This is something I hear pretty often from our members: “I know a bunch of tunes and can hold my own in a Bluegrass picking situation, but I’m so tired of just reciting from memory. My brain is going numb! Isn’t there more to music?”
The answer is YES, there IS more to music than just memorizing and reciting! Much more… and it’s way easier, more fun, and just as, if not more fulfilling! Surely, Classical musicians rank the highest on the “stuck meter,” in that they generally have no other options but to either read it off the page, or have to have it memorized, but strangely, for as fun of a style as it seems to be, Bluegrass musicians are often a close second… not for being stuck to the page of course, but potentially even worse: “stuck in their own heads!”
Thankfully, the modern Bluegrass style has been slowly evolving to include much more creativity with the dawn of the “alternative string movement” in the late 1990’s. If you have a desire to get on this newer wave, here is your jump-off point!
First, Part 1, take the plunge into improv with my easy Fiddle Jam Method lessons to get used to tapping into your creative side. Then, Part 2, learn about a bit of Music Mechanics (Music Theory) to be able to know how to create back-up tater-ing parts on the spot as needed. These two steps should push you well on your way to being a modern Bluegrass musician.
Part 1 – Jam!
- The Rarest Rose – first back off from the frantic speed, breathe, and play with this beautiful ballad
- Contra Dance – next we’ll keep it in more familiar territory for you with a simple major scale Folk jam
- G Jam – now we’ll push you a bit. G major again, but this time with some fun Rock n Roll.
- Le Bomb – feeling OK? Let’s get you back up to a tempo you’re more used to.
Part 2 – Know How
- Tater – learn about how to make up back-up parts on the fly
- Boogie Woogie – you can apply this to the Blues, but you may be surprised at how it fits into other styles too.
- I-IV-V: Learn about the three most common chords in the tunes you’ve been playing all along, and how they are the basis for nearly every style for the last 400+ years!
Further Studies: More Jams!
- Fiddle Jam Beyond the Book – Major Scale Improvisation Lessons
- Fiddle Jam Beyond the Book – 0 – 1 – 3 Blues Scale Improvisation Lessons
- Fiddle Jam Beyond the Book – 0 – Low2 – 3 Blues Scale Improvisation Lessons
Also try some different kinds of tunes:
That should get you started! As always, use any comment form to ask questions…