Listen repeatedly and sing along with the source, then transfer the sung phrases to the instrument. [Don’t worry if you can’t sing in tune. Your voice is helping you to punctuate the rhythm of the tune.] Go back to singing when your lose the tune – it’s best when the tune crawls into your ear and won’t leave. Sing and play. Sing and play. Play and sing. Time means nothing. Above all, don’t worry. It’ll come if you just keep listening.
When you have the notes, listen some more for rhythms and figure out the bowings that create them. Think about using the up-bow more to create subtlety, tying notes across the beat on a upbow to camouflage the movement. The upbow is your friend.
Now listen some more for harmony, chords and countermelodies. Figure out how the chords progress in this tune. Is it major or minor? A I-IV-V or Modal progression? Mine the tune for clues to harmonic movement. Then find a short line for each phrase. Try to stay on one string, visiting two at most and staying off the E string entirely for most harmony or counter lines. Often one phrase will lead you into the other, but you do need to ‘feel and find’ or actually know the chord progression. I’m a feel and find gal and learned chord names and the theory behind it later. Trying all the options lets you hear extra stuff – some of which is glorious amongst the notes you’d never play again. Aren’t you relieved now to know where the notes to avoid are located?
Now that you’ve found the chords, use them to play with rhythm. Find backup double-stop riffs that make the tune dance. Get so deep into the groove that you have to rock those rhythms with your bow. Here’s where time can really stand still, a paradox of your play with rhythm, but oh so true! Listen some more for variations and study how a small but constant varying of rhythms creates the new flavoring for the tune.
Above all, learn to love the many ways you can combine three, three and two rhythms into a bar of eight sixteenth notes. Syncopation is your friend, man! Find some great conga or djembe players and play jigs and reels while they pour those rhythms into your ears. Now THAT’s a jam session! Call me up and I’ll be there!