I started musical life on fiddle and have played old-time fiddle (also called Mountain, Appalachian or Southern) for about 35 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 occasionally 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.
I have about 30 fiddle students along with 30 hammered dulcimer students and try to encourage playing with others. My son Brad and I host the Baltimore Old-Time Jam every other Tuesday beginning with a slow jam from 7 until 8:15 and a fast jam for the balance of the night (until 11:00 p.m. or so) at The Five and Dime in Hamden. See http://www.kenandbrad.com/old-time-jam.html or visit our Facebook page at
https://www.facebook.com/groups/445722452176784/ Brad and I also host "guided jams" for both our adult and youth students about every two months.
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.
Currently, private lessons are $75 per hour ($40 for a half hour). Group lessons range in price from $40 per session for two people; $35 for three people; $30 for four person group; to $25 per session for five people. Half hour lessons ($40) are available as well but usually only given to those under 15.
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.
Lessons take place at my music studio at 3806 Fenchurch Rd, Baltimore, MD 21218. I live in the North Central area of Baltimore. I also provide "distance lessons" on fiddle. Please contact me directly to discuss this option.
Depends on my performance 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.
48 hours notice except for emergencies/illness; students will pay for missed/cancelled lessons unless there was an emergency/illness
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."
In 2010, Mel Bay re-released this project as a book/CD. I revised many of the tunes, expanded the discussion of bowings and added a section on learning by ear. The single CD includes MP3s which are playable on any computer. See "Old Time Fiddle Style: A Collection of 35 Old-Time Tunes."
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.
Location for group/private lessons
Ken's studio - up the driveway to the "garage"
3806 Fenchurch Rd
Baltimore MD 21218