FAQ

I'm not sure I want my child to fiddle...

Why not? It's a lot of fun! Your child will be able to explore all the swing and drive of a Celtic music session, the intricate rhythms of Nordic dances, and, through Classical Fiddle, be able to play in an orchestra or chamber group.


Do fiddle players have poor technique and cannot play classical music?

It is true that some fiddlers display very convoluted technique which can get in the way of being fully able to explore all that the instrument has to offer. This is one of the reasons that I decided to develop the Classical Fiddle method. I will make sure that you or your child do not develop bad, and therefore limiting, habits.


How does the Classical Fiddle Method work?

I teach how to play the instrument through the Suzuki Classical Violin Method and its American cousin, the O'Connor Violin Method. Once a certain level of technical expertise is reached, I then add in a healthy dose of Celtic and Nordic tunes from my own playing. The result is a very competent violin player who is equally at home in a fiddling session as they are in a chamber music quartet, as comfortable playing in an orchestra as playing with a traditional group for a dance.


Is it true that Suzuki students are competent but unexciting players?

I can assure you that learning to play through the Classical Fiddle method will have you or your child playing with passion!


How long does it take to gain the necessary expertise to start fiddling?

Everyone is different so it is impossible to say for certain how long this might take. What I can say for certain is that anyone can develop these skills.


Really, won't "fiddling" interfere with me or my child wanting to play in orchestra?

NO! Classical Fiddle will give your child all the technical skills and musical understanding to play in classical music ensembles. Remember that the backbone of the method--the Suzuki Method--is a classical music-based method.


Why should someone study Classical Fiddle over classical violin?

Your child will gain more musical skills through Classical Fiddle. Classical Fiddle gives the student the tools to explore both the classical and traditional sides of the instrument. Classical violin only is only classical violin.


What can I or my child play learning Classical Fiddle?

Students in the Classical Fiddle method will be comfortable playing traditional Celtic, Scandinavian, and classical music. Classical Fiddle students will have the technical and artistic tools to explore almost any other style they choose.


Will you teach how to read music?

Yes, the ability to read music is a vital skill for the complete fiddler.


What styles do you play?

I play classical violin and Celtic and Nordic fiddle. Within the Celtic tradition, I specialize in Irish fiddle. Within the Nordic tradition, I specialize in Swedish music.


What is the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

The best definition that I can come up with is an analogy: a fiddle is to a violin as a car is to an automobile. Not much difference, it really boils down to what kind of music you play. The instrument is called a "violin" in a classical music setting and is called a "fiddle" in a traditional music setting. For instance, you would never talk about "Bach's Concerto in D Minor for Two Fiddles", nor would you talk about "Traditional Irish violining."


What's with the Ben Stein quote?

I'll tell you at the first lesson!

Lessons & Policies

When do you give lessons?

I am available to teach most times, any day of the week except Fridays and Saturdays.


Where do you give lessons?

I teach out of my home here in the Dominion Hills neighborhood in Arlington.


How long are lessons?

Lessons can be 30, 45, or 60 minutes. I very much prefer longer lessons since it enables us to get deeper into the subject.


How often are lessons?

Lessons are once a week.


As a parent, do I need to be at the lessons?

Yes. If you are the parent of a young child learning the violin, you must be present and participating in the lessons.


How much practice is required?

A quick rule of thumb is that you should only practice on the days you eat (thanks to Dr. Suzuki for that one-liner). Seriously, I don't want to set a hard number of minutes for the student but rather set out daily, weekly, and longer-term goals to be achieved.


What ages do you teach?

As early as 6 up until...whenever! I love adult beginners! Please remember that in the case of children, a parent must be present and actively participating in all lessons.


What levels do you teach?

Beginners, classical violinists wanting to understand fiddling better, and fiddlers of other styles wanting to learn about Celtic or Scandinavian music.


How many lessons?

As many as you would like! Lessons are scheduled in monthly blocks.


Do I need my own violin?

Yes, if you do not currently own one, I can help you with purchasing or renting a violin.

When is payment due?

Lessons are scheduled in monthly blocks. Payment for all lessons in a month is due before the first lesson of the month.


What is your cancellation policy?

When you sign up for lessons, I reserve your lesson time for you each week. Therefore, with the exception of lessons that are missed due to inclement weather, missed lessons will not be credited or refunded.

However, I do understand that occasionally--for example, in case of illness--a student will need to reschedule a lesson. Lessons may be rescheduled to a mutually convenient make-up time within a month from the original lesson date. Any lesson canceled by the student with less than 24-hour notice will not be rescheduled.

Classical Fiddle Gallery

Photos of the studio, performances, and other fiddle/violin related images.