Areas of Improvement

I’ve already mentioned some aspects of my fiddle playing that I find tricky, or I feel I’d like to improve. I think firstly the most important thing I need to do is learn to love the sound that I naturally create. I’m so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity over the years to play with many Scotland’s finest fiddle players, and it would be easy to become disheartened by comparing myself to these amazing players knowing I can’t make the same sound. However, this project is about my own love for playing traditional music, and my own voice as a fiddle player, and I’ll be looking to the amazing fiddle players around me for inspiration (and probably staring at them in awe).

I’m writing the following on 1st January 2019. The areas below might stay the same, or they might improve and shift, or I might find new things to add.

Areas I’m happy with:

  1. I know my scales – a lot of my music theory is tied to the fiddle from my time learning in school. This has given me a head start.
  2. Although I may not be able to articulate it yet, I have a good understanding of groove from my time playing the guitar.
  3. I have a lot of pre-existing repertoire from years accompanying and playing tunes on the guitar.
  4. I have a good understanding of ornamentation from a host of different places. It could be better placed and articulated, but it does help me present my own musical voice.

Areas I would like to improve:

  1. Bow control: In the past I’ve only really used a small section of my bow, and I have noticed that my bow bounces, particularly on up-bows. My lack of bow control also means I don’t have a lot of dynamic variation; I think this stems from playing a lot in the pub where often the sound is loud and really at one level.
  2. Tone: There are a lot of squeaks. I’ve worked out how to get a ‘meatier’ sound, but I could be far more consistent.
  3. Tuning: Particularly 4th finger. I have slightly changed my hand position to move my thumb a little further forward.
  4. Position work: I never really managed to play convincingly in 3rd position, although I know where the notes are, they aren’t in tune, and are a complete guess!
  5. Vibrato. How on earth do you do that?! I’d love to be able to play a march or a slow air with some vibrato in it.
  6. Playing in different keys. D, G and A are fine. E is ok, but I’d like to be able to work in other keys too.