April 6, 2018 at 4:16 PM #59984
I have a question or 2. I started singing with my church’s Bluegrass Gospel band, and word got out that I play fiddle too. I’ve brought my fiddle to a few practices and even tried to bounce some strings during services, but I have no idea what I’m doing really. I’ve been practicing a few chords at home but other than that I don’t know where to begin since I haven’t played with other instruments before. Is it mostly improvisation or more structured?
Thank you:o)April 6, 2018 at 4:33 PM #59990
Robin, congrats for joining the church band! Improvisational or structured depends on the band… The best thing is usually to find out what key the song is in then play some notes in that scale, preferably on the lower strings.
If you send us the song titles and the keys, maybe we can give you some suggestions!April 6, 2018 at 4:35 PM #59992
Would it be possible for you to get the list that will be played ahead of time so you can work up something for the songs they will be doing?April 6, 2018 at 8:16 PM #60001
I do have a list of the songs beforehand so I know what key they’re played in. I’m just not sure what to play in the scale. Do I just make up something or play chords like double stops?
I can send the songs we’re doing. I’ve checked the lesson list but none are on it.April 6, 2018 at 8:17 PM #60002
Robin, I might add, stay relaxed and don’t put yourself under a lot of pressure or that will hinder. Don’t expect to be able to do it all just starting out but play the parts you can, as you can, and it will constantly improve as you work on it. (This is attitude advice, but it is really important.)
Cricket is right about finding out what pieces they will play and work on them at home. Be wary though…if it’s not geared for strings players, some of the tunes will be in an odd key that a fiddler will be lost in.April 6, 2018 at 8:45 PM #60004
Sometimes you can just hum a fiddle part you’d like to play as you listen to the song, stop the song, and try to pick out the notes you just hummed in that part, or something close. Other than that, you could play chords or chops. As Rodger says, you might or might not find fiddle-friendly keys. Have you checked on youtube to see if those songs are being played by fiddlers on there? Might be helpful to hear something to give you ideas.April 7, 2018 at 1:30 PM #60012
For example, if the song is in the key of A, then play notes that belong on the A scale. Below is my 7 major scale practice video. Click the link for the sheet music.April 8, 2018 at 1:35 PM #60047
I play with a church choir which is probably more structured than a Bluegrass Gospel band. It’s a good experience for me, however, since my fiddle playing always needs a little structure. It took me awhile to learn that I don’t have to play with every song and that I don’t have to play during the entire song. My wife, my best critic, tells me it is much more effective to hear the various instruments come and go, supporting the singers.
Some things I have learned:
– support the singers, unless asked to do a solo (God forbid).
– vary things; melody, harmony, drones, chops, or not playing. Everyone is always polite and you will usually pick up on what is effective for a given song.
– try to get the music (sheet or recording ahead of time). Then you have time to practice and play around with what you think sounds best.
– If it is a complicated song, or lots of fast runs, just playing key notes in the scale is both easy and very effective.
– know your limitations: when the scale has more than three sharps or three flats, it’s time for me to hum.
– remember why you are doing this and who it is for. For me, playing in the choir is another form of prayer. God does not expect perfection, only participation.
You’ll do great!
April 8, 2018 at 3:08 PM #60054
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Icebike.
Great advice, Joe!
To add to that… Remember that you are engaged in worship. First and foremost, you want to play notes that are annointed. This means allowing yourself to step aside and make way for the Holy Spirit to guide your instrumentation. Remember that shyness and is a form of self-centeredness. Forget about yourself and let the Spirit teach you what notes best contribute to the atmosphere of worship.April 8, 2018 at 9:39 PM #60067
Really good Joe. Great tips there. Not much to add to thatApril 9, 2018 at 6:58 PM #60078
Thank you for the great advice, it is all for His glory!
I’m starting to understand a little better now, and hear the music differently. My ear picks up on what the Mandolin is playing. This Sunday I chose a few different songs and played double stops or single notes(chops?) in the proper scale, and sang other parts. It was fun. I still need work on actual riffs though. In time I guess.
Thanks again:0)May 1, 2018 at 2:25 PM #60761
Most churches have a web account for music so folks can print the lyrics & notes out ahead of time. Ask the music leader. Good luck
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