Monday, November 02, 2009

I'm learning the fiddle once again

Speaking of canceled Adult Education classes, they canceled my fiddle class. I only attended the class to learn tunes, not necessarily the fiddle. The fiddle was just along for the ride. But taking the class got me mildly interested in the fiddle again.

Somewhere I had a book I bought along with the fiddle. I think I've had the book and fiddle for about 14 years. I went through a phase right after I bought it where I really wanted to learn so I practiced my arm off. I never really got anywhere with it. So I put it away until I got interested in Irish traditional music. I made an attempt to learn the fiddle again, but once I realized you could play the flute in the Irish music tradition, I decided to play the flute instead.

While playing the Irish flute, I met musicians in town who invited me to come to the Glendessary Jam where they play American Old-time music. Unfortunately, the flute doesn't fit in, so I traded one of my flutes for a mandolin and have been playing the mandolin at the jam session. I took the fiddle class just so that I could hear some of the tunes we play at the jam slow enough to pick up all the notes.

The fiddle class helped me get interested in the fiddle again and helped me learn to play the instrument. Attending the Glendessary Jam has helped a lot with the fiddle, too, even though I've been plucking a mandolin. Sometimes just being around music and having it running through your head enables learning. Many aural traditions of music insist that you listen first, anyway.

So, recently I found my old fiddle book and it really has helped me with bowing, more than my class had. All it took was a tiny little demonstration in the book and now I think I'm actually catching on. It's almost sounding like music, although my intonation leaves much to be desired. I'm working on that too. I'm actually having a lot of fun. Maybe I will be a fiddler after all.

Life is so much more fun when you are learning. We should all have time to follow our interests and fill our lives with new skills.

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