I’ll be teaching an Intensive Fiddle Class this Thursday, February 23, at Wintergrass in Bellevue, WA. What’s an “intensive”? It’s a workshop with a very specific set of goals. I created a curriculum for the class, and plan to carry it out during the few hours I’ll have with a classroom of fiddle students. My classes are usually geared for an intermediate player. What constitutes an intermediate player? It varies. If you can play a scale in each of the common fiddle keys (G,D,A,C – there are a few more to know but these are the most common), and you can play a simple tune by ear, and you know where the notes are on your fingerboard, you are an intermediate player.
I use old time tunes to help illustrate principles of good technique. I hope that I am a little different from most old time fiddle teachers in this way. To me it is essential that a player learn their scales and arpeggios thoroughly (an arpeggio is a chord, played one note at a time) – these are the building blocks for everything musical. I try to help a player find joy in playing something seemingly simple, perfectly and beautifully. I want to help lessen frustrations that most of us have – the things we “can’t” do. Language choice is a part of my teaching approach. I believe very deeply that our semantics can help or hinder us in reaching our artistic goals.