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. From the very beginning, I also encourage students to explore tunes they are interested in that are not found in the method books, either from their own exploration or my repertoire. I like them to come up with what I call a "Tunes Wish List" of pieces they think would be fun to play. 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.

Why should someone study Classical Fiddle over regular 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 alone 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 fiddle and classical music. Classical Fiddle students will have the technical and artistic tools to explore almost any other style they choose.

Don't 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 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 an 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.

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."

Classical Fiddle Gallery

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