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Pauline Lerner

I won't have to work hard, will I?

September 4, 2006 at 9:35 AM


I got a phone call from an adult who is considering taking fiddle lessons.

She: I studied violin when I was in school, but I haven’t played for the last ten years. I must not be a natural talent because I had to work so hard to learn.

Me: I’m not surprised that you had to work hard to learn to play the violin. Everyone has to work hard. Violin is very technical.

She: I eventually learned to play string quartets and stuff, but it was too hard. Now I think I like bluegrass music. I won’t have to work hard to learn it, will I?

Me: Thinks: I just got Mel Bay’s Fiddling Handbook by Craig Duncan. It has warm up and finger strengthening exercises; scales with bowing variations for all major, melodic minor, harmonic minor, and chromatic scales; chord studies (double stops, three note chords, four note chords) for all major, minor, seventh, minor seventh, sixth, diminished, and augmented chords; bowing exercises; vibrato exercises; licks; common patterns of notes; and etudes in blues, swing, bluegrass, contest, oldtime, Cajun, jig, slip jig, hornpipe, and ragtime styles. Says: Every genre of fiddle playing has its own techniques, joys, and challenges.

She: I’m very busy with my job and other things. I just don’t have time to practice much. What do you think?

Me: I think you should get a guitar and a video or book that shows you how to play chords. In a few weeks, maybe less, you’ll be able to strum along and accompany yourself when you sing. That will be more satisfying for you.

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