The Hobbyist – Learning Path

The Hobbyist – Destination: further.  Our ideal Hobbyist will be the adult learner or re-starter who already can play some, but have a desire to be better, have more fun, & feel a little more like they know what they are doing.  Skills to be developed will include being able to create back-ups on the fly even if you do not know the tune (by knowing just enough theory, and developing just enough ear), and maybe play with an informal group, at a coffeehouse, party, or jam with friends.

Suggested Path: Your journey will be two-fold: Part 1) Get comfortable with being creative on your violin/fiddle and Part 2) Increase your vocabularies of tunes, knowledge, and skills.

Depending on your personality type, many adults, different than kids, feel the most comfortable when they mentally learn and understand a task first… then do it.   If you fit the Hobbyist description, you probably already know a few tunes, and maybe can even read some (though it’s OK if you can’t too).  So, let’s start by filling the gaps in your knowledge and experience so far.  Improvisation is a cornerstone to feeling more authoritative.  It’s super easy to give it a try with Fiddle Jam’s “EZ-Zone” method!

Part 1) Jamming!  If you already know the 3 easiest major scales (G, D & A) then you are ready to try one of our EZ improvisation lessons from the original Fiddle Jam Book.  The beautiful ballad The Rarest Rose is a good one if your are feeling a little apprehensive about making stuff up.  It goes nice and slow and gently, and just uses the G major scale.  The Raven’s Daughter uses the same G scale but is a little more upbeat if you are feeling ready.  Explore the whole Major Scale Section of the book lessons if those went reasonably well and you are feeling good.  They only use either G, D, or A major for now (the ones that are probably closest to no-brainers to get you started!).  If your feeling ready to dig in a bit harder, move on to the 0-1-3 Blues Scale section next.  These jams are easy too… you just skip your 2nd finger and you’re in the “club!”

  1. The Rarest Rose G major ballad jam.
  2. Raven’s Daughter G major pop rock jam.
  3. Major Scale Section of the original Fiddle Jam Book materials.

Further Learning:

Part 2) Knowledge.  If you lean toward the adult “Re-Starter” category (someone who used to play and now wants violin/fiddle music back in your life) you may want to refresh your skills a bit but also keep it fun by learning a few easy fiddle tunes first.  Try Bile Them Cabbage DownOld Joe Clark, or Cripple Creek.  These song lessons have super easy parts (like playing just open strings for back-ups), but also can go much deeper to get you back up to speed as you are ready… and can even include improvisation with my usual Fiddle Jam approach!

  1. Bile Them Cabbage Down Beginner level melody and super easy back-ups.
  2. Old Joe Clark Melody uses both lowered 2nd finger and normal “high” two, and the back-ups are a bit less typical.
  3. Cripple Creek – EZ D major melody and open string backups.
  4. Other fiddle tunes: Auto-sorted lists.

Further Learning: Expand your understanding of some easy Music Mechanics (theory) concepts that you can then put to use right away by learning how to create back-up “tater-ing” to these types of songs.  If you are a decent reader, you may want to try Level 1 (EZ pentatonic exercises) and/or Level 2 (adds the cool stuff like “blue” notes) of our Atoodz (Rock and Blues Lick & Trick Vocabulary Building).  The bigger goal is to get you to our “Gigger Level” lessons where you will “grow your ears” and learn to follow simple I-IV-V roots music chord changes (and know, what to do with them).  Either way, the cornerstone of FJi is always heading you towards improvisation as the greatest authority and fun-builder, so check out the suggested Hobbyist jams above as soon as you feel ready!

As always, feel free to use our contact forms to ask questions!


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