FiddleQuest is a curriculum designed specifically for teachers and students in private studios and classroom settings seeking more fun and social interaction in their music. We deliver a large library of great, incrementally difficult songs in various styles from all over the world; comprehensive skill exercises in Scales, Improvisation, Sight Reading, Harmony, Chopping, and Vibrato; and community building motivational tools like student videos that are easily shot and uploaded by teachers each time a song is completed.
Easy to Use
FiddleQuest is extremely easy to use. By working closely with students and parents, we’ve refined our clean layouts to maximize efficiency, make features ever-more intuitive, and ensure that FiddleQuest is never intimidating for a student of any age. In fact, FiddleQuest is so easy to use, we didn’t even have a manual our first year!
Kids are in lessons for a very small time each week. Making use of the time between lessons is what determines how much a child will learn during their lesson years. FiddleQuest is designed with typical families in mind. Typical families have circumstances that include: parents with busy schedules, kids with lots of activities, parents with no musical skills, and parents who do not want to force their kids to practice.
So, can kids learn to play music in these typical families? Without a doubt! FiddleQuest takes the joy of lessons and brings it home. Fun songs, great recordings, and videos make practice time engaging and effective.
Yet, even though FiddleQuest makes practicing and playing music more fun, kids can resist the effort that goes along with learning an instrument. Kids often see music lessons as a “discretionary” activity—something they know their parents want them to do because “you’ll appreciate it when you’re older.” Kids often feel they don’t need to put much effort into practicing or may even resist practicing altogether.
Parents who see their kids resist practicing begin to wonder if their children are ready for lessons or if their children have the right temperament to learn. They are ready, and they will learn.
Here are some basic tips to help make practicing more successful.
Help your child build a routine about when to practice. Have a designated time of day they practice. It doesn’t need to be everyday, but it needs to be consistent.
Consistency makes it so much easier.
Kids that practice in the morning have the best long-term success. 10 minutes in the morning is worth 15 or even 20 minutes after school.
Have kids practice near you. Avoid sending them to a quiet room out of sight. Kids like to be heard and engage differently when they know they have an audience.
Have a small speaker hooked up to the device you use with FiddleQuest. Hearing the music loud and clear makes a BIG difference in kids’ engagement.
Create some fun incentives for meeting practice goals. Many families have found great success with small rewards such as ice cream out with Mom. Helping kids set their own goals, and then rewarding achievement of those goals helps kids experience success—and nothing succeeds like success.
Have kids perform while you are working on a chore (e.g. cooking or cleaning up after dinner.) Kids get to avoid a chore, you get entertainment, and everyone wins. Don’t call it practice, just call it a kitchen concert.
Length of Practice
While your teacher will have suggestions for the amount of practice they would like, it is important to be sensitive to your child’s capacity and interest. Building up stamina is important. So a 10-minute practice might be just right for a 6-year old, while a 25-minute practice might make more sense for a 12-year old.
Learn to play the ukulele or guitar. Three chords will let you play most every song in Levels 1-4! You will have fun, your child will love practice time, and your child will see that learning doesn’t stop on graduation day.
Favorite Set List
Make a routine out of playing favorite songs together. You can continually change the list and build on it. Having a card in the violin case with the names of these songs will make picking songs easy.
Keep It Out of the Case
Get your violin out of the case and onto a wall hanger or on a table where it can be easily grabbed. Having instruments out makes them far more likely to be played.
Find Practice Buddies
Cultivate relationships of musical friends for your child. Don’t insist on their playing together when they get together, though. Let it come naturally.
3.2.The Practice Page
The practice page is the center of practice time.
All songs and skills your teacher has assigned will appear on the practice page, making it easy to practice everything in one place.
- If you haven’t already done so, select the student for whom you are conducting the lesson. (Click the Menu icon at the top left of any FiddleQuest page, then choose the Students link, and then click on the student’s name.)
- Visit the Practice Page by clicking the Flag icon in the menu bar at the top left of any FiddleQuest page
- Start with the first item on the Practice Page. Skills will always show up at the top of the screen and songs will show up at the bottom.
Note: The Practice Page has a few tricks “under the hood.” We optimized it for those users with poor Internet connections or very old devices. Slow internet or old devices can make moving around any website a frustrating experience. So, the FiddleQuest Practice Page downloads and caches all the content on the page at the time the page initially loads. This way a student can engage with the page for a whole session without loading any additional content. A student returning to their Practice Page numerous times during the week benefits from the locally cached content, saving them the necessity to re-download the audio files each session.
Every FiddleQuest song is made up of three recordings: Ready, Set, and Go.
- Ready is a very slow recording of violin to introduce the student to the song and provide the easiest recording to begin playing along with.
- Set is a slightly faster recording that the student will practice with as the week progresses.
- Go is an “at tempo” recording that usually includes a backing band. The student demonstrates that they’re ready to video the song and move on when they can comfortably play along with Go. Comfortably playing the Go recording doesn’t mean it’s necessarily at “performance” level, but it does mean they could play this song at a jam. When a student can play along with the Go recording, they are also ready to play it on their own or with an accompaniment. (Early versions of FiddleQuest included ‘band-only’ recordings, but very few students used these recordings for practice. Students would always choose the Band & Violin recording.)
Most students find it convenient to have a delay occur after hitting the play button and before playback begins. This gives students time to get in proper position and prepare themselves for playing along with the recording.
By default, FiddleQuest uses a 3 second delay on student accounts. Younger students may like more delay, while older, more experienced students may prefer a shorter delay. You can change the default in Settings -> General -> Playback Delay.
3.5.Watch / Student Video Page
Why Student Videos?
Students love watching their peers play the songs they are learning. Countless parents and teachers report that kids especially love watching students who are a year or two older than they are. The results are amazing: kids spend more time engaging with music, they learn the songs more quickly, and they stay motivated to keep pushing their playing to the next level.
Student Videos can be viewed from:
- the Watch section of each Song page
- the Student Video page
- Tip: To access the student video page, click the Menu icon at the top left of any FiddleQuest page, then choose the Videos link.
- Tip: You can quickly search by song name and/or student name to explore specific videos.
Parents love our video sharing feature, because it makes it quick and painless to share videos with friends and family via Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, or email.
- Hover your cursor over the video you want to share.
- Click the Share icon (the icon highlighted in blue in the image above).
- Choose the method you’d like to use for sharing.
Users can choose whether or not they want their videos to be sharable. By default, videos are sharable, which means they can be shared by any FiddleQuest user with anyone outside FiddleQuest.
Changing your desired setting to not sharable instantly makes your videos not-sharable outside FiddleQuest. Only FiddleQuest users will be able to view your videos. If some of your videos have previously been shared, they will instantly become non-viewable outside FiddleQuest.
- Click the Menu icon at the top left of any FiddleQuest page.
- Choose the Settings link.
- If you are logged in as a student currently, you will be asked to enter your parent credentials to access settings.
Every song in FiddleQuest contains full chord charts and chord fingers for guitar and ukulele and lyrics where applicabler. Most songs also include instructional accompaniment videos that demonstrate how to play them on guitar and ukulele.
The “Chords Window” is designed to make it easy for teachers, parents, and friends to use common, inexpensive accompaniment instruments to take part in making music with FiddleQuest students.
The Practice Guide uses recordings and video to make practicing easier for students. The regular Ready, Set, and Go recordings are broken into small, “bite-sized” recordings. Each recording plays in a loop so students can keep playing along with each phrase until they get it and are ready to move on to the next one.
After learning a step, the student moves forward to the next one and progressively masters the song. This process teaches students how to take a difficult passage and break into manageable pieces. It is a skill that will help them in problems outside of music, also!
The Practice Guide contains recordings of the band that allow the student to play along with only the accompaniment.
Many songs also have a “Key Concepts” Video that appears at the bottom of the Practice Guide. This guide will help students with all the primary skills they should focus on in the song—bowing, fingering and technique.
The FiddleQuest Notation Tool is an amazing way to help students grow in their ability to fluently read music. Every FiddleQuest Song, Scale, and Sight Reading exercise has a fully interactive Notation Tool.
The Notation Tool has a number of powerful features:
Different students have different zoom needs. When viewing FiddleQuest on a Mac or PC, you can quickly set and save your desired zoom level for notation:
- Hit the + or – button on the top left of any FiddleQuest notation to adjust the size to your liking. The zoom range for most devices is -25 to +25.
- Hit the Save icon and your preference will be saved for the browser and device you are currently using.
Note: If you are using FiddleQuest on a mobile device, you will not see the zoom in and out buttons above. In order to maximize speed and stability on mobile devices, we’ve stripped away everything but the notation engine. You can still change the zoom of a given notation by clicking the Gear Icon inside the Notation Tool and adjusting zoom from there.
One of the most powerful features of our Notation Player is the ability to select and loop a section of music.
- Place your cursor at the beginning of the section you want to loop.
- Click and drag your cursor to the end of the section you want to loop and release.
- Hit play and the recording will loop through your selection.
- You can loop once, repeatedly or with a count in by clicking on the selection next to the play
- Drag your finger over the area you wish to loop.
- Hit play and the recording will loop through your selection.
- On tablets, you can get the looping options (e.g. count-in) by having the device in landscape mode. (The options will not appear on tablets in portrait or devices smaller than tablets.)
Sometimes you need more control over speed than Ready, Set, and Go provide. Fortunately, you can easily speed up or slow down any recording in FiddleQuest.
- Find the Playback Speed control to the left of the play button at the bottom left of the Notation Player. Drag the slider to adjust the playback speed.
Note: Changing the speed of the recording will reduce the audio quality. You can minimize this effect by changing the Audio Source to Piano.
3.9.4.Changing the Audio Source
Sometimes it is inconvenient to close the Notation Tool when you simply want to change recordings between Ready, Set, and Go. Other times it can be helpful to access the piano sound instead of the real violin track. Fortunately, changing the Audio Source within the Notation Tool is easy.
- Click the Headphone icon near the bottom right side of the Notation Tool.
- Select the Audio Source (Ready, Set or Go) that you want to interact with.
- Click the Gear icon near the bottom right side of the Notation Tool.
- From the top of the settings window that opens, select the Audio Source you want to interact with.
Occasionally, you may wish to play a song in a different key. The FiddleQuest notation tool can do that!
- Change the audio source to Piano (Key Transposition does not work on Violin or Band recordings.)
- Click the Gear icon to open the settings window.
- Find the Key Transposition slider.
- Drag the slider to the key of your choice.
The Curriculum Map is a great way to see the whole FiddleQuest curriculum from a bird’s eye view. Every song and skill is listed as a link to make it easy to explore individual items. Click the Printer icon next to each song for a printable PDF of the song notation which has been specially designed for educational use.
Note: The Curriculum Map is not designed to be a core navigation tool. See the Navigation Tips for fast ways to move between songs and skills.