Fiddling for Violinists Workshop

Introducing the Queen of the Orchestra to her festive Folk Cousin! with John Blasquez


For more info, click here to see the full class brochure and notation sample.

Looking for extra fun and perhaps a more casual connection with violin? Want to join in at campfire jams, music festivals, and Irish sessions? Want to fiddle at square dances? Interested in meeting and playing with violinists headed in those directions?


You’re almost there already!

Your command of the violin puts the joy of fiddling well within your reach. If previous attempts at fiddling proved unsatisfying here’s your chance to learn essential details and secrets, and refine a reliable approach for effective violin/fiddle cross-training. 

Fiddling is about timing nuance, accent patterns, stylistic slur patterns, drones, ornamentation ... and a creative dash here and there. Apply these basics and you’ll sound compellingly authentic from the start.

Now rest assured, you won’t have to alter your existing technique and other than perhaps re-tuning occasionally, you needn't alter your violin in any way ... nor hold the fiddle at your waist!


What to expect

We'll probably learn a new tune each session. Practicing according to a precise memorization formula we’ll try and apply techniques while sticking to a particular genre.


Notation / Learning by Ear

Many fiddlers don’t teach with notation because they don’t read. I create professional quality notation of the tunes I learn by ear. But please read responsibly! Reading can interfere with memorization and playing by heart is key hearing details and playing your best. It can be utterly refreshing. • Learning by ear is the natural language of fiddlers. We’ll demystify that and make it fun.


Improvisation and Creativity

Improvisation is easier than it might seem. Just a few simple improvisational devices will open many doors.

Despite what you’ve heard, you don’t necessarily need to know the tune’s entire chord sequence, nor arpeggiate each chord. Improv aside, we’ll also explore varying, developing and arranging melodies, so you can make your own mark yet still fit in with the group.


We’ll explore lots of fiddling styles

In each 6-week series we'll learn tunes, ornamentation, variations while covering rehearsing, jamming and performing in various genres:

  • American old-time and southern

  • Bluegrass

  • Celtic (Irish/Scottish)

  • Cajun

  • Country

  • Jazz, Blues & Swing


Fiddling topics / Learning and sharing tunes

  • How to effectively use notation to play by heart

  • Backward building—memorization made easy

  • Mastering and retaining repertoire and technique

  • Learning by ear—in person, and from recordings

  • Learning in jams—chasing tunes, slow jams

  • Cross-tunings: ADGE, GDGD, GDAG, DDAD

  • Reading scordatura notation (for cross-tunings)

  • Learn the role of the various other instruments


The Details

Time: Thursdays, 8:00pm - 9:15pm

Dates: Choose either 6-week series or come for both!

Series 1:  Sept 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 19

Series 2:  Oct 26, Nov 2, 9, 16, 30, Dec 7 (note, we are skipping Thanksgiving week)

Early Fee Discount: $168 for online pre-registration (below) or at the store

Regular Fee: $180at the door, payable at first class

Refunds issued if the workshop is canceled due to low enrollment (although that has never happened.) Class size limited to 20.

Need to cancel or change? No problem - just email or call the store at 925-385-0963 and we'll take care of it immediately.

Your Instructor: John Blasquez

For decades John Blasquez has been kindling and deepening the love of music in children and adults, starting kids on violin, fiddle and uke as young as 4 1/2, and enriching the path of those already underway with their instrument.

He teaches music spanning traditional, popular, jazz, blues, and classical styles. A superlative, seasoned fiddler and mandolinist in bluegrass, old-time, and Celtic genres, John has also held a lifelong appreciation of classical music, particularly baroque and soundtrack, and he’s an extremely versatile guitarist (it was his first instrument) specializing in solo finger-picking.




Ages: 10 through adult.

Experience: Classical background not required. Ability to read or easily learn by ear. Notation provided in treble clef and usually in tablature too.

  • Binder, pencil​

Sign-up Here:

We are OPEN Monday-Friday, 9:30 AM-6 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM-5 PM.