Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fiddling goals update

We had a fiddle performance yesterday, which made me think about the two-month Fiddling Goals I set for myself on April 9. It's been four months, and I haven't done very well, though camp was very helpful. Here's an update:

So, my cello fiddling goals for the next 2 months:
  • Go to at least 2 fiddle sessions a month (I have been attending only one).
  • I have achieved this goal. We have had lots of performances this summer, and I go to most of them. But I still miss more practice sessions than I attend.
  • Practice fiddle tunes as part of regular practice (not just the day before fiddle session).
  • I have not been good about this, except when I get immersed in a particular tune. I have learned a few more tunes on the cello, but they are not always hesitation-free, or fast enough.
  • Practice reading from treble clef and transposing an octave down mentally, to avoid having to transpose tunes on paper, just to memorize them.
  • I have been able to do this to some degree, but it is still easier to read bass clef, unless it is a slow tune. I still like to write the music into Coda Finale in bass clef and put it in my loose-leaf notebook of cello fiddling tunes.
  • Study the cello fiddle accompaniment books that I have (the best one, I think, is by Renata Bratt).
  • I have not done much with this, except for an hour or so at fiddle camp. The information makes much more sense after camp.
  • Learn a few more tunes in Abby Newton's book, Crossing to Scotland, even if they are not in the fiddlers' current repertoire. I love this book, and the group is usually happy to learn new tunes.
  • This I have done. though they are not totally memorized. I do want to continue with this.
It is interesting that I didn't include learning by ear in this list, or learning to play accompaniment by ear, both of which were priorities for me at fiddle camp. Thanks to camp, I have made some progress with these two things.

So, I should add a couple of goals:
  • Work more on learning by ear, from other players, from CDs, and from working out known tunes by myself.
  • Work out and memorize accompaniments for some of our standard tunes so that I am not always guessing what the next chord is. I think this will make improvisation easier, eventually.
  • Practice fiddle tunes on a regular basis, perhaps according to a schedule.
I should mention that lessons, the early music group, and flute choir tend to take precedence over fiddling, even though I do not write about them as much as I write about fiddling. It is not that I am not practicing, just that my overcommitment to music ensembles tends to make finding time to practice anything difficult. There is a solution here (focusing, so very nice at camp), but I am not willing to give up any of the groups right now. (I've already dropped three groups this year!)

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