what to do to start?

Should i start with the scales only first until I have memorized them and can play them properly or, gradually learn them one at a time maybe and learn a song at the same time?


  • fiddlewood
    edited March 2022

    It's good to work on scales to learn where the notes are, but you can do it as part of a warm-up to your practice session. And you can always do it whenever...There is no need to learn all the scales before you start working on tunes...unless that is that interests you most. It is good to be familiar with the scale you will be using in what you will be learning though.

    I usually run through a scale (and it's arpeggios) in different ways, of the key/chord I'll be playing in next. This gets me accustomed to the sound of the key I'll be playing in, and breaks up the monotony of "just scale" practice. It also helps me fine tune the notes I'll be using for the piece i'll be working on next.

    Whatever you decide to work on, if you're just beginning I'd suggest having patience and working for clean notes, with good tone, A nice even bow stroke, with correct pressure & speed is important to making a fiddle produce a food tone.

    When I first pick up my fiddle for any session, I tune it. Next I do a few long bow strokes (both directions) on each string to get the feel of the "balance" of my bow, and a good steady sound. Next I do the same thing with the three pairs of strings playing each pair, while striving for an even sound between the two strings I am playing. In general, I've found playing two strings takes slightly more speed and less pressure than a single string to get a good sound (others may have different opinions). This doesn't take more than 5 minutes to do, but over time I've found it to be one of the most beneficial things that has helped me on my bowing good notes.

    Next, I'll work on something new. Usually I review what I did the last session then, maybe a new/difficult fingering I need to work on, or a measure or two of a tune I'm wanting to learn. I always concentrate on relaxing & not playing, or pushing down, or holding the instrument, harder than I have to. Let the instrument produce what it will...trying to force it doesn't improve the sound or your playing ability. This is a huge challenge for me!

    Next...When I get bored or tired of that I'll learn/work on something else for a bit, or play a tune, or just experiment with sounds

    Always try to physically & mentally relax & have fun, be patient, and don't worry about going fast (speed comes with relaxation IMO)

    Just my take on starting out...others may have other suggestions. I've been playing several years now, and am giving you suggestions I someone had told me when I started.

    Best of luck& above all have fun!


    sorry, I think this is the longest post I've ever created. 🙄

  • Thanks,that was very helpful.

  • Dave, that was an awesoe response :) I totally agree. There is so much variety, you should never get bored when you are holding the fiddle! If you find yourself getting into a rut, please change it up and learn a challenging new tune!

  • My question is there a way to stop a video then back it up until I catch up? Or is there a site to move the lesson to so I can watch offline? Joe

  • fiddlewood
    edited March 2022


    HI Joe,

    bottom left of the video is pause/play button

    You can back it up by clicking on the "progress ribbon" along the bottom of the video screen. It should also tell you the "time" of the spot as you hover over it, so that you can return to that spot repeatedly if needed.

    You can also adjust the speed of the video by clicking on the little gear icon at the bottom right corner and choosing from the menu.

    Hope the helps.


  • Thanks Dave! I hope to get a video player with more bells and whistles soon.

  • Dave @fiddlewood i appreciate your post. That’s sound advice. I need a procedure to utilize before each session. I like yours. Might borrow it lol 🎻

  • @ray

    How's it going?

  • Thank you Dave! Those were great tips for those of us just starting out. Very helpful!

  • @ray once I learned some basic scales (not perfection) I took an easy song I knew and played it over and over because I liked the way it sounded and I kept improving each time. Scales are very important, but have fun too. THe song I chose was a beginner version of Amazing Grace

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