“I am a brand new fiddler. I’ve had one series of beginning classes, and three private lessons. I have NO musical ability, I can't read music, but I’m enjoying myself immensely. Is this workshop appropriate for someone like me?”
We get this kind of question a lot. What might a beginning musician expect at Fiddle Tunes? The gathering welcomes people of all abilities, but it’s not uncommon for beginning musicians to feel frustrated at Fiddle Tunes. Here’s what to expect.
In the mornings the main faculty hold forth. Generally speaking, these players were invited to the festival as representatives of a certain style of music, one that they learned from their family and neighbors. Some are experienced teachers, many are not. In an effort to present them in an organic framework as possible, they receive no guidelines from Centrum as to what level they should teach – it’s their choice. Most teach at an intermediate and above level.
So, although there is nothing geared specifically for beginners in the morning classes, we think it’s critically important that you attend these sessions. The faculty are active tradition-bearers, and they share more than their music. You probably won’t open your case. Rather, you’ll be in listening mode, soaking your head in a certain style, listening to stories, understanding the context in which this person’s music is played back home.
After lunch, from 2 to 3:30, a series of instrumental tutorials are offered for fiddle, banjo, guitar, and piano. The instructors are excellent and welcoming musicians and teachers. These tutorial sessions focus on technique, not style, and are aimed at beginners. They’re small, so you’ll have plenty of personal attention.
At 4pm we offer a “Beginners Band Lab,” to which all beginning-level players of any instrument are invited. You’ll get an idea about how exciting it is to play with other people. The Beginners Band will play for a dance if they’d like, and also in the Band Lab concert on Friday morning.
We hope this information is helpful to you in deciding whether the workshop might be a good fit. Being among so many players can be overwhelming, but it helps to know what to expect. If you have any more questions, feel free to call Peter McCracken at 360-385-3102, x127.