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 Post subject: Making a Tune "Stick"
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:18 pm
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
So lately I'm met with the challenge of learning 9 tunes (4 sets) in the span of one week. This might sound completely doable to those of you who have years of experience under the bellows - but I am discovering it is a tall order for me. I usually like a pace of one set per week, to give me a chance to really "get to know" the tunes and explore them as I practice between lessons, while also devoting time to maintain older tunes I already know.

Can anyone offer up any advice here? I do feel as if I can learn all 4 sets this week, but I want to be able to play these tunes with others and am concerned that at the pace I'm going through them my fingers won't know them quite as well as I'd like. I learn chiefly by ear, referencing the notes when I hit a snag, and it usually takes me around 20 minutes to get my mind around the basic structure of a tune. From there it's just repetition until I feel like I've successfully encoded it into muscle memory. I guess my main concern is how do I speed up the muscle memory part?

Thanks for any advice!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:43 am 
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Sounds obvious, but listening to the tunes a bunch helps me. I like to be familiar enough with it that I don't need to hear it again or look at the sheet music to know how it should sound.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:38 am 
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Occasionally, I'll get the call to sit in with a band and fill in for a missing member. Naturally, I don't know their sets well and have little time to get up to speed. I've found it helpful to record several sets played by the band and then practice at home using slow down software to pick up the notes and the style of the music being played. Once that is established, I start working on achieving the desired speed of the sets. At that point it's just a matter of repetition until the goal is achieved. For performance situations, practicing until you can't get it wrong is a good goal.

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"... you discover that everything is just right: the drones steady and sonorous, the regulators crisp and tuneful and the chanter sweet and responsive. ... I really look forward to those five or six days every year." Robbie Hannan


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