Learning by ear, and learning to read music
Learning to read music can seem complicated, especially if you have never learned a musical instrument before. But you absolutely don't need to be able to read music to begin learning to play the fiddle! Traditional music has always been taught and learned 'by ear', passing tunes on from one player to another, and down through generations.
Playing music, and learn tunes, 'by ear' - just from listening to someone else play them - is just as much of a skill as being able to read music. And for a fiddler playing traditional music, it is a really useful ability.
Having said that, many people who are learning the fiddle do want to learn to read music, and it is a very useful thing to be able to do. It can also help with other aspects of learning an instrument, and can help if you want to learn other instruments in the future.
In my teaching, I am happy to teach people by ear, or from music. In fact, I almost always do both, since I think both skills are equally important. But if reading music seems intimidating at first you definitely don't need to do so to enjoy learning to play the fiddle!
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