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
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
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.