Tag Archives: LearnFiddle.com

New Year, New Goals

As you approach the new year, I’m sure you have a few resolutions.  For me, it’s drinking less coffee, avoid getting distracted by my phone so much, and focusing on being an even better father and teacher.  But for those of you trying something new, like fiddling, or picking up the fiddle after some time off, I’d like to offer some suggestions that will help you get started and stay on course.

1.  Get the book.  Fiddling, The Basics and Beyond, was written to take you step by step, no matter your playing ability, through the difficult and rewarding world of playing fiddle.  There’s over two and a half hours of audio recordings at multiple speeds for EVERY VERSION of every tune.

2.  Once you have the book, browse through it and see which tune, and it’s version, applies to you.  If it’s the beginning, great!  If it’s in the middle of the book, that’s cool too!

3.  Now that you’ve chosen the tune, find the FREE etude video at LearnFiddle.com, that goes with your tune.  Do this FIRST.  The etudes are built to prepare you for the tune, not to be done as an afterthought.

4.  Once you’ve mastered the etude, purchase the video that matches the version you’re learning.  Then, take your time.

5.  Be consistent!  If you really want to make the most out of this, 30 minutes a day will help get you on your way.

6.  Take it slow.  Don’t try to learn and perfect the entire tune in one day!  Get comfortable with a set of bars, then move to the next, then the next.  Once you have it all steady at one, slow tempo, then start using a metronome to speed it up.

7.  Be patient with yourself.  If you get mad, you will be tense.  That’s not good.  If you find yourself getting frustrated.  Walk away, clear your head and come back later.  But forgive yourself and accept the mistakes as the chance to make progress.  Focus on the sound you want, not the mistakes you’ve made.

8.  Ask questions!  I’m here to help!  Feel free to email me! Info@LearnFiddle.com.

GOOD LUCK!

Boil Them Cabbage Down Preview

By Patrick Clark

We are constantly working on ways to improve our website to make it easier for you to use.  This week, we want to showcase the preview video that we created to help you decide which version is best for you.  So, please, take a moment to watch and choose your version.  Any questions, just email us.  Info@learnfiddle.com

Boil Them Cabbage Down, Preview

 

Getting Stuck

By: Patrick Clark

I had a private student come in today, who I’ve had for a year.  Before me, he had another teacher for a year.  His total playing time is now two years and we haven’t passed the twinkles.  I finally have him where his technique is really consistent, but he’s been having incredible pitch issues.  AND he has finger tapes.  I was really surprised, and a bit frustrated.  Then it dawned on me… He’s been on the same tunes for two years.  He doesn’t care about the pitch.  The poor kid is bored!

So, I put him on the next piece, removed two finger tapes and there it was.  PITCH!  He finally found it!  He didn’t have the feel of the tapes so he was forced to use his ears AND he had to think differently because he had no clue what he was doing with the new piece.  It was a rough go at the beginning of the lesson but he came around.

So, how does this apply to the folks at Learn Fiddle Online?  Well, here’s how.  If you find yourself staying on the same tune for too long, trying to perfect it, you may want to move laterally in difficulty or just move forward a bit.  Sometimes, the demands of the slightly harder piece force you into the right technique, or pitch in this case, without even realizing it.  Sometimes, you just have to change it up.

So, lets say you’re working on Cripple Creek, Version 2.  Maybe it’s been a long time and it’s just not where you want it.  First, trouble shoot the way you’re practicing.  Check out my post about practice habits.  Then, contact us on Facebook.  While you’re doing this, you may want to consider looking at Old Joe Clark Version 2.  It’s a little more advanced but it might change it up enough to force you out of a bad habit.  Also, check out the FREE technique videos that accompany Cripple Creek and Old Joe Clark.

This is just one small scenario but the principles still apply for whatever tune you’re working on.  Remember, I’m here to help!  I truly want you to succeed so feel free to ask questions.

Best Beginner Fiddle

By: Patrick Clark

After playing for over 25 years, and teaching for almost 15 of those years, I’ve had the opportunity to try nearly every “brand name” student fiddle on the market.  I’ve found some amazing, inexpensive fiddles in my day.  But finding the best, most consistent brand, can be very hard.  When talking about “student” instruments, there are several factors that you have to consider.

1. Size (Is the student a child or an adult)

2. Price (There is a breaking point between student and advanced)

3. Manufacturer

So, let’s talk about the size first.  There are a lot of choices out there for fractional size student instruments.  Most, these days, are made in China.  But, let’s be honest, how much sound can you really get out of an 1/8 size violin? Or, even a 1/4 size?  The answer is, not really that much.  Quality and consistency is very important but peeling paint off the wall like a 17 million dollar Guarneri?   Well just look at the price tag, it’s probably an unrealistic expectation for a fractional size.

The bottom line is, the instrument has to have a good, rich (enough) sound, and be set up properly.  It must be forgiving when you play it.  Set up is EVERYTHING folks!  The initial muscle memory put into the hands is FOREVER.  Therefore, when choosing an instrument to learn on for the first time, you may become very overwhelmed with the options.  And, chances are, you have no idea what you are doing or looking for.  A great recipe for OVERLOAD!!!!

I spent about a year and a half working for Eastman Music Company, in California.  While there, my job was to travel all over the country selling Eastman’s violins to violin shops.  I played HUNDREDS of student, step up, and professional instruments.  The constant that seems to be an issue with many student instruments is nut heights, bridge heights, and neck placements.  All of which, if you’re not hip to these issues, may be overlooked.  I’ll come back to Eastman in a minute.

Price. Price! PRICE!!! If you’re looking to buy, you’re going to have to spend AT LEAST $500 or more for a DECENT STUDENT FIDDLE.  REGARDLESS of size.  There was an article that was shunned for calling some sub par instruments Violin Shaped Objects.  VSOs for short.  The author was RIGHT.  You might get lucky and get something for cheaper, but the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” applies here.

Now back to Eastman.  There are many instrument manufacturers all over the world.  I could tell you a few that I don’t believe in, but let’s not waste your time with negatives.  Eastman Music Company is the distributor AND manufacturer of their instruments.  This means that they have complete quality control over their product.  I’ve been a clinician for Eastman for almost 6 years.  A year and a half of those 6 years, I was an employee.  I left the company to pursue my passion for teaching and I currently continue to be a national clinician for the company today.

My passion for education and demand of quality from my students, and business associates leads me to recommend Eastman violins/fiddles for the FIRST student instrument.  Every beginner I take, I put on an Eastman.  It has nothing to do with business loyalty or internal politics.  It has everything to do with quality.  So, in a culture where we feel the need to trust big names, Eastman, is one that you can trust.  The company has a customer satisfaction promise that is very fair.  I stand by them both as a clinician, and as a consumer.

Best Beginner Instrument = Eastman Fiddle

For more information about purchasing an instrument, or to consider renting, check out my book, “Fiddling, The Basics and Beyond.”

 

Finally Open

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well! We are finally completely open for business! The videos are being added regularly so keep yourself in touch by checking in. We are going to add a couple more things to the site over the coming weeks. First, there will be a new opening video that will walk you through signing up for the All Access membership. Second, there will be a newer, nicer welcome page for all of you when you sign in. Third, there will be a sample lesson posted on the site itself so that people, maybe you, can see what’s really happening here before you decide to pay. I am very excited about this

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and I hope you will be too! Please post any questions, comments, or anything else here on this blog post, or start your own! Thanks for your time and I look forward to chatting with you and teaching you soon!

Patrick