April 14, 2012
When it comes to learning tunes by ear, for some reason it takes me forever. And I’ve been doing it the same way since, well, forever.
I memorize tunes kind of like I memorized my lines in the high school play. I learn line 1, then learn line 2. Then I say lines 1 and 2. Then I learn line 3 and say lines 1, 2 and 3 and so on. So by the time I’m finished I know line 1 like nobody’s business.
I learn tunes the same way. I learn the first few notes of the A-part. I play that a few times then learn a few more notes and play it from the beginning and on it goes. The problem is, I end up learning the A-part of the tune really well and the B-part never gets enough practice.
This became really evident when I started learning the tune the Wise Maid. It’s kind of a notey tune. Especially in the B-part. So the more I played the tune, the more the A-part became second nature and B-part never fully got as much practice.
So…my new method is to learn a tune backwards. I’ll learn the B-part first then the A-part. I’ll keep you posted as to how it works out.
April 1, 2012
A few weeks ago I got 100 miles in on my bike and 100 miles in on my fiddle. I mean with two gigs and two sessions during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend I think we can count that as miles on the fiddle don’t you? Anyway, it got me thinking that my two passions are similar in so many ways.
- You never forget how to ride a bike. Though sometimes it’s hard to remember tunes I learned a year ago, I still remember where to place my fingers and strike my bow. It’s always a bit refreshing when I start playing again after taking some time off.
- Practice makes perfect. I’ll never ride like Lance Armstrong just like I’ll never play like Liz Carroll but the more I ride and the more I play, the more precise I get.
- Biking is meditative. Whether you’re riding a long ride on your bike or playing fiddle in a killer session, both can clear your mind of stress.
- You can do it alone or in a group. It’s nice to play in a session but isn’t it also nice to rock out a few tunes in the comfort of your living room?
- You need to build up endurance. It’s not easy to play three shows on St. Patrick’s Day without lots of practicing in between. Just like it’s not easy to ride 50 miles on your first ride of the season.
Tis the season to ride more and play more. Happy playing!