flogging Molly in the hopes of performing with my friends. I have started recording myself and hope to submit a video of my progress🥴
    Sandy

  53. I am just a beginner, on Mod. 1.6, and I like discipline and order so this challenge will help me, I hope. I am having difficulties playing the “Bile em Cabbage Down” fast enough. I am hoping to get this on down! I am also trying to make my bowing more precise – I tend to hit other strings, particularly when I cross strings. I am totally enjoying learning to play!!!

  54. My goal is to practice 20 minutes every day. I am focusing on just working through the D scale and G scale with good sound. I keep thinking if I can enjoy the path and focus on my sound that I will play notes ten thousand times and start to sound good without so much effort!

  55. I haven’t played regularly for the past two years and so my first focus for the FPC is to practice for 20 minutes every day. I know if I tune the fiddle and play for at least 20 minutes, I’ll likely play for longer. For a few days I’ll work on scales (I especially love the pentatonic scales you’ve taught), then I’ll add in an Irish tune to work on as well.

  56. I have been playing for 9 months. I am trying to practice for 20 mins per day. Hoping to improve my tone, which is inconsistent at the moment, by playing tunes. Working on the Cradle Song by Calum Scott Skinner and trying the harmony line for this. Have found trying to loop short sections very useful. I know this will take time.

  57. My goal with this challenge is to practice 20-30 minutes a day, working more on scales and bowing techniques, and focusing more on memorizing tunes. I told my husband that I am doing this, so hopefully, that makes me stick to it:)

  58. Only got in an hour, 45 min. practice yesterday. 2 hours is my usual goal, will do it today. Same sched., long bowing, intonation (I slide up from flat, eyes closed) then look at my tuner to see how close I came, now pretty close ! Scales, including F now. Decided to learn Waltzing Matilda, it looks fairly simple. My scheme for learning new tunes is; I must know what it sounds like beforehand, and I must like the tune. Near term goal is to work on playing various note values using the metronome. I have trouble coordinating bow movement/sustain with metronome, compared to doing it on the banjo where it is easier to coordinate with foot tapping, my usual technique.

  59. Hi! My goal is to practice for 30 minutes per day. Ten minutes will be to work on a new song, ten minutes will be dedicated to technique (such as chords and scales), and ten minutes will be spent playing songs I know and just having fun. I’m shy, but do hope to post something online. I’ve enjoyed viewing videos from those of you who have posted already. I found Fiddlehed from watching videos at lunch. I struggle with chords and found Jason’s 4 videos on chording very helpful.

  60. I am working on Billy in the Lowground, which is a challenge since it’s in the key of C. I’m standing up as much as possible while I play, just to be different. I plan to practice at least 15 minutes every day during the FPC. Thanks for motivating me, Jason!

  61. I am working on a few songs that I really love and hope to be able to play with beautiful intonation and flow eventually: Ashokan Farewell, Danny Boy and Lovers Waltz. I told my family about this practice commitment of 30 minutes a day so they will keep me honest. I did a video but am too ashamed to post it. I saw the day 1 posted above and it was just beautiful! Maybe later I’ll be able to do one without swearing, lol! Thanks so much for keeping us motivated, you are the best!

  62. Hi Jason,
    I missed the first day of practice but I will add an extra day to the end.

    – I’m a renewed newbie
    – I going to work on scales, simple exercises, bowing and chords.
    – I’d like to be able to play Marie’s Wedding and The Road to Lisdonvarna at the end of two weeks as a newbie. And hopefully continue practicing so that after 3months I’ll be able to do those songs some justice.
    – I’m telling you folks in this group about my intention to: Practice for 15 to 30 minutes everyday.

    I wish everyone good luck and happy fiddling ☺️🎻

  63. Day two and I’m motivated and excited. I plan to work on double stops, improving my tone and honing a few select tunes. I’ve been playing a lot of songs from The Waltz Book by Bill Matthieson (highly recommend – there are several volumes and with wonderful, varied collections of waltzes) and plan to focus on a few of those.

    Love this site and Jason’s approach, tips and inspiration. Thank you, Jason!

  64. I’m working on scales, double stops, exercise to build up to (hopefully) vibrato (someday), really into Klezmer lately and playing Hava Nagila and starting Berdichiever Khosid.
    I’ve only been playing since January but practice and hour or two a day.
    I love it so much.

  65. I’m still in module 1.1, completing the string crossing exercises. I’ve told my wife, and plan to keep at it to be able to play with my bluegrass band someday!

  66. Hello, I’ll try to play John Ryan Polka with more confidence, good sound and rapidity. I learn also the begining of the Canon of Pachelbel, scales and rythm.
    I’m french speaking. I play since one year, +/- 1hour /pro week.

  67. I’ll be learning “Wayfaring Stranger” for the challenge and focusing on smooth transitions with the bow when I cross strings. I still hear some squeaking when I try to play any tune fast, so I need to work on slowing things down. I plan to practice 30 minutes a day. My goal is to get as far as being able to sing while playing background chords. If I focus on one song for the challenge, I know I can do it.

  68. Hi Jason, I love your work!
    I plan to practise at least 30 minutes a day, comprising 10 minutes technique, 10 minutes new tune and 10 minutes revision. I am also hoping to be able to play the basic version of Ashokan Farewell by ear at the end of 2 weeks.
    Thank you for all your great resources.
    Best wishes, Peter W

  69. Hi everyone,
    I am planning to at least 30 -60 minutes a day . Lots of scales, but working on double stops, duets, ( which I am in love with) and some new tunes. i have shared with my best friend and my husband ( also my best friend). Right now I love love love the Swallowtail Jig duet, and also Planxty Irwin. Gotta go…it’s late and I have to get my fiddle on….

  70. I exceeded my goal of 40 min. I played Long Long Ago and Wildwood Flower for warm up and fun. I used the play along in 1.3 D major scale and also 2 octave exercise for 3rd position from an exercise book I’m assigned. Also worked on 3 problem areas from a piece I am working on for lessons. My husband plays guitar so I am starting the first fiddle break for Wagon Wheel. I really love Jason’s video lessons on that. It was a great second day!

  71. Hellloooo everyone! I’ve been starting and stopping with the fiddle for a few years now as life events kind of take over and I was just about to stop subscribing to Fiddle Hed when I logged on and saw the practice challenge! I decided to give it a go again and I’m happy to say I loved making some noise with my fiddle which I haven’t touched since coronavirus landed. Thanks Jason! I’m looking forward to re-committing to practicing! I’ve told my son (who’s a great banjo player and was my inspiration for picking up the fiddle in the first place) and my cousin. Intending to practice 30 minutes a day!

      1. Hi @juliag,

        Don’t sweat this too much. What did you use to film yourself?

        I just noticed that on the YouTube phone app, there is not an option to post the embed share link. However on a desktop computer, if you go to your video on YouTube, you can copy what’s known as an embed link there.

        1. I’m using an old iMac to video and edit. But I’m using my Macbook Air to log in to your page here. It is the YouTube embed link that I’m pasting, but it seems to come out half baked, somehow. Technology, eh. Cant live with it, can’t live without it!

  72. Did not get signed up until this morning. But I did practice the first 2 days of the challenge. I am going to be working on intonation. I am impressed with the people who have posted a recording of themselves! I am in a trio (Oyster Crackers) we sing songs of hope and inspiration; an eclectic mix of Americana, Celtic and original music. Some of our repertoire is a cappella, we also accompany ourselves on guitar, fiddle and mandolin. We did a recording at the Columbia Theater in Longview, WA last week which will live stream probably in November. The videographer will edit the concert, thank goodness. I need this practice challenge these days and I need all the incentive I can find! Thank you Jason for your wonderful site and this practice challenge!

  73. Well I made it to Day 2 – didn’t expect to play today as I’d had to start work at 5 am and thought I’d be too dopy to do anything this evening. So I told myself I’d just do 10 minutes …. which became 45! I didn’t have a clear plan, so I went back to the Blackest Crow lesson Jason sent as a try-out and then moved onto the drone exercises. That was completely new to me and seems like a good starting point as when I played as a kid I was never too sure whether I was in tune or not (probably not most of the time LOL!).

  74. I have been playing for a while, and I bought a new fiddle. I didn’t put tape frets on this one. I want to make sure I am playing the notes correctly, so I look at the Pano Tuner app in my phone while I play scales to make sure I have accurate finger placement. When I play a song, I am starting to be able to immediately hear when the note I’m playing is too high or too low and adjust my finger placement without looking at the tuner. In addition to scales, I am also learning “Coleraine.” I try to play for an hour a day.

  75. Hey Y’all from Big Island Hawaii… Feeling well inspired by you all and the Challenge! Been delighted with progress on Pretty Little Dog & Ashokan Farewell.
    Scared to record myself? Naw—but scared to listen to it!
    Aloha for now—Forrest & FiddleHedSandra

  76. Hi from Saint John, NB. These fiddle challenges are a great idea! I’m working on improving my sound by concentrating more on each note. Been working on St. Anns Reel, which I use as my cellphone ringtone. The recording idea really shows the difference practice makes, over time. Also working on Cantina Band theme, You’ve got a Friend in Me, Waltzing Matilda and playing along to other random music…which I dont find easy to do well.

    Thank you very much for your interest and for everything you have done and continue to do, in regards to sharing your fiddle knowledge! 🙂

  77. I’m trying to play every day, healing from a frozen shoulder, but it’s getting there!
    I’ve been working on Si bheag Si mhor, not ready to post a vid yet…

      1. Aw, thank you Jason! I don’t know why my embed code didn’t work; I must have done something wrong. I’ll keep trying! The song is one I wrote and I usually play guitar on it but hopefully I can manage the fiddle part at some point. In any case it is a good exercise to work on. 🙂

        1. Wow, that’s a brilliant idea, to sing against a drone and play with different harmonies! I might steal that. I couldn’t embed either, I think we don’t have access as guests, that’s my conclusion. Looking forward to more of your songs!

  78. I’m on day 3 of playing blindfolded and it’s not as intimidating as you would think. I’ve been playing for 3 years on and off again though, so I have a little bit of muscle memory going for me. When you play scales or finger positions blindfolded, you really get a clear idea of your sound. You train your ear to hear when your off pitch vary quickly.

  79. Well, it’s day four and after watching other people’s inspiring videos, I finally summoned up the courage to submit one of my own.
    I won’t go into listing the faults but it’s a work in progress and I’m really enjoying the journey.
    Best wishes to all learners out there sharing the challenge. It’s a great idea!

  80. Thanks for the kick in the pants! Caregiving for my mom in a different state has me away from my usual routine and only playing when my group, Sheltering In Place, gets together. This challenge is the reset and encouragement I needed to play every day. Working on tunes, intonation, and bowing. Remembering to take some time to listen, too. Singing the tunes definitely helps to get them in my ear and into my fingers.

  81. I am working on bowing, flexible wrist, getting a strong sound and double stops. Thanks to the FPC for getting me back to music. It’s been hard to play since Covid because I miss the personal contacts of my teacher and fellow fiddle club members. 3days of practicing about 1 hour a day! I got this!

    1. Oh well, that didn’t entirely work!
      – Using my little finger
      – Sluring with string crossing
      – Getting more of a syncopated sound
      – tune of the week: Hobart’s Transformation

  82. Hello fellow Fiddlehed’s, I’ll be practicing 1 hour each day, from 10-11am which works out well for me. My focus will be on playing in tune and hitting the notes the first time, can’t get enough of that. My 3rd finger is usually sharp on the A string and flat on the D string so I’m working on consistently finding that sweet spot. It’s a struggle. I’ve audio recorded a few of my practices but the video/YouTube part is more of a challenge. Seem to spend more valuable time trying to figure out how to do that when I’d rather play. I hope to accomplish that task soon.
    I’ve been a student of Jason’s on Fiddlehed since May of 2020 and really enjoy his style of teaching. He is a godsend and a real motivator! I’ve recently started lesson 1.8, The High Road and the Low Road and am enjoying the section on Dorian scales, replaying the earlier tunes like O’Keefe’s Slide, Ballydesmond Polka, Cluck Old Hen, and a new tune called Road to Lisdonvern. Love that one! I work the scales for 10-15mins just to get my left hand and my ears calibrated. I also enjoy the challenge of the Pedal Exercises II a fun, zoned-in workout shifting between the naturals and the sharps. Wow! Plenty to work on!! I’m on the injured list with a bad case of tendonitis in the left elbow, but working through it. It only hurts when I try to put the fiddle down. 😊
    I’ve told my very patient and supportive wife about the FPC and my neighbor/fellow musician down the street who is still on the fence whether to pick up the fiddle again.
    Thanks Jason for all you do for us!!!
    Brett

  83. Still working on Blackberry Blossom, the 4th finger isn’t a problem but I realized that I didn’t have the tune in my ‘audio memory’ as firmly as I thought which causes me problems in the B part so will listen to more recordings/videos to get it ‘fixed’ better. Jason’s lesson is invaluable too. Still have plenty of time to practice, 3 hours yesterday which included Jason’s beginner Zoom session. I don’t have video recording capability on my desk top, yet, so will work on getting a camera.

  84. Jeff here doing well on practice not getting bogged down enjoying it working on scales,rythms and bowing technique to make tunes sound better I put my mute on the strings and jam away. And Jason thanks for encouragement and lessons.

  85. This is just the motivation I needed. Recording myself (😏) but also reviewing old favorites and picking out new tunes (Snowden’s Jig). Great to see all the inspiration on this site.

  86. Hey guys and Jason, looks great and thanks. Here’s my plan for the 14 days:
    – Long whole bows, open strings, speed = 77. Focusing HARD on maintaining sound point and drawing parallel bows. 5 minutes
    – 4th finger tone quality. 3 min.
    – Cmaj scale, 2 octaves, 1st and 3rd pos, separate bows, whole, half quarter, 8th notes, speed = 77. 7 minutes.
    – 1st finger to 4th finger descending string crossing lower half of bow esp. at frog. Example: A1 to D4. 5 minutes.
    – Spiccato. Trying to get rid of the clicky-clicky sound. Using Kreutzer 2 and Mozart Rondo for this. 10 minutes. Long, uphill battle.
    – Tune: The Glen Road to Carrick. Trying to learn the Irish triplets. 10 minutes
    – Double stop scale, 3rds, in Cmaj. This is a very challenging drill for shifting. 10 min. Another long uphill battle.
    – Sevcik Op. 2 #29. 5 min
    – Tunes: Whiskey Before Breakfast, St. Anne’s Reel, Cold Frosty Morning, Kitchen Girl, Lonesome Moonlight Waltz. 5 min.
    Thanks guys! Pete in Bikersfield

    1. Nice! The first few bars of that remind me of a tune I think I know but just can’t remember. It wasn’t called Hobart’s Transgressions though. Isn’t it annoying when that happens! I think it might have been one from Aly Bain.

  87. Day 4: I learned the other part and improved the rest. but I don’t understand why when I’m concentrated on playing I make those terrible expressions, I can’t look at myself 😮 does that happen to you too?
    [youtube]

      1. I loved that performance! Your expressions are quite normal compared to what I do when I’m trying too hard… Also, I don’t think it’s possible for us to embed videos, I think Jason has to do it, because I am having the same problem no matter what I do, the code isn’t interpreted right.

  88. I do the same thing with terrible expressions, not even aware that I do it until I watch the video. But I did not notice any terrible expressions when you played, and you play very well! I also copied the embedded link and did not work as expected.

  89. Hi Jason! I’m on board!
    I’m from Argentina. So far, I’m practicing every day.
    I decided to practice 1 hour each day. I’ll be focusing on improving my vibrato and interpretation on “El día que me quieras”, a tango by Carlos Gardel. And I’m trying to get better at Allemande, a violin transcription from Cello Suite 1 by Bach!

  90. Hey Jason, Thanks for the Fall Practice Challenge. I didn’t realize how serious I was taking myself until I video taped myself playing a tune (first time to video tape myself playing). After watching the video, I’ve decided to lighten up and just have fun. So what if I don’t sound great or good, I’m having fun now. It is also great to see all the great responses on the Fall Practice Challenge page. I’m practicing every day for about an hour and having a blast.
    Thanks again and Fiddle On!

  91. I already practice 60-90 minutes per day. In fact, since the pandemic erupted, I pretty much gave up the guitar and singing. Each day, it’s the fiddle… Such satisfaction! I have been working on cajun music – thank you, Jason….Fais Do Do. But recently I’ve been working on the Cajun standard, ” Lovebridge Waltz” Each practice session I practice the A and D scale using the drones….What a help!
    I started out on a cheap Ebay fiddle (complete setup $15 including shipping). For over a year I tuned it in reverse: E D A G. I even played ” Danny Boy” at my mothers’s memorial wake – nobody knew the difference. The fiddle I have now is a Becker from a thrift store – such a sweet girl. Good luck to everyone….I loves Fiddlehed!

  92. It’s cool to see so many posts and so many people practicing. I don’t know anyone personally that plays so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. So it’s day 4, tho only day 3 for me and I am REALLY struggling with this song I’m focusing on. Out on the Ocean. I’m too much a beginner for it, but I’m determined to at least memorize it in hopes then I can play a little more in tune. I’ll keep at it. In the end I hope to share a video but there are way too many blunders at this point.


  93. Arkansas Traveler, Focusing on tunes in key of D this week. Practicing the key to play more accurately in tune. Using a tuner app that I installed on my phone.

  94. omg, this week! I was so happy to have a challenge presenting to me at the beginning of what I hoped was the beginning of a 2-week+ vacation (during which I will go nowhere, because…obvious). Had a very relaxing day 1, discovered practice challenge and decided Yes! this is for me (even though Day 1 was a bit taken over by Trump leaving hospital)!
    Day 2…tuned my fiddle, which has been neglected for months, made sounds that weren’t horrible with my fiddle. End of day 2, housemate comes home with sore throat and fatigue.
    Day 3, housemate stays home from work due to symptoms, household in kinda chaos, figure out how to create a “clean space” that includes kitchen and quarantine housemate in north sector of house, housemate goes for Coronavirus test. Forget about fiddling entirely.
    Day 4, I’m now cooking and delivering meals to housemate 3 times a day waiting for coronavirus test result which, according to Kaiser, will come in anything from 3 to 7 days. This is the third time we’ve had to go through this since July. Hello vacation! CBD gummies and wine are my friends. I take some “me time” and decide that darn it, I’m doing this practice challenge! Actually get 30+ minutes in. I’m reminded how much I need to practice 😉

    And here I am, a beginner fiddle player in the age of coronoavirus doing the best I can. Y’all are inspiring, thank you for being out there and keeping me going this week!

  95. I’m being mindful to NOT sound like I’m “sawing a log” ~ the pressure on the strings, the weight of the bow. I guess I need to go over the lessons on musicality. You are all awesome! Thank you so much for making this FUN.

  96. I just practiced for an hour and twenty minutes. Better late than never.
    -Scales in G and A; 2-4-3-1 melodic variation in different ways, working on speed.
    -Reviewed “Have you ever seen the rain.”
    -Started a new song called “Do You Realize??” by the Flaming Lips.

    So fun!

  97. Ok, I caved and made a video 😖 AND posted it to YouTube 😳 AND instagram!! 😱 I’m learning lavenders blue out of the Mel bay beginner violin book by Craig Duncan. Every day before I play a song I practice playing blind on all my first position notes.

      1. Day 4 was the hardest for me so I appreciated the email encouragement. I worked on module 2.8. Also did some call and response Exercises. Completed 1 hr. 15 min. By timing 15 min. Increments.

  98. Hey everyone i am working on ‘when a child is born ‘ It’s a simple tune but i need to learn the correct timing its my moms favourite Christmas song so hoping these two weeks will make me focus. Congrats to all.
    PS i am trying to get into the forum says i am logged in but i cannot find anybody hints?

  99. Started learning a new waltz today called “Hector The Hero.” It is a lovely Celtic waltz and fun to play adding grace notes and trills. Even playing it without ornaments is lovely.

  100. Working on Cantina Band Theme again today(it’s a fast one), trying to memorize it and Jingle Bells. It’s cold enough here today to start thinking of Christmas…2C this morning in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. This is our Thanksgiving weekend.

    Someone posted a video of playing while singing. That would be a great idea for a new lesson. 🙂

    Btw, I’m don’t know how to log onto the forum either.

  101. Today I practiced for 30 minutes, just working on string crossings and testing my pitch against the electronic tuner. Isolated problem spots in Ashokan Farewell and broke them down into tiny exercises, repeating over and over again and testing intonation against the tuner.
    I have been playing for a little over a month and I usually play anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours each day. Lately I have had a bursitis-like pain in my shoulder and neck that goes all the way down my elbow to my wrist. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it to do with the way I am holding the fiddle in my left hand? Just wondering if I need to correct posture and/or do any physical therapy for this.

    1. Figured out that the right chair makes all the difference! Today I practiced scales, intonation and long notes sitting in an upright chair rather than the sort of slouchy armchair I’d been using and focusing on not letting the fiddle sort of drop down in my left hand and it’s made all the difference; no back pain! Like everything else, it just takes practice. 🙂

    2. Maybe try standing up to practice. As soon as you feel a pain STOP. Wait for it to go away. Take fiddle off your shoulder. Maybe walk around. Wiggle a bit. Shouldn’t be very long. Maybe a minute and then go back to playing. Repeat if pain comes back.

      If your shoulder rest is digging into your shoulder that can be a problem. Or if it is sitting funny on your collar bone.

      If you are tensing at the shoulder And pulling the shoulder forward liking trying to grip the fiddle, it may also cause that pain.

      1. Local concert venue has jam session outside every Friday. Never know who or how many. Very welcoming group. I mostly sit in back and play backup chords. Last night I attempted angelina the baker. Very different playing with people. I’m in west georgia area usa.

  102. Hello all. A bit late with joining in on the progress, but think this is great and did join in on the challenge. I look forward to spending some time checking back over the progress of all. This hit at a great time. My friends know I picked up the fiddle, and even knowing my beginner status, put it out to learn DWDTG to play along with a jam band for 10/10. Using the “breaking it down” philosophy along with Jason’s earlier videos on DWDTG it’s giving me a good point along with a focus for practicing the main skills I want to focus on: Clean and better tone playing and 4th finger work. Will continue through the challenge with this song but breaking it down even more. Have video but still need to post for viewing. I say cheers to all with a thank you out to Jason for organizing this. I’ve been having a blast. — Henry

    1. Hello. Not sure if you had an answer on this. If you have a sign-in for youtube you, “create /upload the video ” there then copy/paste the link here. I leave my videos as shareable but unpublished in youtube

  103. Hello Jason, Happy October to you and yours, I just signed on for the Fall Fiddle Challenge and hope to be able to work on a tune without the sheet music that I am learning along with my fiddle group. And then transposing it one note up, and then possibly the next note up.

    As always, thank you so much for all you do!

    Cheers,
    Linda

  104. I am working on making sure I am practicing 20 minutes each day…double stops with fingering…intonation…swallowtail jig. Need to get accustomed to using the metronome…my biggest challenge is accuracy and a clean clear sound…my husband and daughter know about the challenge. I am thankful for fiddlehed…Jason.. You are very informative and encouraging!!!!

  105. I’m trying to work on my play list. And speed up abit, as long as I can keep good sound. Also working on double stops. Having a bit of a time with them, but I just keep trying.
    Keeping to my daily practice…..30 minutes a day. My grand baby is my most appreciative audience. I tell him what I am playing, and he most especially loves Oh Susannah, with slides in there. He doesn’t talk yet, but he says “Hmm”, when I ask him if he wants more. He’s not crying, so I figure that means yes. He isn’t walking yet either, but bounces on his feet to the music. I’m onto something, I think.

  106. Day 5 has been great. I have been playing today and having so much fun. Doing videos and watching is a good teaching tool. It’s just important to have fun, retired and mature and starting to play the violin as a mature adult should just be fun! Today’s recording is a lovely waltz, “The Skye Boat Song” I am working on “Hector The Hero”, it is not ready to share yet. Hope this works!
    [youtube]

  107. Day 5 Kudos to everyone for their videos. I still haven’t worked up to that yet. I’m sure you will inspire me. 2hrs. practice I am trying to play Gavotte-Mignon with piano accompaniment. But I am not quite there yet so continued with micro practice on Measures 7;35;37-38; 39-40. trying something new by breaking up with G Maj. scale. It is so hard to get from the micro practice to playing along and this piece is especially challenging with piano accompaniment. Is that last stage always going to be so hard? I always struggle with the first week of a new piece and then getting it to the play through . Any suggestions. Still working on Wagon Wheel. Played through Wildwood Flower and Greensleeves for fun and easier sight reading. I haven’t missed a day. You all are making this so much fun. I got in some Tennis with my husband too. I think the fiddling is improving my tennis!

  108. I’m loving these videos. I need to make one tomorrow. I need to make lots. I started this challenge with nothing really more in mind than getting into a better practice habit and out of the rut I had found myself in for a couple of weeks. I had just found the Chromatic Scale and fell in love with it, so I wanted to work on that some more and make it sound like I know how to play it….lol.
    I listened to that song Peacock Rag which compliments that scale…and I chuckled.
    “Intermediate he said…” Hahaha. Yeah, sure Jason.

    I would no more be able to play that song than I was going to rise and fly to the moon tomorrow. Chuckle again… “Intermediate.” I can play intermediate, but there is no way I was going to be able to play that song.
    Here we are.
    I have some semblance to a song and it actually almost sounds like the Peacock Rag. I am astounded that I am moving my fingers and they are giving me back something I would have never believed possible.
    I still can’t play it.. but I know I am going to be able to by the end of this challenge. I so wish I had videoed my first attempt at playing the
    3d line to Peacock Rag, because, well, wow. I’ve come a long way in a short time.

  109. Today I practised playing to the metronome. Previously I always found it too difficult, but now I’m getting into it. have to stop being in so much of a hurry! My video for today:

    1. Love the tunes you’re playing. Kudos to trying to use the metronome. I need to try the metronome to help with timing. I love your explanations of your thought process while playing

    2. Julia, I think if you had a, (what do they call it?) a Blog…..I would tune in everyday. Good determination with the “kinky” pinky, and nice playing as well.

  110. Likewise, I am beginning to practice counting note values with the metronome and tapping my foot, which I do on the banjo for many years and it becomes second nature to keep correct time. But on the fiddle I must work with an entirely different ‘feel’ since the bowing and fitting the note/time values within a given length of bow stroke is quite different than the right hand motion on the banjo……if I’m making sense….lol.

  111. Hey Hey! Gotta Slow myself down to play accurately…my habit is to try playing at tempo from the beginning….and losing bow position on the prime string playing spot.
    See you Sunday on the Zoom practice!

  112. Ok guys. I’m throwing up my first video….just so’s I can cringe when I see it again. Ugh!
    I’m working on the Peacock Rag. It’s so hard.. I am barely beginning to get to where I can almost hear a song for a little while, then I lose it again. I am hoping I will be able to look back and see improvement. It can’t get much worse…
    (Oh it can.. I can make sounds that can split atoms. I have that special ability.)

    I almost always play with a mute. I pulled it off to record a video. It always startles me when I realize how loud my instrument is…and it always throws me off a bit. I can see it definitely did here. I wish I had given it a few moments to get used to the sound again. (Note to self for next time.)

    Still. At the beginning of this challenge, I couldn’t play three notes of this song. Maybe. One day. 🙂

    [youtube]

  113. Day 6 I worked on a couple of double stop, boil ’em cabbage down versions. Also, went over a number of songs that I’ve memorized, but haven’t played in a while(black velvet band, smile a while and rubber dolly). Ill have to write them down, bc sometimes I forget about how many songs I’ve memorized. When I record myself, it’s obvious that the songs I’ve memorized sound much better than the ones I need to play off a finger chart or sheet music.

    Hope to make it to today’s zoom, but it falls on Thanksgiving dinner. Today, I’m very thankful for this fiddle challenge because it’s gotten me back into the habit of playing every day. Happy Thanksgiving!

  114. Greetings all. Coincidentally, my friends challenged me to learn DWDTG during this challenge. Friends play in several different bands and we had an out door fest where they played. I present my day 6 challenge video. Much I can learn from playing this and watching the video. –Had a blast. …first time doing anything with a band other than watching. lol Starts about 45 seconds in. Cheers to Jason and the Fiddlehed crew.

    1. That’s awesome to start with DWDTG with a band! I’ve only played with a banjo player and a buddy of mine who plays guitar and mandolin. Looked like everyone was having a good time and well done remembering the lyrics. Keep up the good work.

  115. Hello everybody. I started playing fiddle in November 2019. Here is a video from earlier today of me playing ‘Mallai Chroch Shli.” I believe it is an Irish tune, but I am trying to play it with Scottish ornamentations. I am certainly open to comments on how I can make it better! -Dylan

    1. Love that song Dylan! It’s soothing and haunting at the same time. That drone in the background really brings it alive.
      I don’t know enough to give you any tips, but I do want you to know, I coulda listened to that all day. I hope you put up more videos.

  116. Day 7 – Learned the Tennessee Waltz this week. Today I’m working on putting ornamental and grace notes to pretty it up.

    I’m trying to get back up to speed on Smash The Windows, Devil’s Dream and Ste-Anne’s.

    Thank you so much for organizing the group practice session. It helped me focus while someone else was playing and I, Canadian, met an Irish fiddler. It was awesome!

    Thank you Jason. Happy fiddling this week!

    Kim

  117. [youtube]

    Appalachian tune “Home with the Girls in the Morning”. Lots of slides and drones. The hardest part is getting the first slide to sound right going from G# to A.
    I’ve really enjoyed watching everyones videos and reading posts. It has really inspired me to make a couple videos and keep practicing.

  118. I think I am proud of being able to post this video, more so than of how well it came out. Live in a rural area and high speed is by satellite only, so this video may be pretty poor quality. So many posts on this page; the FH community is surely growing. Hope Jason has gotten good at speed reading! Owen. [youtube]

    1. Oh my gosh I love this video. Don’t knock the bad quality, with the deep undertones of the song you are playing, it almost looks and sounds like you are playing inside of a dream and it’s a right cool effect.
      You sound great! I like the tune! Can’t wait to hear more!

  119. Day 9. New Video.
    The Beagle has learned when I pick up my fiddle, she gets to go into the big back yard. (She’s not allowed unsupervised, she has her own play area.) She is very excited! It’s cool to have somebody excited when I pick up my fiddle. 😀
    I have a much better sense of this little tune now. I see improvement in some areas, but after watching both videos, I see I need to slow down and get better control .. Yay!!! Five more days to really apply some work and do that! When I started this, I thought this tune was well out of my reach. It had a lot of techniques I have really been working hard on though and I wanted to see if I could apply any of it.
    I can. Wow!
    I’ve been pretty busy. I haven’t been on here much, and I’ve actually forgotten to mark a couple of X’s. I danged sure have picked up my fiddle and put my time in though. 🙂
    [youtube]

    1. Well done Abee. Lots of difficult fingering there. I could tell when you got in the groove, and it all got easier. Never played a rag before. Been busy all day here in Virginia.Need to go practice now. You are in San Diego? That’s where my son, daughter-in-law and two grandkids are!

  120. Well done Abee. Lots of difficult fingering there. I could tell when you got in the groove, and it all got easier. Never played a rag before. Been busy all day here in Virginia.Need to go practice now. You are in San Diego? That’s where my son, daughter-in-law and two grandkids are!

  121. Thanks Owneee61! It’s a lot of fun to play. Yep. I live in Lakeside. If you ever come out to visit, maybe we can play together!

    I’ve been working so hard on the Chromatic scale and sliding. I could slide into a note almost from day 1. This is different though. This is more controlled, more poised, more deliberate, and it’s a lot more difficult than I realized it is. (For me anyways…)
    There are so many half-steps in this tune. Trying to get them in the right place and which goes where. Then there is that one note, that says in the tab is a L2, but I swear I am hearing a 2….and my fingers have decided to play it in the middle which is absolutely not what I want them to do. (Gosh fingers and ears. Pick a note already and stick with it.)
    So. With that in a nutshell, I am having a ball learning this tune, hahahaha…and I am delighted with my progress.

    I discovered Fiddlehed because I was really struggling to learn Whiskey Before Breakfast. With Jason’s learning techniques and my practice, a song that eluded me for months has now turned into a simple warm-up tune for me to help get loosened up. Do I dare to dream, that one day, this might be a warm-up tune? 😀

  122. Well, I’ve practiced every day so far during the challenge, and it feels real good to get back to my fiddle after the past few sporadic months. I am “brushing up” on tunes I already know like “Annie Laurie”, “Hard Times Come Again No More”, “Jessica’s Waltz” and a few others, and have been working on Jay Ungar’s “Prairie Spring”.

    1. That was me. I was on a two-week funk when Jason emailed about the challenge. I didn’t really enter it with an agenda except to pick up that fiddle and practice. It worked! I just love Jay Ungar…I must look up this Prairie Spring. I haven’t heard it!

        1. Wow, thanks for sharing that video on U tube. It was out of this world beautiful and really touched my soul. I’ve been working on Ashokan Farewell. I’m 66 and just started playing a little over a year ago. My mom was from Harlan, Kentucky so I think my love for Appalachian music is genetic plus my genetic heritage is 90 percent English and Irish. Love both styles. Getting ready to listen to other video you posted. 😊

          1. That song is amazing! Yes, thank you for sharing it.
            I wonder if I’ll ever be able to make my fiddle just sing like that. Right now, I feel like a toddler belting out B I N G O after hearing that….LMAO.
            It’s a heck of a journey we are on isn’t it? 🙂

  123. Hey Folks, Great job with all the videos!

    DON’T DELETE THEM AFTER THE CHALLENGE!!!!

    When you do the challenge next year, you can make another video of the same tune and compare. This will give you a perspective on your progress: what’s improved, what still needs work. Chances are, you’ll feel encouraged.

    Also: it’s super-nice to see all the kind responses.

    Alrighty…Day 10!

  124. [youtube]

    “Tennessee Wagoner” Just started on double shuffle which is towards the end but i had to slow down double shuffle or i get extra bow strokes thrown into it.

  125. Just want to say that I have done my half hour every day, although it’s getting harder to make myself. This morning we took the dog out for a long walk, and then it was lunch, and then it was other stuff, and then… finally I did my practice last thing before bed. It’s much better to do it in the morning. I wonder if on the final day of the fortnight I will heave a sigh of relief and stop… or will I carry on? You wouldn’t think half an hour was so difficult to achieve. I remember hearing an interview with Sting, who was talking about having just taken up the mandolin, I think it was. When asked how much he was having to practise, he said ‘Oh not much, only three hours a day’!

    1. I get it. I’ve been in those funks too.
      You got to keep picking up that fiddle. Instead of dreading a half-hour practice, try Jason’s “1 Tune, 1 Scale, 10 Minutes.”
      10 minutes is easy to commit to if you’re worried about breathing a sigh of relief when this challenge is over.
      On the days when I just don’t want to, I try to use that approach. I can do one scale and I can do one song and I can play for ten minutes. I often find myself playing much longer.

        1. Following the two-minute philosophy has helped me. I even picked up it up and just tucked it under my chin while answering email to practice the hold. Usually leads to another 15 minutes of bowing or such.

    2. Hey Julia,
      I hope you can find inspiration to carry on. I have enjoyed watching your videos. I found Jason’s video on how to use the metronome after you mentioned giving it a go. I am going to work on using the metronome much more now. Thank you for inspiring me to do that. Keep your fiddle easily accessible. If you see it you’ll want to play it.

      1. Also try using metronome when running through scales. I’ve found it much more enjoyable and not so boring. One beat per note. It has really opened my eyes to the benefits of using a metronome. I tried playing a song with it but to difficult right now. So I had to back off and keep it simple until I can get more used to it. I plan on finding a song that has just quarter notes and half notes eventually. Hope this helps.

        1. Metronome for scales – that’s a great idea. Not that I am attracted by the idea of doing lots of scales, but then, when I see Jason doing a scale for about ten minutes, I think, if he can do it, then I should too!

    1. Here’s the main gist. You’ve all been copying and pasting normal links that look this:

      But you need to copy and paste an “embed” link. This cannot be done easily from mobile devices. If you made the film on a mobile device, upload to Youtube and then go to a desktop computer to paste the embed link in a comment.

      Sorry that this is not easier…

      1. Sorry Jason but I can’t see how you are right. I have repeatedly copied and pasted the ’embed’ link from YouTube and it doesn’t embed. There is no other way, except maybe as the moderator you have a different kind of access to your page.

          1. Hi Julia,

            Thanks for trying to embed your videos (and for making them), and thanks for your message. I logged into your account and pasted the embed video. You are right. It does not work for users at this time.

            I will ask our developer to fix this.

            Cheers,

            Jason

  126. I started strong, fell off the wagon. The first group practice got me back on. Did great, then I had a chance to tear off and replace a Small roof. So I am too stiff to play today, but shall be back at it tomorrow.

    My goal was to toughen up my finger pads. Strengthen my Fingers too. Got pretty into “Rights of Man”. Worked on Orange Blossom double stops. Getting the stretch in tune consistently has always been a challenge.

    Congrats to all who met or exceeded their goals. Off to a new challenge!

  127. I didn’t record because half the time my dog starts barking because he gets happy with fiddle practice. He stops but no one needs to hear that. So I’m working on only one tune at this point which is cool because usually I move on after a week. I still don’t play it with flow but I’m improving. Certain things I’m learning. Play the micro practice slower. I didn’t have a good bow grip. Learning. Cross strings are improving and triplets come easier as time goes on. (I’m playing harvest home) Given that I have arthritis I’ve learned to stop and do exercises. Day practice is 25 to 30 minutes. Night practice is for noodling and I’m trying to compose a tune. Night practice is sometimes cancelled out by calls from folk who need grief counseling but if I can I’ll just play open strings. Also noticing I rush so have started using metronome. Lastly I found that my shoulder rest was too high ha. So in conclusion the fall practice has taught me not to rush, spend more time on scales and to pick a challenging tune and stick with it even though I’d rather play something new. This has been a great journey and Love everyone’s comments! Thank you

  128. Practicing here on Day 13 (I think it’s Day 13, right?) I can’t believe I have played every day of the Challenge after not playing for so long. In addition to brushing up on tunes I’ve already learned, I am having fun with “Prairie Spring”. I can get through the entire tune now with few mistakes. I feel like I have accomplished something during this Challenge. Thanks, Jason and everyone else! It’s so nice to see, and hear, from so many others during the Challenge. It doesn’t make me feel as “alone” as I try to move forward with my fiddling. It would be nice if we all could continue posting regularly in the forum even after the Challenge. I think we all could benefit from it.

  129. I taped myself playing Eliza Jane with double stops and I sounded GODAWFUL BAD. Made me realize that I can’t rush ahead of myself and try for fancy stuff. Also I’m playing a borrowed lousy violin which may account for a teensy bit of why I sounded bad, or at least that is what I am telling myself.
    Note to self…..slow down.

  130. OK, so I must admit to only practicing about every other day, but I have been learning to be more disciplined, really practicing the basics so I improve technique and quality instead of just running quickly through a tune. I was on the Renew with Review page, and discovered the tune Hava Negilah which I am now excited to learn.

  131. While doing my practice for the fall practice challenge, I started doing this cool scale variation. Basically you can take a simple major scale, play at 13 notes up and then go backwards for a total of 24 notes in a cycle. What this allows you to do is practice slurring 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, and…gulp…48 notes per bow. The 48-note version was inspired by an office hours question about the one-minute bow.

    Give ‘er a try.
    And have fun with the last few day’s of the FPC 🐸

    1. Thanks Jason,
      I’ll have to give this excercise a try. Should help me with a slur series I’ve been working on with “Blackberry Blossom”. Which is played in key of G major.

  132. I practised every day for two weeks, and here’s the same tune I played on Day 1, which I have been practising a LOT. And yet I could continue practising it for months more, probably, before it comes out slick and beautiful. But it is definitely better than Day 1. Better rhythm, better fingering, possibly slightly better tone. Now I’m thinking of getting a proper old-fashioned wooden clockwork metronome.

    1. Julia, I listened to your day one practice of “King of the Fairies” and your latest version and can say that you are right. I thought your performance on Day One went really well, but your timing, clarity, and Irish embellishment was excellent on your latest recording. I practiced every day for the challenge and saw big improvements as well. Thanks so much for your videos. You are becoming an excellent musician!

  133. I just finished the Challenge, averaged 2 1/4 hours a day of practice. Practiced all my usual, long bow with metronome, scales, string crossing. Started learning double stops. Practiced my ‘old’ tunes, I’ll Fly Away, This Land is your Land, Keep On The Sunny Side. Learning two new ones, Waltzing Matilda and Arkansas Traveler. Made progress on everything…..’progress’ on double stops is yet to happen, lol.

    Next up, after usual practice, is learning Sandy River Belle. It’s not on Jason’s tune list but I found a version online as well as the ones in The Fiddlers Fake Book. Picked it because I like it ( the main requirement for any tune) and can play it in two different tunings on the banjo.

  134. I finished! And I really enjoyed it too. Although I’ve been able to practise reasonably well before, this gave me a bit more discipline to practise what I was actually trying to improve rather than what I like to play. Anyway, I did improve what I set out so that’s great.
    I was seriously distracted by some of you other fiddlers though as I heard so many great new tunes. I really enjoyed JuliaG’s King of the Fairies and I added it to more practise list, sorry Jason, I know I’m not supposed to do that! I’ve managed to learn the A part so far so maybe next year I’ll use it for the challenge. JuliaG’s progress was really good and i was really impressed by the Irish ‘twiddles’!
    Another wonderful tune was Abee’s Peacock Rag and again this showed excellent progress over the challenge.
    Overall, it was really inspiring both learning about myself and the other fiddlers trials and tribulations. I
    I hope we can all do it again next year.
    Many thanks to Jason for getting it all together.

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