Any classical crossovers here?

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    • #27422
      thistle13
      Participant

      I play classical and have been in various orchestras, chamber groups, etc. I was also an avid listener of the “Thistle and the Shamrock” on NPR for many years and love listening to a variety of “celtic” music. What I’m wondering…

      Honestly I don’t know if it’s possible to truly “cross over” and become a somewhat decent fiddler.
      One thing I struggle with is impatience…instead of learning phrases by ear, I get the itch to just dig up the sheet music and sightread! Or sometimes I listen to a tune and am jotting down notes as I listen (cheating!)

      Just wondering if anybody is struggling to cross over, and if it’s possible to play both at once (like, Bach one day and Irish tunes the next!) and flip between style/tone!

    • #27423
      Lisa Harper
      Participant

      Do you ever listen to Rachel Barton Pine? She seems to be amazingly versatile — even dipping into metallica, I think. Really great question and I’m also interested in hearing perspectives. I got interested in Mark O’Connor and learning about his teaching methods for this very reason. I wish there were courses offered online versus singleton instructors in this space. Honestly, I’ve started shifting away from fiddle towards Mandolin simply because it seems easier to bridge classical with other traditions. Or maybe for other less consciously understood reasons. Love to hear what you learn!

    • #27424
      robhanson
      Participant

      Hi thisite13

      For me, the answer is yes, you can play both classical and Irish, bluegrass …etc. If you have been trained as a classical violinist, you bring much to the table. You will be able to do things other fiddle players could only dream of. Just use what you have learned.

      From my prospective if you have not learned tunes by ear, it just takes time and patience. Being that you probably read sheet music. I feel it is Ok to learn a tune using sheet music, but once you have it in your head a little. You really need to listen to how the tune is played, (its style, its feel, its rhythm). This is no different than learning a classical piece of music. (bar by bar, phase by phase)

      You can learn a lot from the teachers on this site. So have an open mind and don’t be so hard on yourself. Go for it, and have fun!

      Kind Regards,
      Rob Hanson

    • #27425
      thistle13
      Participant

      Thanks Lisa! I’m going to check out the people you mentioned! 🙂

      Yea, I know what you mean about how it’s easier to play folk on another instrument instead of the one you trained in…
      Like, I can copy the phrase out of the video nicely when following along, but then two days later when I play the tune myself from memory, then it’s back to sounding like classical again. Ugh!

      One thing I’m working on is getting the “beat” into the tune, and being a little freer with the bow…that’s about all I figured out for now.

    • #27426
      thistle13
      Participant

      Thank you for the encouragement, Rob!

      On sheet music – I totally agree! I’ve got a book of fiddle tunes but they are never charming when just played straight from the page. When you hear them played, is when they really come alive.

      On having fun – thanks, was excited to find this site! I live in a small town where the nearest Session is a long drive away (and, shut down due to the pandemic) so glad to be able to still learn and fiddle around. 🙂

    • #27430
      pgmcqueen
      Participant

      You seem to already know the notes and intervals, so my suggestion is to listen to the different styles of playing for getting cadence and rhythm. Each trad musician has her/his own style and well and being immersed in a particular genre.

      Even for non-trad music, like ska or reggae or rock or swing, still listen and note the rhythm and how it is being kept.

      Finally, don’t underestimate yourself. One of the best classicist musicians I know is also one the the best trad musicians I know. Some people (where I live in the USA) say he doesn’t play in the true Irish style. But guess what. I was once with him in a pub in County Donegal and the other pub musicians knew him and called on him to play some tunes. And these hardcore Irish were delighted by his playing. Plus he can pick up Cape Breton by ear easily, too. Of course, he is especially gifted, but his example always inspires me, even if I can never approach him in talent. But the talent is not the point; it is his love of trad music (and all music, really) and desire for everybody to have fun that are the inspirations.

      Good luck! If you practice and listen, you will start to pick things up by ear more easily. And as far as transcribed tunes, they are useful as guides, but take them with a grain of salt.

    • #27593
      thistle13
      Participant

      Thank you all, for your kind encouragement.

      Funny because, for us classicals, the transcribed notes are gospel that we do not dare to alter. ( Or, if we alter it, it’s with a lot of deep discussion of history and what the composer intended. 🙂 I’m going to have to figure out have to loosen up my mindset!

      In the past few years I also dared to go to a few sessions at a pub, and everybody was really kind and welcoming, they were like “Come back next time!” There was a classical cello player there, playing the “box”, and he was great.

      Hmm, so I guess the obstacle is all in my OWN mind.
      So I guess I’m going to put aside my doubts and just…play?! 🙂

      • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by thistle13.
      • #27601
        Casey Willis
        Keymaster

        Hi, Thistle. Good stuff. You won’t regret learning to play by ear. You’ll always have the ability to read sheet music, and that’s an entirely separate, valuable skill. But you’ll be amazed at what happens when you start listening and creating music with people around you who are doing the same thing. Don’t be afraid to listen to what your head is playing. Then play that.

    • #27879
      Aysha Hoffman
      Participant

      I learnt classical (only up to Suzuki book 4, not perfectly, but almost up to speed and pretty confident when in tune!) and now I am trying to learn fiddling – honestly can’t decide which I like better, it’s challenging , but so much fun.
      I can’t quite let go of the sheet music yet, I try to memorize the tune first and then kind of ignore what I think I know and just relax and not take myself too seriously…..because it seems to flow and sound a little better (I hope!)
      Have not been brave enough to play in front of anyone yet, but the dog doesn’t leave anymore when I start playing (which I am taking as a good sign)
      Enjoyed taking notes form the comments for Thisle13!…and I’ve signed up for a fiddle camp in July, so hopefully I can fumble through a few tunes so I can really immerse myself when I get there, wondering whether to try and get some of the bowing patterns down and was hoping that might speed me up? I keep trying to make sure my bow is going the same direction as instructor, is that something I should be worried about? (I might be too focused on that)
      Any advice on where to start and what to work on first would be much appreciated.

    • #27880
      robhanson
      Participant

      Hi Aysha!

      Whether you are classically trained, learn by ear, or watching someone play the song (note by note, bow by bow). Bow direction is important. Would I be overly worried about it, No. ** Do you need to be mindful of it, Yes.** Bow direction helps you move from one musical phase to the next. It also helps define the style of music being played.

      Being that you can read sheet music. The lessons on this site provide you with sheet music for the basic form of the song you are working on. If you can print them out. Use what you have learned to help yourself. Write down the bow markings as indicated by the person showing you how to play the song.

      All violin/fiddle players spend time figuring out bowings. Whether by marking them down on sheet music or by physically trying different bow directions. It just takes time to learn to play by ear. So be kind to yourself.

      Lastly, if you are playing the fiddle by yourself, no one will know if your bow is going in the right/wrong direction. If you are playing in an orchestra or on stage with another fiddle player. Then all bows need be going in the same direction.

      Hope this is helpful!

      Kind Regards,

      Rob Hanson

    • #27881
      thistle13
      Participant

      Wow I’m jealous about the fiddle camp, Aysha! Lucky you!

      On bowing…
      Yea the slurs are different, like not the way you would think them to be – after being a classical player? That’s been hard for me. So in that sense, I found it important to watch the fiddler. It’s amazing how the sound/beat/emphasis changes when you change the slurring. (But it’s not at all like orchestra, where you don’t want to be the one bow going the wrong direction, ha ha.)

      The hardest part for me is ornaments/rolls. Left to myself, I can add a few – but when I hear a “real” fiddler, I realize that the places they put them, and the notes they chose to accent, are just better and sound more authentic. Now that’s been hard to get the hang of! Maybe that’s something they teach you at fiddle camp. 🙂

    • #27882
      robhanson
      Participant

      A few years back I attended a Bass Camp here in the Twin Cities, MN USA. Our guest performer and master class teacher was Francois Rabbath. As of Mar 2021 he is 90 years young. I wish I could share his Interview on teaching. The interview not only helps the teacher but is inspirational for the student. I have contacted them to see if I can or if they will post this interview.

      For students there are two words you may wish to remove from you vocabulary. Frist word “But or Yah But” and the second “Difficult”. The word “Difficult” is easier to explain. Basically once you say the word difficult, you have closed off your mind. When learning something new, it’s always about time. Over time our changes tend to fade. So be patient and kind with your self in your journeys.

      Kind Regards,
      Rob Hanson

    • #27883
      Aysha Hoffman
      Participant

      Well thank you guys, yes I am terribly excited about camp! – and I don’t take myself too seriously, just looking forward to learning.
      It seems they just put the slurs and slides and all wherever they feel, (I might be wrong)
      Honestly think I fumbled through classical, I was OK-ish but not good enough for an orchestra or anything, so maybe it’s a bit easier for me to slide over into fiddle…mine would definitely have been the bow going all over the place!
      I went to a little day camp a couple months ago to help out with the kids, (make sure they didn’t get lost and such) it was a Suzuki crossover fiddle camp, the 2 little kids I was looking after were in fits of giggles showing me how to fiddle – we had a blast – They showed me more in a few minutes than I learnt on my own for sure.
      And yes I noticed on some of Pattis sheet music she has bowing, so I’m back in my comfort zone, I’m thinking maybe to break it down into bowing and tune, then move onto speed and lastly the ornamental stuff, I am so enjoying this – I was stomping around trying to keep up with the funny Canadian guy last night, it’s a blast! …thank goodness they have the slow down thing on here.

      • #27886
        Casey Willis
        Keymaster

        Awesome, Aysha…and welcome to the website! We’ll keep adding bowings to newer lessons published, and at some point, we’ll add bowings for all of the older lessons.

        Cool on the camp. Camps and picking festivals are definitely on my calendar going forward. Maybe our paths will cross!

        Suzuki is a great way to start violin/fiddle, in my opinion. I did the same age 3-12…and then found fiddling!

        And yep on Andre…that guy is simply incredible. I hope to get him back in the studio in 2022.

        Peace!

        C

    • #27893
      Aysha Hoffman
      Participant

      Thank you!
      I’m kinda getting them while going through the tutorials, so not a biggie – awesome site!

    • #28244
      thistle13
      Participant

      I just wanted to leave this link here, because this video was really helpful to me…
      It’s Megan Lynch Chowning’s video about transitioning from classical to fiddling:

      Some helpful things I got out of her video:
      – try to not use big full bows
      – tone down vibrato
      – play/practice with strong rhythmic feel

    • #28410
      Aysha Hoffman
      Participant

      Should have watched this before I went to camp – Great vid….went to camp – had a blast – got shuffled up to the advanced class, I think was based on reading music (felt way out of my league!) Totally awesome people, they packed 6 hours of lessons into each day, 6 teachers rotating every 45 minutes with new tunes, tons of funny old fiddle stories, learnt a ton, sped up a lot and made fiddle buddies. Nightly concerts were fun, actually joined in a couple of evening jams, which I have never had the nerve to do before – Looking forward to next year….

    • #28411
      Casey Willis
      Keymaster

      Awesome, Aysha. Sounds like you found your people!! I’m heading out myself for a week-long bluegrass jamming festival this coming weekend. There are great times to be had there! Good job jumping into some jams.

      Thx for posting that video, Thistle. Megan just recorded an updated version of the same lesson to be published on this site shortly.

      C

    • #28412
      thistle13
      Participant

      Sounds SO fun, Aysha!! A bit exhausting, too? …:-)

      Yea that video was so valuable to me and made me feel like I had a place to start. Thank you to Megan!

    • #28413
      Aysha Hoffman
      Participant

      Thanks Casey – hope you have as much fun as I did!

      Thistle – Wasn’t tired til I got home! Was so out of my comfort zone, I had to try and keep up (was just playing alternate notes in the beginning) but kind of started speeding up after a couple of hours as there is no time to think or second guess yourself – There were 2 other classical ladies in our group, they were pretty awesome, they got it quicker than me…been playing in orchestras for years, switched to fiddle recently, we got to play harmonies together. 2 or 3 peeps could not read music and would just listen to the tune once and then just play along – I was in awe!

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