Community
You must be a member to respond to discussions.
Discussion

James Marshall
Hi Beth! I started fiddle on Dec. 14th- Today is January 26th. So a month... I feel I am progressing at a faster than normal pace, and I would like yours, and others feedback. It would only serve to strengthen my resolve. First, I have to say that I am a Professional musician- I play Irish Flute and whistle, bodhran drum and various percussion, strumstick, and a little guitar, and I sing. I've been playing on stage in performances 30-40x yr. My mother graduated Sum Cum Laude from McGill- and finished her PhD in musicology elsewhere, and my dad played the pipes. I was immersed in music since 1st grade and Peter and the Wolf..That's my background- oh, and 4 yrs trumpet- Anyway, my ear is highly tuned. In fact, even though I can read music, and have basic music theory to help me, I find that if I listen to a tune, depending on the difficulty, I can pick it up by ear...Irish music. It's how I learned. Session, you know? Anyway- back to my question! 1 month, and I'm playing these songs: Ashokan, Out on the Ocean, Kesh and Swallowtail jigs, Wind that Shakes the Barley, Scotland the Brave, Neil Gows Lament, Ookpik Waltz, and 1/2 doz. more off our set list (60+) It seems like every day, every hour, every minute I play, I improve!! I come home from work- eat, and start at 6pm...Many times I keep playing to 11-12am! Yes, I take 10-20 min breaks, watch some TV, get up, more fiddle...watch TV, more fiddle...all night LONG!! I would say I'm averaging 40 hrs a week practice time. Is this unhealthy even though I am enjoying it and not sore? It's actually becoming an addiction! So..Question: Is it unhealthy? Am I progressing faster than normal? Should I stop and back off? (Don't know if I CAN!) :) :) Thanks...Sorry for the ramble on! lol...
James Marshall
4 Responses
Posted: January 26, 2011
Last Comment: January 29, 2011
Replies

James Marshall
Posted: January 29, 2011
Beth, You're adorable... ;) Love your lessons. Very comprehensive and informative! I'll watch 8-10 lessons on Saturday morning, and play throughout the day, then reinforce by re-watching and going over the mental checklist 'did I do this, that or the other?" correctly...Thanks SO much for your input!! J-

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 28, 2011
James, I hope you will share some of your slips and jigs with us. I do love Irish fiddling. When you're ready to share (post video), we'd love to be your first audience!

James Marshall
Posted: January 28, 2011
Hi Beth! Thanks for the nice comments...In re-reading my post, I kind of came off a bit egotistical, which was not my intent at ALL...Simply enthusiastic, lol...Yes, I was very lucky to have a mother who taught 45 yrs at home following her 2-yr stint with the BSO (60 students-7 days a week in the 70s- at their home and ours!)They were going on tour, and she had 'kids'... the rest is history... Anyway, being imbued with everything from Malkazinski to Mozart was something that is not typically germain to a 5-yr olds lifestyle. I think that is what trained my ear. Playing the bodhran drum, I certainly have plateaued, and you are correct... I will at this too! I believe the bodhran has trained my wrist flexibility as well as instilled in me meter/tempo, The Irish whistle/Irish flute has given me the ability to insert grace notes (cuts, crans, rolls, slides, etc.) where I want to, and since I know HOW they should sound, I aurally seek them on fiddle and 'fiddle' around until I develop the technique (using your videos as my guide/starting point of course!) Since I know the style of the muscic (My parents were Canadian of Scottish and Irish parentage) and have been exposed to slip jigs, jigs, reels, strathspeys,etc.and what not, the up-bow/down-bow, pauses, and rythym is something I pay attention to right from measure one! I'll take it slow, but stay in cadence, and refrain from adding ornamentation until I get familiar with bow technique... Such are my marathon practice sessions...except tonight- tonight I watch streaming Netflix and say 'not tonight, fiddle...I have a headache!' lol... ;) Actually, the 1832 Guarneri is named Catriona ('little friend', in Irish) and the Chinese manufactured, albeit nice 2004 redhead is called,Shannon- ha, ha... Where do I want to be as a fiddler? Not classical. Not leaning that way. While I respect the dedication, the preciseness and the talent, I've seen too many who get flustered and can't think outside the box (what are the 'rules?' in Irish music? Where does it say on the 'page' to put that trill?lol) Nope... I'm playing for myself, to jam with others while I enjoy my Jameson, and to perform on stage to a crowded venue- It'll come-It already IS! But you're right...I need to build the platform starting NOW! Thanks for all these wonderful videos! WONDERFUL!! Thank you! (Bows down at the beautiful Beth in awe...lol)

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 27, 2011
Hi James (aka Hot Shot), and welcome! I love stories like yours. Your enthusiasm is infectious. There is absolutely no doubt that those who have been hard-wired for music at a very young age have many advantages when learning a new instrument. You not only did you grow up around music, but you have expertise in diverse musical languages. You have the rhythmic encoding from playing drums, left hand coordination from playing guitar, and the ear from singing. Many people, I know, are very envious of that rich musical heritage. Also impressive is your addiction to practicing! Of all the things one can be addicted to in this world, I say violin is a HEALTHY addiction. As for progressing: I have seen many times in my experience as a teacher, students, who like yourself, have a built in "ready-to-go" ability that allows them to go from ground zero to pretty decent in no time. However, and it is a big however, at some point your musical background will take you to a plateau, and beyond that, it will be up to proper training that will carry you on to more advanced playing. I don't know what your aspirations are. Are you wanting to expand to classical literature? with 40 hours a week of practice and proper training you could be quite proficient.