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A New Year. A New Goal

The holidays brought a bounty of gifts to help me improve my fiddling. As you can see from the photo above, it was a Brad Leftwich Christmas. You can also see my new Snark clip-on tuner. These resources should help me level up my bowing. After working from Wayne Erbsen's Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus for the past year, it was time to seek new challenges.

Awhile back I had borrowed Leftwich's Old-Time Fiddle: Round Peak Style from the library and deemed it a good resource, but nearly incomprehensible in terms of trying to read the tabs. However, it came with a CD with more than 80 tunes that I hope to learn by ear once I figure out the bowing "licks," which is where the Homespun DVDs come in. (By the way, you can download those 80-plus CD tracks via the eBook page at the Mel Bay site. Look for the "Downloads" tab and click on "Download Extras.")

So far, the DVD lessons are proving to be just the challenge I was seeking. I'm through "Shortnin' Break" (AEAE) and am now working on a more complex rendition of "Sugar Hill" (ADAE), compared to the version I learned from the Erbsen book. Leftwich teaches downbow, which is taking a little getting used to, but it's coming along.

To update you on how I finished up 2013, I hit my 125-hour mark. It came down to the wire! I had to put in some longer sessions on the last few days of the year, but I made it. My goals for this year are to reach 300 hours between fiddle and banjo, and to get back to playing with friends and going to local old-time sessions.

What banjo (or fiddle) resolutions do you have for 2014? What are your musical goals for the New Year? Let me know in the comments!

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