The Jam with Lauren Blog

Practical tips from Lauren about becoming a better fiddler.

Four ways to stay inspired

August 3, 2014

It’s the start of school year and a new season is here, so I’m thinking of ways to remind students of why they love this instrument. We need to harness that love and let it guide our daily practice. This can be difficult coming off of summer camps and informal schedules. Let me help!

1. Remind yourself why you like the fiddle

I’m sure all of you have a story—maybe your parents picked the instrument and it stuck, or your child abandoned it and you decided to give it a try, or you heard someone play around a campfire or on stage. But often all these stories can be boiled down to this: you love the sound of the instrument, and the feeling you get when you make the sound. That is what needs to stay in focus.

2. Listen to your faves

Make a playlist of all your favorite tunes and songs that have a fiddler. Actually, make lots of fiddle playlists—styles, tempos, tunes you want to learn, however you like to lump your favorites together. Listen all the time. Sing the fiddle parts. Figure out why you love that track. Is it the tone, the fills, the back up, the break that you love? In order to emulate your heroes, you need to know what you enjoy about their playing.

3. PLAY your faves!

My college professor told me to practice what I can’t do. I agree. If you’re making the best use of your time, practice something that you can’t do yet—challenge yourself. But don’t forget to stay in touch with the tunes you already love playing. If you’re trying to get back into the groove of practicing, I think you should start by playing your favorite tunes. It’s good to give your hands and ears some love by playing tunes that you don’t need to work too hard for.

4. Be a good friend to yourself

It’s never too late to start an instrument. You have a creative voice inside you that you’re learning to express, even if it takes time. Each time you practice, point out at least one aspect of your musicianship that’s improving. Remind yourself of what you’re working towards. Music is an art form and a gift that allows us to express what we can’t articulate. I’m proud of you for learning to make music!