you get out of it - an accessible, lifelong pleasure
Making music on an instrument is a skill and a pleasure that most of us
aspire to. But many people are put off because they see music as intellectually
awkward or they lack confidence in their aptitude for it.
traditional fiddle can bring out the music in you without theory and technicalities.
It works in the same simple, effective way that you've absorbed the music
that you already enjoy, and learnt language as a baby - by listening and
repeating. It is all about playing and exploring memorable tunes, without
needing textbooks, in the way it has been learnt for centuries.
fiddle music of the Celtic traditions is both a musical treasure trove
and a living tradition that brings pleasure not just through recordings
or books but through participation.It is music you can enjoy for the rest
of your life, whatever level you play at.
it's a versatile enough medium to allow you to
play alone or with friends at sessions and festivals
play for dancing as well as listening
produce music that stands up in its own right without a need for
take part in ensemble playing to get the excitement of massed music-making.
enjoy developing skills that can let you explore other musical
learning method - listening and repeating
The beauty of traditional fiddle as a way to start learning music is that
the method does not rely on music theory or formalities that can get in
the way of the pleasure of playing.
teach traditional fiddle emphasising learning tunes and technique through
listening and sympathetic instruction. You will progress through a step
by step programme of tunes, playing and enjoying accessible and recognisable
melodies all along the way.
music is drawn mainly from the traditions of Ireland, Scotland, England,
Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) and France.
I need to read music?
Reading music and music theory can be useful tools but they've never
been a necessary part of traditional music. If you read music or want
to that's no problem - but the method I use doesn't need it.
if I worry I have no ear for music?
Some people have been encouraged from an early age to believe they have
no ear for music. But it is really a question of getting the right environment
taught people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of confidence I've yet
to find anyone who can't learn, given the right approach, to enjoy and
explore music at their own pace.
I need to own an instrument first?
I have a few instruments which may be hired from me by prior arrangement,
so you can see if you feel comfortable with the fiddle.
I need to practice a lot?
As soon as practice becomes pleasurable most people find they can spare
20 minutes a day. It's easier with traditional music because you will
be playing enjoyable, recognisable tunes very early.
learning traditional fiddle make it hard to explore other styles if
I want to?
The fundamental instrumental techniques for good classical violin and
good traditional fiddle are very similar. The way I teach still emphasises
basic good technique of posture, timing, and sound production. So starting
off on traditional fiddle won't cause any problems if pupils later want
to play in other styles.
I've also had lessons in the Alexander Technique so I'll be constantly
looking out for any signs of tension which can in time cause RSI and
had classical violin lessons, what can these lessons offer me?
Traditional fiddle music can revitalise a player because it provides a
possibilities of playing in sessions with friends without the formalities
of orchestral playing.
will probably need to reconsider some aspects of style, particularly in
the bowing, and be prepared to risk putting away the sheet music and learning
in a more direct way, picking up nuances by listening.
can be a major issue for classically trained players, but it's not as
daunting a task as you may believe, and it's a skill well worth acquiring...
I know that only because I've been through it too!
do I go for lessons?
Walkley, Sheffield S6
much is it?
45 minute lesson £25 (over 16's) 30 minute lesson £17 (under 16's),
weekly or fortnightly - please note that a weekly lesson is recommended for beginners
traditional peripatetic folk fiddle teacher at 6 primary schools
comprehensive, in Sheffield, Derbyshire
traditional fiddle tutor, private pupils
leader for South Riding Folk Network youth band the Harlequinettes.
for more information
Roger the Badger ceilidh band.
for more information
skyhook - highly acclaimed traditional acoustic trio.
for more information
occasional fiddle / ceilidh band workshops
Certificate of Teaching (Associated Board of the Royal Schools
BBC Radio 2 Young Tradition Award finalist (1995)
Grade VIII violin
Grade VII music theory
Call 0114 232 0421
Shops stocking hard to find trad tune books, recordings, accessories etc
The Music Room