Get ready to go deeper into music practice

From October 16-29, 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.

Sign up

If you clicked the link to this page in the newsletter, then you’re already signed up. Wihoo! If you missed that, or if someone shared this page with you, then you can sign up here.

After you officially sign up, I’ll send emails with tips, encouragement and event reminders (open practice sessions & workshops).

You don’t have to officially sign up; you can just play every day! But it will be more motivating to take part in this as a group.

Jump In & PRACTICIPATE in the FPC 2023! 🎻

Here’s your 3-step guide to ace the Fall Practice Challenge:

1. Set Your Goals 📈

  • Duration: Decide on a daily practice time. Aiming for 20 minutes? Great! If that feels like a stretch, start with just two minutes. Every minute counts!
  • Plan Ahead: Got a busy day during the challenge? Mark it in your calendar and try to squeeze in some practice earlier or catch up later.
  • Focus Points: Choose 1-3 areas you’d love to enhance, be it a specific tune, bowing techniques, improvisation, or more. Aim for achievable milestones like refining a tune or mastering scale slurs.

2. Spread the Word 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

  • Sharing with friends and family solidifies your commitment. It’s a shoutout that music matters to you. So go on, tell at least one non-FiddleHed buddy about your challenge!
  • Drop by in the comments below to connect with fellow practicipants. Share your FPC aspirations with the tribe.

3. Monitor Your Journey ✍️

  • Jot down your daily practice details. Whether you prefer the “Your Practice Journal” at this page’s end, a handy wall calendar, a digital note-taking app, or a classic spreadsheet, track daily.
  • Visualize your progress as links in a chain. Every practice day adds a link, and as your chain grows, so does the satisfaction!
  • For feedback, consider recording your sessions at the challenge start (October 16) and finish (October 29).

And hey, don’t be shy! Drop your daily insights, and if you’re up for it, even videos, in the comments below. 🎶🤘🏼


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 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

What if I miss a day or two of practice?

If you miss a day or two, just keep going with the challenge. If possible, make up the missed days right after the official challenge is done (since the FPC ends on Oct 23, you can make up lost days on Oct 24, 25, etc.).

Remember the point of doing the FPC is to establish a good regular practice habit that’s fun and productive. So if you get off track, just pick up the fiddle and play again today. Don’t give up.

Who can take part in the FPC?

The FPC is open to anyone. You don’t have to be a paid subscriber to the course and you don’t even have to play the fiddle.

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.

Why should I bother with this??

Almost everyone who has taken part in the practice challenge has seen huge improvements in their performance, practice consistency and motivation. Moreover, people seem to have a lot of fun.

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 :)”

Here’s a playlist of Fiddleheds fiddling every day during the FPC 2020:

Deliberate Practice Planner

As part of the FPC, I encourage you to use Deliberate Practice to accelerate your learning. Below is a simple outline of deliberate practice you can use to practice anything. At the bottom of the page I include a printable deliberate practice planner.

Discovery phase 👁

Plan: Pick a tune or skill that needs work.

Do: Practice it slowly.

Reflect: What was hard? Identify 1-4 chunks that need work.

Refinement phase 🔬

Plan: Pick one chunk to work on.

Do: Practice that chunk. Pay close attention to where you stumble.

Reflect: Do you need to dive deeper on this? Or are you ready to move on to the next chunk? Take notes.

Repeat: Plan what you’ll do next (practice the same chunk or move on).

Integration phase 🌳

Plan: What surrounding parts will you add to each chunk?

Do: Practice transitions between chunks and surrounding parts. When complete, practice the whole tune.

Reflect: Did you improve at least one small thing? What do you need to practice tomorrow?

Retrieval practice 🧠

At the end of a session, play through all chunks from all pieces, ONCE AND ONLY ONCE.


Learn to practice

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…






Leave a Reply

243 responses to “Fall Practice Challenge 2023

  1. Hello, folks! I appear to be the first poster for the 2024 Learn-a-New-Song Practice Challenge. I’ll be doing 20 minutes a day starting today on Bill Monroe’s ‘Wheel Hoss,’ not a very hard tune, but like so much of this fiddle stuff, it’s hard to do well. I’ll be posting practice clips somewhere or other–probably on my Instagram, @tophatbanjo–so stay tuned for that. Mmm-hmm.

  2. I really enjoyed this experience and just wanted to thank everyone for the chance to receive positive feedback and share. I hope to revisit this page and listen to some of the videos posted that I missed..if I had more time I would have listened to and commented on each one. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard/read and hope you all keep up the fiddle love!! 👏🎻

  3. It was a great FPC this year. It got me where I wanted to go! Jason’s Chaining technique ended up being the magic elixir! I’m participating in Fiddlerman’s group Christmas project again this year: “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” Violin 1 (may contribute more parts if I get to it). The “hardest parts” for me were several consecutive measures of triplets, all played at a brisk pace. For weeks I worked on them, “chunked’ them, slowed them down, looped them, but there was always this little hiccup at one spot, sometimes audible and sometimes just internally in my fingers or heart. Finally, I resorted to chaining one note at a time. Eureka! It wasn’t a “finger” issue, my brain was fighting itself!! The first three sets of triplets followed a repetitive pattern; the fourth set altered the pattern by just one finger. Half my brain wanted to continue the pattern and the other half wanted to play it properly. A couple sessions of chaining practice and it all came out smooth as silk. I can now play the piece well at click track tempo and feel well on my way towards a satisfactory video presentation. Thanks Jason!

  4. Final day of FPC. I tried to hard to play it “perfectly” (as good as I think is possible) and I started to get frustrated because I couldn’t get there, but then I remembered this is the end of the FPC, but not the end for learning this song.

    I can hear improvement on the song, but mostly I feel way more confident playing it after sharing it here several times and receiving kind comments on my videos. Thank you all!!!

  5. This is the final recording of my project song for Fall Practice Challenge 23. It will be interesting to see if I’ve improved it any since the first video I posted on 10-17-23. The FPC was great. Throughout the Challenge, I practiced key areas where I was having trouble and hopefully made some progress! Thanks to Jason!

  6. I started the challenge two days late, but I did practice those I want to catch up by adding two videos. I unfortunately can’t recall the name of the first song, but I’ve had a lot of fun thumbing through the big Irish sheet music collection it comes from and picking ones at random to play. The second one is an intro from Lannigan’s Ball by Charles Harrison. I tried testing my ear to figure out the notes for this on his play along track.

    Tune from O’Neills Music of Ireland book:

  7. I did it! Practiced the fiddle everyday for 14 days. My FPC project was a medley of 3 Irish tune. I wanted to be able to play each one twice thru, cleanly transitioning from one to the other. When I started I barely knew Laniigan’s Ball and I hadn’t played them all together. I can now play all 3 together with strum machine at 90bpm. 😁 I even got my husband involved learning the chords and playing back up for me. Also I’ve been inspired to do a practice challenge of my own with my Dulcimer starting tomorrow. This challenge has helped me be more consistent with my practice and more comfortable making recordings.

  8. I didn’t record anything. I have a group of friends that play bluegrass. I usually play my guitar but I’m trying to switch to fiddle. So I created a list of all the songs that we called in our last jam and the key. Over the last several weeks I’m trying to play each one of those pieces on the fiddle by ear without sheet music (when possible) so that I could do it during the jam. I started with the easier pieces and trying to learn the harder ones. I played along with fiddlehed whenever possible or Youtube or strummachine (slowed down of course -ha ha). It’s gone really well but I still need more practice of course! The Fall Challenge did help keep me on course. Thanks everyone!!

  9. Today was our last day working at a campsite in Woolacombe, North Devon & we head home tomorrow so this tune seemed appropriate! It’s written by Rupert Kirby called Farewell to North Devon & as you can hear, I’m accompanied by the rain hammering on the roof of our motorhome!

  10. Hey,

    I am Flemish and also very new here, since August, so there is still a lot to discover!
    Playing every day is rather a reward for me than an assigment.
    However it remains a challenge to continnally push your boundaries
    and that is what I really like about this program.
    To play something nice in front of the camera is not as easy as it seemed
    but I had a good time with it.
    It was wonderful to play in nature during a morningwalk today with our grandson.
    The tune is called The Skye Boat Tune. It is a Scottish song.
    I tried also the variations but not yet in front of the camera 😅
    That will be for the next challenge as well as the interplay with a flute.
    Hope you like it!
    Ann 🎻

  11. No video for me today but tonight, I did go to a Halloween party/Old Time jam! I had a great picture but couldn’t figure out how to post it here, so you’ll just have to take my word for it! There were some great costumes and some great tunes played.

  12. Video taken in May of this year:

    I revisited “Road to Lisdoonvarna” tonight for practice. I was so into the recording of this by Jason when I first heard it this year, that I no lie tried to obsessively dissect the song to figure out the different things (techniques/patterns/embellishments/notes) I was hearing. I replayed it and replayed it, trying piece by piece and note-taking my ideas on my “Fiddler’s Fakebook” sheet music for it. I even asked a friend who is much better at understanding music by ear than me to help and he was able to break down a whole section. I actually was surprised that my friend agreed with my guesswork on the intro..which shows me my ear is actually getting better. When I started out with fiddle, I felt discouraged at times because I thought this ability was so poor, but I’ll tell you, don’t let it stop you! Music is for everyone.

    I actually thought about asking Jason to help me continue this song, but wasn’t sure if he’d want to share his secrets from his artwork and felt too shy to ask I guess. So I’ll use this FPC to reach out and request a supplemental video for this song or for extra education on it, as I’d love to understand more about it and try it. I haven’t gotten to the end yet and it’s so packed full of different things like double stops, backwards slides, interesting bowing, and composition, that I don’t believe is all written in the original.

    Someday, I hope I can develop my own voice and express songs my own way without mimicking others too much. But for now, it’s helping me to learn and I find it exciting!

  13. Today, I just wanted to play. To continue with doing videos I decided to play a tune that I learned from my uncle. He learned it from my Great Grandpa and we don’t know the name of this tune. We always called it Grandpa’s Waltz. If anyone had heard this tune before and knows its name let me know. 😊

  14. Busy day today, but I still managed to fit in some practice 😁. I even got my husband involved, he’s learning to play back up guitar. We played thru the Irish medley I’ve been working on. It was fun. 12 days done!

  15. Practicing the train beat today and trying the chords found in “Pretty Little Dog”. I enjoyed playing the melody along with the backing track first.

    Funny enough, all the neighbor dogs can be heard barking in the video as I work on this “Pretty Little Dog” stuff 😅

  16. One of my goals for FPC is to get to a point where I can video myself and play as well as I do when the camera is not on me. As soon as I turn that camera on, I stiffen up and my bowing and intonation go out the window. I’ve made a lot of videos since FPC started and I don’t think I have made much headway in relaxing before the camera. Stage fright. I am actually less nervous at the jams than with the camera, because at the jams, my mistakes are often drowned out by all the other instruments. And even when recording a video, I might feel like I’m doing pretty well, but as soon as I watch/listen, I see the truth of the matter. That is, I am nowhere close to where I thought I was and where I want to go ultimately. I might have even gotten worse, because now I become filled with dread at the thought of turning on the video camera (my iPhone). But I guess I’m being hard on myself. I haven’t been playing very long so maybe I’m being impatient. The FPC has been good for me though, as it has really put a spotlight on my weak areas. I plan to keep on working on it, through the 29th and ever after! Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me and thanks for all the videos everyone else has posted!

    1. Hi Keith, I know what you mean! I found myself being less nervous onstage playing with a band & at jam sessions than playing on a video or even a zoom group of fiddlers! I guess you know on a video that you are Isolated in sound and technique & going to be heard & seen by people who know what they’re doing!! Just remember on Fiddlehed we’re a nice bunch & all going through the same learning process so you’ll always get the support and encouragement. As with most things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. 😊

    2. Hi Keith, You are doing great! When I first started this challenge the last thing I wanted to do was video myself, let alone post it for others to see. The more I did it, however, the more comfortable I got with it. It’s a great learning tool. It’s more forgiving than playing for a live audience, if you mess up real bad, you can stop and delete and try again 😁

    3. Last night was a late practice because I had company arrive. No one minded me working on my lesson, so I continued with my current course progress (Interval Exercise 4) to keep my tone improving. Sometimes it’s helpful for me to just follow the course when I’ve had a busy day.

      1. Oops I meant to post a reply to this and my daily post went in the wrong place.

        I also get nervous taping myself, but I need to do it b/c I don’t get much other feedback (not really playing in jams yet and no live teacher) so I need to critique.

        I tape most of my practices. I turn the video on and let it run, then I crop down to the best version and save it with the song name on my phone. I find leaving the video running, eventually I’ll get in the groove again and play normally, without fear.

  17. Continuing practice with the fingering for the A major pentatonic scale found in the Hesitation Blues lesson and trying it on the lower strings. Decided to “fiddle” around and make some things up after that for fun 😊

  18. Today, to fulfill my FPC commitment, I participated in Jason’s Zoom practice meeting, and tonight I made a (rough!) video of Soldier’s Joy. Getting comfortable being recorded is one of my FPC goals. Not sure how I am proceeding. Normally I wouldn’t post this, but it’s for practice, so it’s ok. 🙂

  19. Well here’s the full medley. I decided to up the speed a bit, so it got a little rough in spots. This is practice after all. Also I had run thru the medley a number of times before the I made the video and my arm was getting tired. How those Irish fiddlers play and play I don’t know 😅

  20. My 4th FPC and I’ve been slacking. Have enjoyed everyone’s videos and nice to see how everyone is progressing! Love all the different songs and variations.
    For this years FPC I’m trying to keep it simple with working on “Cripple Creek”, “King of the Fairies”, and a set “Smash the Windows and Captain White”.

  21. For my practice today I played through all 3 tunes with strum machine each tune twice thru at 75bpm. I got a bit tangled up and lost my place a few times but eventually got thru the whole thing. If I like how it sounds tomorrow I will post a video. This challenge has been great so far and has helped me be more consistent with my other instruments as well. 😁

  22. I’ve been revisiting “Lilting Banshee” variation today and I think I missed the supplemental variation video the first time around! It was really insightful and I can feel myself gaining a deeper understanding of rhythmical variations and composition. I really love to bite into this kind of knowledge and look forward to learning more!

    I am a “fiddle scientist” and I get to “choose my own adventure” (pulling from the Fiddlehed video) 😁!

    I took lots of notes on my sheet music, but I’m not sure how to attach a picture. Anyhow, I think they’ll help my retention of the information. I feel like one my strengths is sight-reading and a weakness is playing by ear/recalling songs from memory. I think the latter is improving some, but it will take time and more focused attention/patience. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that music is about the closest thing to magic you can find in life..Tom Petty said this and I’m a believer too!

    Part A

    Part B

      1. Gee, thanks for your support Keith, you’re very kind. I was very lucky to find a teacher in my area around 10 years ago to help me and Fiddlehed too.. I can’t thank them enough because it truly is hard to learn on your own. I tried it and can compare it to stumbling in the dark with my fingers. I could only understand so much from a book. Thanks again and best to you

        1. Yes, Kayli, you are so right about having a good teacher. I had one locally for a couple months, but he moved away, so I’ve been depending on Jason for 2 years now, and I have only been playing for 2-1/2 years. I would really like to find a local teacher that I can afford. $60 for one lesson a week is too hard on my budget!

          1. Wow Keith, that would be very steep for me too. Around 25 a lesson hour is much more palatable. I didn’t know about Jason back then, and I’m so glad you found him early on and he’s more affordable!

          2. Also, good luck on finding someone locally to help you, too 🍀 You’re doing great and going to jams must be helping you tremendously with harmonizing with others..very fun opportunity

      1. Thank you!! I’ve totally dreamed of doing that. Irish music makes me so happy when I play it. So far I’ve performed at a restaurant with my teacher/friend years ago and one senior living facility this last St. Patrick’s Day. I was most comfortable playing for the seniors, more than I’ve ever been, so I’m hoping I can continue to settle my performance nerves! They sure were a bear at first!

  23. My practice this evening will be a two person jam session with a friend who backs me up on guitar. We do this every 2 or 3 weeks and it’s a lot of fun! We usually play for 4 hours or so, so it is very good practice indeed!

      1. Castanu92, last night we played these old time songs, Benton’s Dream, Gunboat, Lost Girl, Grey Eagle, and Whiteface. I always play fiddle, but my background is acoustic guitar flatpick. Last night it was just myself and a friend on guitar, but my regular Thursday night jam has anywhere from 8-15 people and is all old time with some great fiddlers who know all the old time standards. I learn a lot there…like just how far I have to go, ha ha!

  24. Day 10 Donzoes!!!

    I’ve fiddled more in the past 10 days than anytime when I first took the plunge in 2019!
    I’m actually starting to feel like a fiddler!

    I have not been able to set consistent time and have just been making it a priority at some point in the day but I know I need a set time!

    Thank you Jason and everyone for the platform and support!! Yay! Happy Happy Fall 🎻🍁🎻🍁🎻🍁🎻🍁🎻🎻🎻💖

  25. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice today, so I just played through some of my favorite tunes. This on is so fun to play because I don’t have to struggle with my ring finger and pinky. Also I’m finding it much easier to record and watch myself play. I really am having fun playing this tune even though I look like I’m frowning. I call this look my fiddle face 😂.

    1. This one is fun for me too. I have tried to practice my smile while playing—it’s just as hard as breathing while playing. 😆 I even recorded myself and my “smile” was undetectable. 🧐

  26. I want to say that, while most of the videos I’ve posted here were not tunes I learned from Jason, he is certainly the one most responsible for getting me to this point! Many, many thanks to you, Jason.
    So, this tune is Yew Piney Mtn., a very old modal tune from W. Virginia. I like it because it is sort of spooky, perfect for the season.

  27. Getting a little frustrated with my project songs, I seem to be getting worse! So, I decided to play something fun and forget about my obsession with those other songs, (Indian Ate the Damn Woodchuck and Jaybird died of the Damn Whooping Cough) 🙂 I started playing a pretty easy song I recently learned, Benton’s Dream. Surprised myself by playing it fairly well! Decided, what the heck, let’s video it (one of my FPC goals) and see how it goes. It went well enough that, confidence regained somewhat, I played Yew Piney Mtn. Then shot a video of it also. So I will make two posts since I’m not sure if you can attach two at the same time. Thus, my practice for today’s FPC.

  28. I love practicing this has a really neat feel to it. I noticed I accidentally made a bow sound I didn’t want at one point in the video, but it’s just a reminder to work on smoothness this year and decrease this sort of thing.

    (I started this challenge a few days late, so I’m trying to catch up with extra posts or I would have spread them out.)

      1. Yay, thank you! I can’t claim the variations though, I got them from Jason 🙂 I hope to be embellishing raw music more on my own someday. I’m happy about this part of the process though, too 🍀🎻

  29. I’m really trying to
    have clarity with the variations as I play faster..make sure they don’t sound muddy. I also want to make sure things are tight rhythmically. These are some of things I think about as I try and edit my videos and improve my playing. I watched Jason’s supplemental video for “Rolling Waves Variation” and repeatedly played along, which was very helpful.

  30. This is a song I learned from Jason last year. I’ve been concentrating on Old Time stuff lately but this is a great song that’s kind of Old Time and Irish too. I used it to get my daily dose of video fear today. I don’t even get this nervous at my old time jam, probably because there are lots of other fiddles and banjos to hide my mistakes! 🙂
    And I also practiced my project songs, Indian Ate the Woodchuck and Jaybird Died of the WC.

  31. OK so I took up the challenge of trying a tune I find difficult! The solo part from Fishermans Blues! I’ve been trying this for at least 18months now & the 4th quarter B part still destroys me! I’d love some help with it please Jason on Thursday! 🙏

  32. My offering today is an awful rendition of Jaybird Died of the Whooping Cough. Yes, that’s the real name. 🙂 It is certainly one of my most difficult tunes currently, along with Indian Ate the Woodchuck, my FPC project song. Gotta love the names, right? In old time jams, it’s not considered particularly difficult, but for me it is, ha ha! I am painfully aware of all the mistakes of technique and performance that I make in this rendition. See if you can count them all! (just don’t tell me, ha ha!)

    1. I’m posting these videos to help with one of my FPC goals, becoming more comfortable with being recorded. It’s amazing how you can have a song that you play pretty well, but when you turn the camera on, everything runs off the rails! I swear, it took me 20 takes to get this horrible rendition. And of course, after I quit filming, I could magically play it through with no hiccups. Stage fright. Didn’t Jason have an article about this?

  33. Working on intonation today so I chose Dawning of the Day. It’s a fairly simple tune but can change so much on getting the intonation right. I use some audio recordings then sing it in my head to get it sounding how I I want it

  34. Practice tonight was two steps forward and one step back all night. I slowed down some source tunes and listened to what the fiddle was doing. Then I tried my own version, but adding more variation messed up my bowing pattern and I had to back up and play SLOW. Once I got that down, I sped up and then I couldn’t keep it all in tempo, so back to SLOW. I recorded the whole thing but there was nothing worth sharing tonight. 🤪 It feels like I’m almost getting it, but not there yet.

  35. I was tired after work today, but it felt good to get my instrument in my hands. I revisited “Shady Grove”. I’m posting a short clip of me practicing it in F major tonight.
    I realized that I’ve unfortunately not retained the chords I learned for this, so I plan to practice those more.
    I’m posting the chord backup video I made in January, because it was a big accomplishment for me that Fiddlehed made possible. I have a friend who plays bluegrass and he urged me to learn chords in case I can ever get to one of his Jacksonville, FL jams. Some day I hope!

    F Major clip-

    Chord backup-

      1. Wow, thanks Rachel!! It’s taken many years to get this far and a lot of research/saving to get this fiddle ☺️. My first, and much more affordable one for a single mother at the time, didn’t sound nearly the same. I guess I just wanted to share a little about my journey 💕✨

  36. Yesterday worked on Hesitation,slow double stops and vibrato before meeting with the online group. Today was a travel day. Had I known there would be a two hour traffic tie up I would have pulled over somewhere and practiced 😄. Instead I listened to some tunes I had recorded and of course there’s always audiation and singing! The music is there even if you can’t pick up your instrument.

  37. Yesterday I took a break from Faded Love to spend my hour working on intervals across strings. Tonight I didn’t really have time to practice, but I still worked in 20 minutes for Faded Love, scales, and playing D well on the G, D, and A strings.

  38. I love the Irish variation songs within this course and have revisited one of my favorites today, “Wild Mountain Thyme”. The lyrics to this are just gorgeous, too.

    I feel very drawn to Irish music and the first time I was introduced to “rolls”, I became addicted. Lol. I’ve been working on adding embellishments to songs this year and have grown a lot from the variation songs offered by Jason. Many thanks!!!

    1. Thanks Kayli. I have directed some community theatre and one of my favourite plays of all time was John Patrick Shanley’s “Outside Mullingar”, which featured repeated renditions of that song and it became one of my favourite Celtic tunes. (I’ll let the Scots and Irish argue out the origin!).

      So when I started on fiddle a few years ago I had to start with that tune, though my embellishments are not as refined as yours are. Thanks for sharing!

      1. You’re welcome Tom! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I would have loved to watch/listen to that play, too. Thanks for sharing the experience. I think that working with the theatre as a musician is a neat avenue. I got the chance to help a friend of a friend in theatre with a few violin bits for a community play in Maine. I wasn’t able to see how it turned out, but I hope he was able to use a good amount of our recordings. I was so nervous because I never did anything like that before. The music was also classical and I had to learn a new position to be able to play some of it. I knew it could be improved, but I’m glad I tried my best. I could stick to playing Celtic music most of the time 🍀

      2. P.S. just keep at the embellishments..the more you do them, the more natural they feel. Promise. I just happen to enjoy them so much that I’ve obsessively practiced them, lol. I love the ones Jason does, for example, for his Road to Lisdoonvarna. I try and model them and those of other players from listening. I think you would like “King of the Fairies” by Dave Swarbrick. His are also incredible like Jason’s.

  39. Today, I continued working on my project song, Indian Ate the Woodchuck. It’s coming along. Then I decided to record a tune I’ve recently learned (at our old time jam!) the tune Tipping Back the Corn. This song was written by Jordan Wankoff, of Chicago, Il. It’s a fairly recent song (less than 50 years old) as far as old time music goes, but has become a classic! Plus it’s fun to play. Of course there’s lot’s of improvement to be made here!

    1. Sounds great. Excellent rhythm. Is that you stomping out the beat or do you have a drum-sounding metronome app?

      At the end I noticed it’s not your feet. What’s it called? It adds a good back-up sound.

  40. FPC2023 day 5… I’ve been working on Battle of New Orleans the past couple days and though still a bit rough in places, I decided to put it out there. The droning double stops in the main chorus (starting second time through) were surprisingly achievable and are my favourite part.

  41. Today, I happily fulfilled my Fall Challenge obligation by going to my weekly old time jam! It’s a great group with some really excellent fiddle and banjo players from whom I have learned a ton. Definitely helps to play with folks a lot better than you are yourself!

  42. Yesterday I practiced for a short time. I had worked in my yard and my arms were so tired I my fiddle felt heavy. 😂 Today was better and I worked on Lannigan’s Ball, playing slowly and precisely. It’s the second tune in the Irish medley I’m working on.

  43. My card today is deliberate practice. I started working on the variation of Hesitation and realized I need to work on double stops. I checked that my bow was straight but I still have wavering and inconsistencies especially on an up bow. I will add slow double stop scales to my scale warm ups now. I think it might be a wrist issue.

  44. No video for me today. Earlier today I re-read a piece by Jason that talked about the importance of slowing down so that in the end, you’ll play better once the speed picks up. I guess I’ve always known that helps, but today I really focused on this technique with four of my hardest songs, Indian Ate the Woodchuck (video I posted yesterday), Jaybird Died of the Whooping Cough, Forked Deer, and Lost Girl. I set the metronome to 70, 80, then 100 (jam speed more or less). I played several times through on each song at each speed, and wow, it really helped when I got back up to speed! I’m not sure why I was hesitant to slow down my practice before, but I think life in general would be better slowed down a bit!

  45. Having trouble getting my videos to post. Day one I shared vibrato practice. I’ve been working on that for about a month and I feel pretty comfortable with third finger but not first and second. Day two I played Fisher’s Hornpipe. I’ve been working on speed and accuracy on that one.

  46. Day 2 trying playing it slowly. I used Amazing Slow Downer. The original is 100 bpm so I cut it in half and played 50 bpm ten times through. Noticed some extra diddly-dos I could try (and they were pretty easy at that speed). I can’t use my metronome and record simultaneously.

  47. I started this challenge yesterday and I aim to practice at least 20 minutes a day. I posting a video for the first time today. O’Keefe’s Slide. I plan to work on a medley of Irish tunes in ‘Em during this challenge

  48. I woke up with a tune in my head and couldn’t remember what it was so looked it up & found it was one I haven’t played in a long time! When I tried to play it I couldn’t get the first part right then Jason’s post came through about slowing down so here it is!

  49. Today, I am posting the hardest song I know, Indian Ate the Woodchuck. It’s in the key of D using standard tuning. I will be practicing this song throughout the Fall Challenge and will re-record it at the end to see if I made any progress! I know the notes, it’s just getting the timing and intonation right now! Of course there are bowing issues, stiff wrist issues, oh well, it needs a lot of work! 😉
    When I first joined Fiddlehed about 2 years ago, Jason suggested practicing every day and keeping a journal. I took his advice and now I normally practice two hours a day and keep a detailed journal of everything I do during that time. It makes a big difference!

  50. I’m a day late. Going to plan on at least 30 minutes a day. Working on intonation, getting more solid on tunes I know , and I’d like to start practicing playing backup chords with old time tunes. I think the journal is a good idea. I might try to video Green Willis—I can tell that by breaking it down into chenks and playing the hard parts slowly that it will help with both my intonation and bowing. Now I’ll go try to figure out how to make a video

  51. On the road up in Canada for the week. Started just about a day late but will keep consistent here on out. Even with the mute on the fiddle I want to be considerate of the late night playing at the hotel LOL… Always appreciate the fall challenge. Enjoy y’all!

  52. After falling off the fiddle wagon, so to speak, I am hoping this will get me back into the daily practice routine. Still working out specific goals beyond improving tone that sounds like skis on gravel — but daily practice will help me get back on track. 👍 Happy to take part.

  53. First day in the books! My goal is 20 minutes per day, focusing on a few specific tunes and doing “Violin Aerobics.”
    The fall practice challenge always seems to come at just the right time for me, helping me to re-commit to my practice time as we go into the darker months. Thanks fiddlehed!

  54. I’m so glad you inspired me to do this! I put down the fiddle a few years ago when life took a turn, I was just a beginner. I’ve just moved across the country, finally feel like this house is a home and I’m ready to take it back up again! My intention for this fall practice challenge is to just get back into the joy I once had in learning the fiddle! I think I can do 25 minutes a day before my neck starts hurting 😀

  55. It may be Fall Practice Challenge, but for me It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. I’ve been working on this song, and I intend to have it “performance ready” by the end of the challenge. This means I’ll be ready to record my video for Fiddlerman’s annual group Christmas project. Each year, these projects are a musical milestone for me as I inventory which aspects of my playing have improved over the year and which aspects of playing need focus in the upcoming year. These projects become all-consuming as I try to do my best and truly work through the challenging parts. With an early start this year, hopefully I can complete the video and then re-focus on other fiddling pursuits and the upcoming holidays.

    1. Had a great day of practice sessions. Fiddle is kept out and I keep returning to it multiple times throughout the day. Took Jason’s “Lifting the Bow” lesson again, followed by practice. This technique plays an important part in these Christmas projects that are arranged by a classical musician. Bowing matters. There are multiple instances of a bow lift after playing B on the A string followed by a landing playing 4th finger D on the G string. Brushed up on that technique and it went well. Worked on sets of triplet runs. They are really starting to blossom. Thanks for the support, Deb.😊

  56. Since I practice every day and keep a detailed daily journal anyhow, why not make it part of the Challenge and share with others! I will be working on my old time repertoire, with focus on improving my performance with video. I find that with songs I normally play well, I get very nervous and often choke when the camera is turned on! Of course, working on playing cleanly and with good intonation is always a challenge!

    1. You sound just like me – the daily practice, the daily journal, the choking before a camera playing familiar songs … here’s to playing cleanly and with good intonation. To get there, I will exercise patience and slow down, way down. Here’s to slow FUN!

  57. Shifted my focus a week or two ago from learning variations of old-time tunes with double-stops to closed-position chord shapes. Will continue my work on those while also getting back to more tune variations.

      1. Hello, I actually started yesterday, practiced technique and sound. I’m still playing a few of the basics; You Are My Sunshine and Old Joe Ckark. My goal is to have the Holly and the Ivy underway by Christmas.
        Going to practice a bit again this evening.