Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

Same instrument, different style. Violin tends to mean classical as well as jazz and rock players who have classical training. Fiddle music is old-time, bluegrass, irish, klezmer and other folk styles. Sometimes fiddlers will flatten the bridge a little.

I'm an absolute beginner. Where do I start?

You've come to the right place. Just go to the Beginner Course Outline. This the lessons out in a progressive, step-by-step manner. And by mid-October, it will be about 1000 times better!!

Should I choke up on the bow?

A lot of fiddlers do this and sound amazing. My personal preference is not to choke up. I have a classical hold, but can do fiddle music with it just fine. Plus it offers the flexibility to do other styles of music.

Should I buy an expensive violin to start or a cheap one for $100?

I don't recommend the $100 route unless there's simply no other affodrable way. Playing those violins can be such a frustrating experience that you might give up. It's already a challening instrument, why set yourself back further? Get something that you can AFFORD that sounds good. If you want to buy something online, I know this Cremona to be a decent fiddle for the price.

How much should I practice?

At least ten minutes a day, without fail. The more the merrier. Make it like brushing your teeth. And make brushing your teeth as fun as fiddling. Yeehaw!

How should I practice?

This question could be answered with a book, which I'm currently working on!! Short answer: practice every day for at least 10 minutes. Focus on good sound with a small number of tunes and pieces rather than on accumulating the number of tunes you know. Play the scale of the tune before you start. Don't practice the whole thing at once. concentrate on small little phrases until they sound amazing. Use looping and throw-away bow. More on this soon.

Should I practice scales even though I'm just doing fiddle music and not classical?

YES!! Scales are incredibly useful. Not too mention great fun if you practice them creatively. You can plug rhythms, bowings, expression, melodic variation, double stops and more to make them interesting. Practicing scales will develop your ear and tuning. You pick up tunes more quickly and generally be much more successful in every aspect of your life ;)

How often should i rosin the bow?

Every couple of days. If you need more and more rosin, then it might be time to re-hair the bow.

Should I learn to read music?

Only if you want to. It is a very useful skill, for you can more quickly learn music. Though it can also be a pitfall if you rely on it to much (as some classically trained players can attest to). I'm hard at work on a new fiddlehed site that will teach this.

Should I hire a teacher or are your videos enough?

I recommend learning from a teacher if you can find one you like. It's a great experience and you'll learn more quickly with less bad habits. If there is just no one around who can teach you then you're stuck with me!!! Ha ha. It's a joy to teach you :)

What is the meaning of life?

MUSIC!!!!!!

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