A Treasury of Techniques, in short video form

Fiddle-online.com has a unique offering in its Technique Video Groups. Each group has 10 short videos (except #2, where the ninth video is actually 3 videos on learning vibrato).

Visit the TechVids page to learn more and/or sign up. There is a video introduction describing each group videos, and there is even a sampler which has one video from each group for only 3 credits. Each full video group of 10 videos is 12 credits for 2 months, and only 8 credits to renew. These videos are practical and help you work with them for about 3 minutes each. They’re great to keep coming back to for maximum benefit, as physical games/exercises, and awareness builders. They’re not really for people to accomplish and move on; they’re really for all levels. This includes Group #1 even though those exercises are really helpful to beginners as well.

Let’s take a quick look at what each group of videos offers —  TechVid Group #1 lets you do a variety of short physical exercises with bow and fingers to give anyone, from beginner to pro, a firmer sense of awareness for holding and using the bow, and for more effortless fingering with the left hand. For the bow hand, this include: awareness of role that thumb, forefinger and pinky play in controlling your sound. Practice with long, straight bows and good sound. Practice knowing where your strings are. For the left hand, there are games to help you tap your fingers down more effortlessly, use efficient ways to move fingers for better intonation, and to allow quicker, lighter movement.

TechVid Group #2 focuses on expanding your expressive abilities and playing more ergonomically. You’ll learn more efficient ways to adjust your sound, a variety of ways to use bow speed and get smooth bow changes. For the left hand, there are games helping relieve the fingers from exerting unnecessary pressure, and ways to approach technical challenges such as playing chords and two notes at once, learning to do vibrato, and learning to shift your hand to play higher notes.

TechVid Group #3 is all about bowing, starting with the all-important techniques for bringing your reels and jigs to life through bow control. There are exercises about shuffle bowing, hooked bows for strathspeys, Shetland bowing, and helping you on tunes where you have to go back and forth between strings. Lilly joins us as a guest to teach the basic technique of doing the rhythmic chop with your bow, and there are exercises about playing drones, the double-shuffle as in Orange Blossom Special or many syncopated Celtic tunes, and the bouncing bow.

TechVid Group #4 is all about finger patterns. There’s a video explaining use of the Finger Finder so you can help yourself play in any key. Scales and arpeggios are limited to four patterns, in order of how common they are in fiddling — the patterns for scales starting on open string, 3d finger, 2d finger, and 1st finger. You’ll work on the very common pentatonic scale, which you’ll find everywhere once you become aware of it and practiced in using it. A video focuses on the different forms of minor scales, and patterns such as broken thirds and various four-note patterns that help you pick up tunes more quickly and retain them. All the scale videos include animated Finger Finder images so you can see the finger relationships as you play them.

TechVid Group #5 explores ornamentation — the expression of fiddle style. Grace notes, rolls and bow ornaments are not best learned while trying to pick up the notes of a tune, and certainly not great to learn from paper, because written ornamentation is pretty misleading as compared to the physical experience of doing them. These videos help you practice the basics of ornamentation on its own so that your muscle memory can build them into your technique repertoire, and then you can apply it to your tunes. Learn slow graces which are done with the bow, and quick graces with the left hand. Learn how to combine them. Irish rolls, triplets/birls, and slides are presented in separate videos, and there are some interesting reverse grace notes, dissonant ones, and multiple-note graces.

These techniques will spice up your tunes and help you better express timing and emotion.

Don’t be shy, give them a try, and pick up lots of pointers to help you play better!

©2018 Ed Pearlman

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