Wintergrass – Intensives, and Intent

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.

Wintergrass Intensives

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One Response to Wintergrass – Intensives, and Intent

  1. John England says:

    Hey Betse, I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you for 6 months now! You left a card in the Robert’s Western World (Nashville) when our band was playing during Bluegrass Week.

    You have a great spirit and energy, and I’m glad you’re in the world!


    John England

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