The first time I wished for callused fingers

In my 8th week of learning how to play the fiddle, I learned AND practiced A LOT with crossing strings and once again playing the E, A and B notes. I went back into my Trala app to continue with the courses. I had 3 more courses left in the 1st chapter.

I couldn’t believe how long it took me to finish the 1st chapter. 8 weeks.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Left Hand

When I started learning how to play the fiddle, I didn’t realize how vital certain techniques were while playing.

Here is a break down of what I learnt in my 8th week of learning how to play the fiddle:

I started off with the next course in my Trala app.

  • Course #8: Left Hand Workshop

In this course, I learned how my left hand should be placed and positioned while playing notes that are not open (open string are when you don’t use your left hand). I exercised how to place my fingers onto the string connecting to the fingerboard. I continued to practice without the fiddle by using doorbell exercises. I needed to ensure that my placement and the position of my fingers were flexible yet sturdy. I used the same exercise to practice the strength of my fingers. Once I felt confident enough, I began practicing with my fiddle. When I began practicing with my fiddle, I needed to ensure that my wrist and hand position was relaxing and not gripping the staff of the fiddle. I realized that I needed a large amount of practice in my position and placement of my left hand with the fiddle because I found that I felt extremely awkward. When I started playing, I needed to consistently remind myself of the left hand placement and position. I would catch myself gripping the fiddle.

  • Course #9: Midnight Special 1

In this course, I put my left hand technique to the test and practiced crossing strings by playing the E, A, and B notes. The E and A are open string notes and the B note is when I place my index finger onto the A cord. I found that when I needed to use my fingers to play notes like the B note, it was difficult. I realized why there was a whole course on practicing and maintaining my left hand technique. It was at this point that I wish I have callused fingers. My index finger hurt. I started switching between my index and middle finger. I know I probably shouldn’t be doing that but I wanted to continue to practice and my fingers started hurting. I wondered if there were any types of thumb nails that you could put on your fingers to play… (lol).

In course #9, it started out with a intro to what you will be playing and a little history behind the tune. After this, I went into my lessons on bow control, left hand technique and half notes. I found the lesson on half notes useful. I struggled with trying to understand the lengths in notes.

For instance, how long do I move upward with my bow on that specific note until I switch direction and cross string to the other notes?

I struggle with this when practicing the tune because on the Trala app. It shows you blocks that are marked as either E, A and B. The blocks will fill when you hit each note, you must play the note for the length of the block.

So, some blocks are shorter (half notes) and some are longer (full notes). I still have trouble filling these blocks and holding the notes because the tempo starts out slow and gradually goes faster.

When the tempo is slow I struggle with trying to go slow yet holding that note but when the tempo goes faster I struggle with trying to cross strings with flow. I know this will come with practice.

I uploaded a video that I made using my video editor on my Windows. I recorded audio of me practicing how to cross string by playing notes E, A and B. As you can tell I still need to practice. I don’t have flow when crossing string and playing different notes yet so bare with me. I found that this point in my journey has been the hardest yet.

In the video, you can tell how loud violins are. I realized that I probably shouldn’t play at home any more considering that I live in a townhome. So, I started to make a trip out to my dads on reserve to play there.

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