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2024 April FIDDLE HELL Online Festival
Mark your calendar!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (9 votes) 
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Unfretted
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April 13, 2024 - 10:51 am
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And now for a completely different perspective…

I’ve never really been a fan of “survey courses”.  I’m an in-depth seminar type of person.  I also have little inclination for listening to people talking about playing music; I love hands on, active, participatory workshops that leave me with actionable techniques that I can improve and apply to my playing.  This year’s Fiddle Hell has some excellent workshops and instructors that suit my learning style.  In fact, I think it’s the best Fiddle Hell I’ve experienced.  There’s a good selection of intermediate and advanced presentations by fine instructors.

Jay Ungar’s one class, “Our Musical Secrets to Playing a Waltz in a Compelling Way”  is itself worth the price of admission.  He is a premier teacher, a kind, humble soul, and an emotional artist.  It shows in every note he plays and every word he speaks.  He dissects every note of Lovers’ Waltz, explaining and demonstrating each move he makes with his fingers, each embellishment he adds, and each subtle technique he applies as he draws the bow.  He makes sure to play the critical parts closely into the camera so the technique is transparent. These secrets can be reworked into our own pieces going forward.  I will re-watch this class for at least a month mining every single detail from it.  Last year, Jay spoke so deeply about his emotional connection with music that he, and a good part of the workshop participants, teared up.  A true artist unfiltered.

Hanneke Cassel teaches several participatory workshops.  She is an excellent teacher with a beyond-words glowing joy and exuberant, positive personality.  Her Scottish Grace Note Tutorial session explicitly conveys the techniques of several essential ornaments.  Studying this along with all of her other detailed workshops is a solid plunge into the Scottish music that she performs so well.

Peter Macfarlane also presents several workshops with in-depth insight into the intricacies of Scottish fiddling technique as well as rhythmic nuances.  As a classically-trained violinist and astute fiddler, he is well informed and explicitly conveys his expertise.  His handouts are wonderfully analytical and all-encompassing.  Violinists and fiddlers of all genres can glean insights from each of his excellent classes, and it’s worth watching every single one of them.  His “Timing and Emphasis in Jigs” offers insight and specific techniques for capturing the essence of the jig.

Austin Scelzo is the up-and-coming rock star of fiddle instruction!  Every single one of his five workshops is worth watching (and playing along with) even if you think it’s not within your range of interest.  He blends theory, technique, and practical playing in the most usable package imaginable.  He loves to teach and he beams throughout his engaging presentations.  The links to his website and other instructional materials lead to a virtual university of practical fiddling.  He’s a teaching genius, with a degree in music education, and he provides years of material for musical growth.

That’s certainly four months of re-watching and studying/practicing right there.

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ELCBK
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April 13, 2024 - 4:14 pm
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@Unfretted -

Thank you for mentioning those instructors!  I think everything at Fiddle Hell is 'hands on' - except concerts & maybe Andy's podcast. 

 

There's so much happening every hour!  I'm so grateful for access to ALL replays, otherwise I'd be pulling my hair out trying to make nearly impossible (for me) decisions on what to attend!  There's usually (at least) a couple workshops & a concert I'd like... all at the same time, every hour! 

 

@Strabo -

Are you enjoying your 1st Fiddle Hell? 

 

Anyone else?

 

Fiddle Hell Online Festival 

...anyone that can use Zoom can still register, participate in the remaining days, with access to handouts - then catch up with replays of ALL workshops, Concerts & Jams (not just the ones I mention) - for 4 months!  

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ABitRusty
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April 13, 2024 - 9:17 pm
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ditto on Peter MacFarlane and Hanneke Cassle workshops.   Good stuff.   I havent been able to watch much more yet.

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ELCBK
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April 13, 2024 - 11:52 pm
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@ABitRusty -

🤗 Was hoping you got to watch some! 

I enjoyed one of Hanneke's & one of Peter's workshops on Friday. 

This is the first Fiddle Hell I've felt completely relaxed.  I'm sure it's partly due to I learn music faster/easier now, but maybe also because I don't feel like a deer caught in the headlights anymore... I'm not overflowing with questions, which feels strange (but good). 

Noticed replays started becoming available today! 

I'm having a hard time keeping myself from diving right in to the ones I missed so far, but first... there's still DAY 4!  ...and I do need a little sleep. 😵

My Day 3 highlights: 

Learned to refine my bowing, rhythm & ornaments for a wonderful Finnish Polska with the help of Tero Hyväluoma (Teho)! 

Learned all about the Sarangi + how to play a very beautiful tune from Nepal on violin, with it's ornaments, from Prince Nepali (sarangi) & Zoe Levitt (mandolin)! 

Learned how to get started playing & writing 3-Fiddle Harmony with Casey Driessen! 

Learned a lovely trad Ukrainian waltz, with ornaments, from Beth Bahia Cohen! 

Surprised by a couple of tunes from the Tierra Caliente area of Mexico from Paul Anastasio & Tina Pillone.  Also watched/listened to a concert of their music - I had no idea they had been studying & documenting this kind of music for so long!  ...hope to learn more from them!   

 

Fiddle Hell Online Festival 

...anyone that can use Zoom can still register, participate in the remaining days, with access to handouts - then catch up with replays of ALL workshops, Concerts & Jams (not just the ones I mention) - for 4 months!

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Dave Reiner

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April 14, 2024 - 7:49 am
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Hello @Unfretted @ELCBK @ABitRusty and other musical friends!

Thanks so much for your great comments! Maybe I'll see some of you in my 2:30PM workshop today on "Draggin' the Bow" - with the rarely-encountered triple shuffle :-).

And it's great you pointed out for that players and listeners can register just for the replays at a reduced price at FIDDLE HELL REGISTRATION. Actually, if they sign up today, they get today live thrown in for free.

See you in Hell!

Dave Reiner

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ELCBK
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April 14, 2024 - 2:25 pm
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@Dave Reiner -

Thanks for the heads up, Dave! 

I certainly won't miss your "Draggin' The Bow" workshop - great swing tune! 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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April 15, 2024 - 2:55 pm
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For people who didn't sign up because you had to work, or the time zone difference made it inconvenient - here's a great opportunity:

...players and listeners can register just for the replays at a reduced price at FIDDLE HELL REGISTRATION.

 

A few more examples...

Dave Reiner's workshop on "Draggin' The Bow" was chock full of variations, great ideas for improvisation & bowing for this Country Rag!  (@Strabo - think you'd like it) 

I was curious about Amy Cann's "Getting Comfortable With Flat Keys" workshop, because I've never treated tunes with flats or sharps any differently.  I now understand why some folks have shied away from flat keys.  She had some surprising help - great for beginners, too!

Alasdair White's "Hebridean 'Puirt A Beul' for the Fiddle" workshop tied right into the fairly recent Fiddling a Work Song or Song About Work Thread!  The relationship of words to music. 

Casey Driessen had a fabulous workshop on "7/4 Chopped"!  He somehow managed to plan this lesson out so well that even 'I' could learn these! 

Matt Cranitch is always so wonderfully meticulous with details!  His "A Polka from the Playing of Denis Murphy" didn't disappoint me - emphasis on the nuances of this bowing & rhythm! 

I had trouble keeping up with Matt Manweller for "Do You Want To Play Exciting Mantunos From Latin American Music?".  Great rhythm & info, but was moving WAY too fast for me.  I decided I'd wait for the replay, so I can slow it down. 

Alasdair White's workshop on "Developing Grace Notes and Ornaments for Scottish Music" - helped round out my recent dive into the timing of piper ornaments (Scottish Piper Tunes Played on The Fiddle Thread)! 

Darol Anger's "Tasty Double Stops" was VERY helpful, emphasis on using 6ths!  I need to get to where I use double stops more naturally, in the same way I wouldn't hesitate to use ornaments.  This workshop has motivated me to get back on track! 

 

So, my last Day of Fiddle Hell 'Online Live' was another wonderful learning experience!  I'm trying to muster up some energy & motivation to get started on ALL the Workshops & Concerts I missed this last 4 days!  All the concerts & jams are great and YOU can take advantage of workshops that are pertinent TO YOUR OWN interests - these are only some of mine. 😊 

I really appreciate that Dave Reiner works year 'round on making this a fabulous Super-Festival, along with his family & staff! 

FIDDLE HELL is really HEAVEN for folks who love specific genres, or ALL genres, and especially for those who play multiple instruments! 

...and I loved seeing some new instructors - some are other instrumentalists that teach music for the FIDDLE & much more help for Cellists this April!

Next November Fiddle Hell will be LIVE (not online)!

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Strabo
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April 19, 2024 - 8:07 am
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This has been my first experience with Fiddle Hell, and I must say that I am impressed.

I was able to attend just a few sessions in real time, due to other goings-on in my life. Unlike the FH sessions, these other life events cannot be re-played! 

Dave circulated a matrix of the sessions which I found very helpful. My copy of his matrix has many sessions highlighted, and I am working my way through the replays. It will take me a while to get through all of them, which are to be available for four months. This is a great feature, one that makes FH a great value, and one will bring me back to FH in future years. The online structure of FH is imaginative and effective; it offers great variety and long-term value. 

So far, I have focused on workshops, all of which have instructional content. The ability to repeat challenging sections is of course very helpful, and I don’t think I missed much by not being present in real time. That may not be true of the jams, which I was sorry to miss. Oh well, next time, next time...

I do want to comment on Dave Reiner’s role in all of this. Dave has quite obviously done an outstanding job of assembling a wonderful and varied program. He has also paid close attention to issues and problems that inevitably arise in events like this. I experienced some technical challenges early on, and Dave was quick to jump in and help me get things fixed. In a past life I organized large technical conferences so I have some understanding of the challenges that organizers face. Dave has quite obviously put heart and soul -- and plenty of hard work -- into this.

Dave, kudos to you and thanks for your great work!

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ELCBK
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April 19, 2024 - 1:01 pm
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@Strabo -

It's really wonderful to hear what you thought about your FIRST Fiddle Hell! 

I'm really glad they were able to start saving the chat for replays this year - sometimes important links & info for workshops was lost in previous years of the festival. 

 

For people who didn't sign up because you had to work, or the time zone difference made it inconvenient - here's a great opportunity:

...players and listeners can register just for the replays at a reduced price at FIDDLE HELL REGISTRATION.

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Strabo
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April 20, 2024 - 7:24 am
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@ELCBK

Yes, my personal schedule was quite congested during the four days of FH, but now my time is much more open. So I’m taking the opportunity to cruise through the recordings, including some that are not directly relevant to my learning goals. Lots of interesting things to be discovered!

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