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Help: Learning to play fiddle

Peter Fisher 27 Dec 99 - 10:16 AM
katlaughing 27 Dec 99 - 02:14 PM
charcloth 27 Dec 99 - 04:22 PM
jeffp 27 Dec 99 - 05:38 PM
Nancy 27 Dec 99 - 08:25 PM
27 Dec 99 - 08:46 PM
Peter Fisher 28 Dec 99 - 05:20 PM
katlaughing 28 Dec 99 - 06:16 PM
jeffp 28 Dec 99 - 07:27 PM
Liam's Brother 28 Dec 99 - 08:09 PM
katlaughing 16 Jan 00 - 11:39 AM
JenEllen 16 Jan 00 - 06:18 PM
JamesJim 16 Jan 00 - 11:14 PM
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Subject: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: Peter Fisher
Date: 27 Dec 99 - 10:16 AM

What's the best way to learn to play the fiddle? My son (age 22) got a fiddle for Christmas and wants to teach himself to play. He can't afford lessons. Any recommendations on the best book/video/tape etc. for a beginner who wants to play old time/country fiddle(he's inspired by the Holy Modal Rounders, among others)?


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Dec 99 - 02:14 PM

Peter, are there any groups that get together to jam where you are? Maybe an old time fiddler's assoc.? Does he read music or have a good ear?

I am not familiar with any videos/books because that sin't how I learned. I will bring the thread back up to the top for you, though, as I am sure someone will have some suggestions.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: charcloth
Date: 27 Dec 99 - 04:22 PM

try homespun tapes. they have some outstanding material


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: jeffp
Date: 27 Dec 99 - 05:38 PM

If you can link up with an experienced fiddler to show him the basics, like good ways to hold the fiddle and bow, advice on string choice, etc., it can save developing bad habits that will interfere with his progress. Maybe somebody local will take him under his wing. I have been playing for 2 years, and I agree with the teacher I had for the first 4 months. He said, "Playing the fiddle is like walking a tightrope while juggling. . . . blindfolded."

It's tough, because there's a lot going on, but when you start to get the hang of it, it's really rewarding. Lots of luck!

Jeffp


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: Nancy
Date: 27 Dec 99 - 08:25 PM

Hi, Here is a link to the lady that got me started playing the fiddle. It uses tablature that is easy to read and an audio tape that plays the song slowly and at normal speed. This way you don't have to learn to read music...yet! Also, by all means like Jeffp above says, link-up with a player that can show you how to hold the bow correctly etc. Later, learn to use your ear to pick-up tunes, this all takes TIME and PRACTICE. If you have the "fiddle fever" like I do you'll be playing in no time! Good luck. Nancy http://www.snowcrest.net/ehorner/audio.htm


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From:
Date: 27 Dec 99 - 08:46 PM

I've been playing for a bit under 3 years. Playing the fiddle has been one of the best journeys of my life...also one of the most frustrating, at least in the beginning. Man, you got to want it bad! I play/practice at least one hour each day and have since the beginning. I also took some suzuki lessons in the beginning and more recently have been studying old time with a few WV locals. My interest has always been old time. I know you said he can't afford lessons but he can't afford not too really. If he just went even once for 30 minutes (it cost me here in WV 12$) he could learn soooo much!

If he really really can't squeeze a lesson or two...find a fiddler somewhere and pick their brain and watch them play...you can learn so much by watching and listening.

Best of luck... the satisfaction of playing the fiddle is well worth the effort.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: Peter Fisher
Date: 28 Dec 99 - 05:20 PM

Thanks all for your advice. That's a good idea to try to take at least a couple of lessons to get off on the right track on the basics. There's bound to be someone in NYC where he lives, though that wouldn't be my favorite place to start looking. I'll also try Nancy's web site and look for homespun tapes.


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Dec 99 - 06:16 PM

Peter, we have a couple of Mudcatters in NYC, perhaps they will read this and give you some more ideas. There MUST be plenty of sessions he could go to to watch and learn from.

I started playing when I was 8 years old, trained classical through high school and beyond, but grew up hearing my dad play fiddle. It does take a good ear and a LOT of practise, as the others have said. My dad still plays at 82 years old and he still practises at least 2-3 hours everday to keep it up.

I am not trying to sound discouraging, just realistic about what it takes. There are simple tunes etc. which can be learned fairly quickly, though, once one has the basics down of bowing and fingering. It looked as though the site listed above had some pretty good examples and tapes to learn from.

Good luck!

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: jeffp
Date: 28 Dec 99 - 07:27 PM

There must be some Celtic fiddle teachers in NYC. They might be easier to find than old-time fiddlers there. The techniques are probably very similar and I'm sure they would at least be transferable.

Classical violin teachers would probably be very little help beyond the extreme basics, as the approach to the instrument is completely different. I had a very fun talk with a local middle school orchestra director about the differences once. I have also been in a few Irish fiddle classes with classical violinists who were completely lost without written music. I could sympathise as I had to break away from a classical music education to learn to play rock and roll. Surprisingly enough, that helped me when I started playing traditional Celtic music. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 28 Dec 99 - 08:09 PM

I suggest you call the Irish Arts Center at 212-757-3318.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Jan 00 - 11:39 AM

Just received the following info from InOBU, another of our NYC based 'Catters:

"There is a very nice beginners seisun at Jack Dempseys pub on 2nd ave. between 4th and 3rd streets on Tuesday nights, starting about 8. If he is going, he can send me a message, and if I am free, I can introduce him about. There are a number of very nice begingers who all help each other."

Thanks to you, Larry/InOBU for getting back to me.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: JenEllen
Date: 16 Jan 00 - 06:18 PM

Another option, one that we use frequently here, is your local community college. Our local's music program classes are taught by members of the symphony here. The classes are relativley inexpensive, and the teachers allow you to make your own appointments for lessons. They can take you at whatever point you are at, and get you where you need to go. Hope it helps, Elle


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Subject: RE: Help: Learning to play fiddle
From: JamesJim
Date: 16 Jan 00 - 11:14 PM

I second Charcloth on "Homespun Tapes")Woodstock, N.Y. 1-800-338-2737. Great variety of tapes/artists-teachers to learn from(Kevin Burke, Matt Glaser, Kenny Kosek, Mark O'Conner, Sam Bush, etc.)and at very reasonable prices ($40/$70). Both Audio and Video tapes available. Great way to learn. Jim


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