Teaching

The only “right” way to play the fiddle is the way that brings enjoyment to you, your fellow musicians and listeners. The only “wrong” way is one that hurts.

Technique

I had a few basic lessons in the Suzuki Method when I first learned to play. But I soon wandered off into uncharted realm of “fiddle” technique. I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom underlying the “right” ways to play the violin, but this been a roundabout process trial and error.

Rather than teaching a “right” technique, I coach my students to think about what they’re doing and figure out ways to make it work better. I offer established techniqes for comparison, not rigid adherance.

Listening

Nothing trains the ear better than listening. I recommend recordings and concerts to my students and try to find them opportunities to hear great music. I encourage focused listening. Listen to music sometimes without doing anything else. Background music is great, but it can be fun and rewarding to make listening the primary activity.

Repertoire

Our responsibility as fiddle players, by the end of time, is to learn every tune in existence. I am pleased to report we are making great progress.

The quest for great tunes is endless. Few things are more satisfying than discovering a truly great tune, hunting it down, getting it into the fingers, and hearing it take on its own life in your hands. I try to introduce my students to many types and styles of tunes. I don’t teach a set repertoire but rather choose music on the fly based on what my students want to do.

Session Skills Group

In July 2018, I am leading a group in Portland working on skills for playing in an Irish session. I’ve written some notes about what we’re learning. You can read those here.