I started musical life on fiddle and have played old-time fiddle (also called Mountain, Appalachian or Southern) for about 30 years. It is a style of music that is often mistaken for Bluegrass. Old time is more correctly thought of as the direct predecessor to Bluegrass. There are many hybrid styles these days as old-time fiddle has been influenced by many other styles. While ideas borrowed from other genres may occassionally slip into my playing, for the most part, I teach a traditional style.
My lessons typically focus on communicating various bowing techniques and a variety of left-hand techniques to obtain an old-timey sound. I also like to explore alternate tunings (e.g. AEAE; DDAD). For those who read music, I do supplement the lessons with written music that include suggested bowings.
Lesson philosophy: I am most interested in bringing each student to self-sufficiency as a complete musician. However, there is much to learn so it is important to look at lessons as a journey and not a race! And most important, learning to play should be fun. I do not care how fast or slow you go, but only that you enjoy the journey and, hopefully, are satisfied with your progress. I do like to push things along and keep you moving. While we work on proper technique with both the left and right hands, I focus on a variety bowing systems and ideas (3-1 bowing, Nashville shuffle, bow rocks, ghost bows, anticipations and many other ideas.)
I offer both group and private lessons. Absolutely, no music background is necessary to learn to play. If you already play the fiddle, I almost always like to have a first lesson to evaluate your level prior to group placement.
Cost: Currently, private lessons are $60 per hour; group lessons range in price from $35 per session for two people to $20 per session for five people. Half hour lessons are available as well but usually only given to those under 15.
Frequency: Most private students come every two weeks but some come less frequently and some come weekly depending on scheduling and budget issues! Group lessons are usually every two weeks.
I also provide "distance lessons" on fiddle. Please contact me directly to discuss this option.
Lesson Times Depends on my gig schedule but in general, here is what I offer. Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. & Friday 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Weekends: Saturday & Sunday, 8-10, 1-3.
Cancellation policy 48 hours notice except for emergencies.
Suggested materials: In 2009, I recorded a two CD collection of 35 tunes played at 3 speeds: very slowly and simply, moderately, and up-to-tempo. On the second CD, I included PDFs of the tunes, complete with bowings. My approach in both private lessons and on these recordings is to emphasize "bowing systems" such as 3-1 bowing, ghost bows, Nashville shuffle, bow rocks and various other ideas. I include a discussion of these bowing ideas. The CDs are playable on any CD player. See "Old Time Fiddle Repertoire: Volume I."
Rental Instruments Rental instruments are available at $30 per month. You may rent for as long as it is necessary. A portion of the rent ($20 per month) may be applied to the purchase of any instrument that I can get for you (not just the one you are renting). My fiddles range from around $300 to $1000 in price. I carry a wide range of instruments including Bob Morgan violins as well as many older instruments.