Making a commitment

At this time last year, I made commitment to learn or relearn a tune a week for 52 weeks. There were some weeks where I had to put it off and learn 2 tunes but for the most part, I stayed true to my goal of learning a tune a week for an entire year. I must say, I’m pretty darn proud of myself.

Photo by Markus Winkler on

My main reason for starting this, was to force myself to practice. Because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to play music together so this was my way of keeping motivated and engaged. And it worked. There is nothing like setting a goal and sticking to it.

I want to share some of the things I’ve learned throughout this experience:

  • Writing down a goal helps to achieve it. Not only did I write it down but I promised my readers that I would commit to it for a year. So whether anyone read or listened to my blog posts and tunes, I felt an obligation to stay true to my word.
  • Listening is as important as learning. So many of my teachers and mentors have told me to listen to the music first. It’s almost impossible for me to learn a tune I’ve never heard before. So listen to as much music as you can. It’s true that if you can sing it, you can play it.
  • Record yourself. So many times I’ve played a tune and then recorded myself playing only to find out that things aren’t always what they seem. It is so beneficial to hear and watch yourself playing. You don’t necessarily need to share it like I did but there is so much to learn from listening to yourself.
  • Some days are easier than others. Some days I couldn’t wait to pick up my fiddle and learn something new. Other days I literally had to force myself to do it. It’s ok if one day you’re rocking out on your instrument and the next day you feel like you barely know how to play it. It’s all part of the process, enjoy it.
  • Take a break. There is definitely a benefit to practicing every day. But life does get in the way sometimes and sometimes we just need to take a break. Don’t beat yourself up. Relish in the break and then get back to practicing. I think you’ll find you’ll play better because of it.

So here it is, the last tune of this series and it’s one of my favorite reels, Tommy Peoples. I appreciate all your comments and notes throughout the last year. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tunes as much as I have enjoyed learning and playing them. And I hope to play music with you soon.

Tommy People’s Reel: Tune 52

Though this is the last tune of this series, I will continue to blog about my musical journey, upcoming events, music, musicians, festivals and anything else I can come up with. If you have a topic you’d like me to explore feel free to leave it in the comments.

In the meantime, happy fiddling!

Now onto the next musical challenge…

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