Often times I’m at a loss for what to practice, which sometimes discourages me from practicing at all. Do I practice my scales, do I learn a new tune, practice old ones or do I just fiddle around with what is off the top of my head? Without having a teacher, it’s difficult to figure out what exactly to practice that will make me a better fiddler.
The other day I picked up my fiddle while my friend was over, and just started playing whatever tune came to mind. I didn’t quite want to practice scales in front of my friend because frankly they’re boring to practice and I can’t imagine how dreadful they would be to listen to. I didn’t want to try to learn a new tune mostly because of the same reasons. So I just just started playing old tunes that I haven’t played in a while and were a bit rusty on. At the end of it, I didn’t feel much like I gained anything except some giggles from my friend and a resurrection of some old tunes.
But here’s the thing, practice actually means: to perform or do habitually or usually, according to dictionary.com. So if that’s the case doing any and all of the above is considered practice. I guess just having the instrument in my hand and pulling notes out of it in any way is beneficial, as long as I do it “habitually” or “usually.” So maybe I’ve been too hard on myself.
I try to pick up my fiddle every day or at least every other day to play a tune, run through a scale or just mess around. And each time I pick it up, I gain something. If nothing else, I gain miles on the fiddle.