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Tips & Tricks: 4 Steps to Memorizing Fiddle Tunes

February 4th, 2013 by Katherine Moller

small__3462594915Memorization has been a hot topic recently on music blogs. I love playing music from memory! I feel more confident, prepared, and also feel more freedom if I am not having to read sheet music. Having said that, the situation is key. By this I mean that I usually perform solo repertoire and fiddle tunes from memory and chamber or orchestral repertoire from sheet music. In the world of fiddle music, hardly anyone uses sheet music, so let’s get to the task of memorizing!

Here are 4 tips to help you along the way:

  1. Listen to a recording of the tune if you can and sing it back to yourself. I find that unless I can hum a fiddle tune, I will not be able to memorize it.
  2. Know the format of the tune. In fiddle tunes there are many parts that repeat. Usually there is an “A” part that is played twice and then a “B” part that is played twice. Even within these parts there are usually phrases that repeat, so look for these and know when they happen.
  3. Play the tune many, many, many times! If I am trying to memorize I will play the tune once with the sheet music and then try it from memory, play from the sheet music, try it from memory…
  4. Set small goals. Don’t set out to memorize a whole fiddle tune in one day. Maybe just try to get the first half of it, maybe just the first 4 bars, maybe just one pattern.

I hope that these tips help you! Please leave me a comment if you have any tips on how you memorize music!

photo credit: Marcos Molina (laro) via photopin cc

2 Responses to “Tips & Tricks: 4 Steps to Memorizing Fiddle Tunes”

  1. May 27, 2013 at 3:41 am, John Tait said:

    Once you’ve got the whole tune in your head, play along with a recording (maybe using a slow-downer program) or something rthythmic like back-up from “Band in a Box”. And, go back to the notation to ensure any errors haven’t crept in..!!

    • May 27, 2013 at 7:33 am, Katherine Moller said:

      That is a great suggestion! THere is always the danger of introducing mistakes as you memorize a tune!

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''Celtic fiddle with a classical twist:
the heart and soul of a fiddler, the artistry and finesse of a classical violinist.''