Thanks for signing up for the Fall Practice Challenge 2021!

From October 11-24, 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.

 


What happens during the Fall Practice Challenge?

Here are some things I’ve organized to help you get the most out of this experience:

  • You’ll receive emails from me, coaching and cheering you on.
  • You’ll be able to track your practice using the FPC 2021 Worksheet.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend special group lessons and online practice periods.
  • You’ll be able to connect with other friendly people learning fiddle around the world.

What Is A Practicipant?

practicipant is someone who practices with others. By doing this together, we are more likely to follow through with our fiddling goals. We help each other to establish a good practice habit and become better musicians.

All you have to do is play every day. It’s good to have you on board


FPC 2021 Worksheet

I made this worksheet to help you organize your practice. Feel free to print and fill it out. Or use it to create your own.

Get the FPC 2021 Worksheet


Five action steps

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

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.
  • Write this on the FPC worksheet, a wall calendar or music journal (online or paper).
  • 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. What is your main practice focus?

  • Pick 1-3 things you want to improve: a tune, bowing, playing in tune, improvising, fingering & string crossing, reviewing tunes, etc.
  • Whatever you pick, work on something small that you can actually accomplish. For example:
    • Playing a simple tune 10% better
    • Slurring on scales
    • Remembering tunes

3. 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.

4. Track your practice. 

  • Print the FPC worksheet and use the practice tracker. You can also use a habit tracker phone app like Done, HabitNow or Habit 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!

 

5. Monitor your performance through recording.

  • Make an audio recording or video of yourself playing the challenging new tune or technique at the at the beginning (October 11) and end (October 24) of the FPC.
  • You’ll then review these performances to help you understand what improved and what still needs work.
  • I highly recommend sharing your videos on the Student Video Exchange. Mainly because you’ll feel a fun sense of camraderie with other FiddleHeds. If you haven’t done that, check out this tutorial: How can I upload a video to the site?
  • Another reason to share videos: you’ll be more motivated to practice, knowing that you will be posting a video.

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.


FPC 2021 Live Events

Here are some upcoming Zoom events for the FPC. These are all optional. Take part in as many or as few events as you like. The main goal remains to play very day and learn to practice better.

  • Mon Oct 11 at 6PM PT: Open practice session
  • Tues Oct 12 at 6PM PT: Fiddling With Index Cards
  • Wed Oct 13 at 12PM PT: Open practice session
  • Thurs Oct 14 at 12PM PT: Practice Journey with Drunken Sailor
  • Mon Oct 18 at 6PM PT: Open practice session
  • Tues Oct 19 at 6PM PT: Fiddle Workshop – Getting A Good Sound
  • Wed Oct 20 at 12PM PT: Open practice session
  • Fri Oct 22 at 12PM PT: Call-and-response with a Mystery Tune
  • Sunday Oct 24 at 12PM PT: FiddleHed Monthly Hootenanny 🤠

See full details on the page.


Student videos from FPC 2020

Last year was a big year for student video submissions. Some folks posted videos almost every day. I hope you will too. The more people who take part, the more fun this becomes. Here’s a playlist of Fiddleheds fiddling every day:


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 :)”

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.


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

27 responses to “Fall Practice Challenge 2021

  1. Third year with “FPC”. I look forward to it every year. Was great watching everyones videos. unfortunately could not make any “ZOOM” classes.
    Worked on:
    -“Smash the Window”
    -“Tam Lin”
    -“Flowers of Edinburg” G, “Red Haired Boy” A, and “St. Annes Reel” D as a medley.
    -“Happy Birthday” some different variations of it.
    -Technique trying to clarify notes so not so muddy. Strengthening pinky finger

  2. Hi, I’m Molly. I live near Nelson BC. (not the only one! hey jocelyn!) I picked up fiddling this summer. I have 2 toddlers and am separating from their dad, so it seemed like a good idea. I mean, for the first time in 4 years I have occasional time to myself, and I’ve always wanted to play the fiddle. I’m having so much fun. When the kids go to sleep I play outside, it’s getting very cold. When they are at their Dads I play much more. Sometimes the kids will dance if the tune is good. They like Arkansas traveler. I love the drone tracks and my Practice Challenge goal is to play more in tune. I am playing along with the scale tracks and then playing my tunes which are all in D. I hope I can make it to a couple of the zoom classes this week. I love the student videos.

  3. I’m Monica from New Zealand. I’ve been learning fiddle for just on 3 years now and first signed up for Fiddlehed when the woman teaching me left to go to the US. I’ve been really enjoying learning from the videos, and do normally practice every day but for this challenge I want to focus on the scales I don’t use very often and therefore find more difficult. Bb, B, F and C. These are keys that seem to be common when I’m playing along with others, so it will help me for jam sessions. My goal is to be able to be accurate and even consistently.

  4. Hello, everyone, day 1 and 2 have already been challenging with many distractions but I have met my goal of 30 minutes practice. Working on 3 things for the practice challenge1. Use/exercise fifth finger everyday 2. Play with metronome 3. Memorize tune called Big Bear Reel by Metis fiddler John Arcand. Fiddling in Victoria, Canada

  5. Mary in Georgia. Coming back to the fiddle after being away for about a month for some surgery.
    Working on a set I call Heritage Tunes – tunes my mother remembers her grandfather, Charlie Baker, playing. I’ve been working on them for some time now and hope to polish a three or four for a mini concert for my mother’s birthday later this month.

    Staying in tune, keeping consistent speed and working arpeggios.

  6. Hi Everyone,
    I’m Lori and this is my second year with Jason, tho you wouldn’t know it, I haven’t followed the course really so I’m committing to actually doing each week and learning whatever Jason has set up.
    This challenge is perfect timing because I haven’t practiced in a few months, so I’m back at it.
    If I can figure out how to post a video I’ll post something soon. (that will make people feel pretty good, coz they will be like….”at least I’m better than her!” LOL

  7. Awesome that we are connecting through our daily practise. This feels like a great coming together 🙂
    I’m Jocelyn, Nelson BC Canada, and I’m looking forward to working on:
    Pentatonic scales
    Review various practise focuses from private lesson sessions to support future lessons
    Look at a poem my friend sent me and start creating accompaniment for it
    Pick a tune I want to master and start simple

    Thanks Jason for your efforts to help us to connect and get into healthy practise habits.
    Have fun with this challenge folks~

  8. Hi Everyone,
    I am so excited to do this challenge. I have been on Fiddlehed for a while, but have been lacking in my practice and have not joined any of the live events out of fear. My goal is to try that and see what happens. I’ve also set an intention to really use all of the aspects of the site to increase my skills. I struggle with reading notes on a page and placing them on the fiddle. I learned the finger positions as 1,2, 3, 4 rather than the actual note names and I really want to get that to be automatic. So, the note reading course is on my “to do” list. I have an in person teacher who is an excellent fiddle player, but I also like to have the videos and help when I am home by myself. (Swallowtail Jig and Ashoken Farewell have recently helped me a lot) I have been playing for 4 years, 3 with a teacher, but most of that is standard playing with Suzuki books, etc. My teacher likes the bluegrass fiddle stuff and I am starting to love it as well. It is a totally different style and I like how it gives me confidence when I play classical. I am really working on building confidence and I love your videos, Jason. Thank you so much!

    -Carol

  9. Hi all,
    I am looking forward to the challenge and the journey! Have my Practice log filled out with my focus points, fiddle on my shoulder and bow in hand. I’m a beginning fiddler and absolutely love Jason’s teaching.

  10. Greetings from Alaska,
    Very beginner with many years of desire to discipline myself to practice. Excited to be three months into this journey. Three tidbits I strive to work on: double stop sounds, slurs in the key of G, my attitude/approach to daily practice! A bit apprehensive to attend live group lessons, but going to give it a try anyways. Thanks for the compassionate delivery of your teachings, Jason.
    Cheers,
    Anna

  11. Hi Jason

    Thanks for this great opportunity to practice with yourself and other aspiring fiddlers….I am a beginner and anything I have learned is from you !!!

    Fell behind with my practice for several months but picked up the fiddle again last week….so encouraging to see others on their learning journeys too.

    Wishing everyone on here the best of luck and lots of FUN from London.

    Cecilia

    based in London.UK.

  12. Hi all,

    I couldn’t do last year’s challenge, so I’m glad it’s happening again. I’m suing this two week challenge to improve my tone and bow control, improve my time-keeping (rhythm) when using slurring and develop a decent vibrato

  13. Hi everyone. This challenge is exactly what I need. I lost momentum in the summer after reaching over 100 days of practice in a row. Now I want to get back on track. Here are my goals:
    1) Practice at least 15 minutes/day
    2) Practice improvising with chords on at least one tune
    3) Enjoy myself
    Susan

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