Resources for teaching fiddle

Trish said: Mar 17, 2015
Trish Clair (Horrocks)
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Nanaimo, BC
25 posts

Hi fellow teachers! I am looking for input from colleagues, students, and parents regarding a new website that I have just launched.

As a Suzuki teacher, I have watched many of my colleagues use fiddle tunes solely as a sight reading exercise, which always seems a bit odd to me given the aural nature of traditional fiddling.
As both a teacher and performer I have witnessed (and participated in!) the bias violinists often have against fiddle music as simplistic and therefore less valuable than “classical” music.

I do believe that fiddle music holds great value as a teaching tool, not only because it is a joyful style of music that often captivates and excites young players. If we look at the tunes through “Suzuki” eyes, we can always find an important teaching point that can be developed …. a bit like our Mom hiding the turnips in our mashed potatoes when we were kids (except way more fun than turnips!!).

With this in mind, my husband and I have developed a website that offers tools and resources for teaching and learning traditional fiddle styles. On our site there are many popular solo tunes (packaged in bundles that include sheet music, accompaniment chords, slow and fast recordings and play-along accompaniment tracks). These tunes are searchable by key, type, style, and difficulty level (including Suzuki book level). You can also search for features like slurs, dotted rhythms, triple cuts, etc. Each month we give away a free tune bundle to registered users.

Please consider visiting the website at www.crosscanadafiddle.com and look around. Let me know what you think, and tell me anything you feel would be a helpful addition to the resources on the site. Thanks!

Alan Duncan said: Mar 19, 2015
Alan Duncan
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
60 posts

What an outstanding resource!

My daughter, a 6 y/o beginning Book 3 violinist also plays fiddle tunes avidly. Not only does it make her a more versatile player; but the music is joyful as you point out. I’ve noticed that it gives a strong sense of key and harmony.

Looking forward to exploring this repertoire more closely. In terms of feedback, we have been searching a bit for more on embellishments, ornamentation, etc. Our studio teacher is well-versed on fiddle-playing; but there isn’t time during the lessons to go into any depth on fiddle techniques “beyond the page.” Would love to see some guidance there on method.

Christiane said: Mar 20, 2015
Christiane Pors-Sadoff
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
New York, NY
47 posts

Dear Alan,
I have personally enjoyed working with Brian Wicklund’s American Fiddle Method. Brian was a former Suzuki student. There are 2 books with CDs with full instrumentation (fiddle, guitar, banjo, lyrics). There is a broad range of tunes from American, Irish, Scottish and other sources with explanations and fun drawings, and very interesting original blues compositions by Wicklund in each volume that students and groups just love to play. In addition there are very child friendly explanations of fiddle introductions and endings as well as double stop versions that students can play when ready. There are slide variationens as well, and instructions on how to play back up fiddle. In my estimation a very comprehensive set of volumes and worth owning and working with. There is also a collaboration with April Verch in a volume of Canadian fiddle tunes with lots of suggestions on how to practice and a CD. Have fun!

Christiane Pors
Violinist
Mikomi Violin Studio
Kaufman Music Center
NYU Steinhardt

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