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Here's the upcoming Fiddle Camp in North San Diego Cty that I am going to next week, for the very first time. I am very excited to participate and experience a group workshop setting.
I think so too Terry; maybe you should start your own group in your community to get together to jam & teach.
I spoke at length to the guy who started and runs the Julian camp & he said he hosts a monthly get-together of a dozen or so local fiddlers and they all learn a [same] song before the meeting, then play it together and during the meeting, a couple of the very experienced players will make suggestions on style and sort of orchestrate the group's performance. Each meeting is 2 - 3 hours long, with breaks and snacks. I'm gonna try to weedle my way into the group, lol; people always make allowances for old farts like me. I'll let you know how it goes!
Good idea, I was thinking the same thing myself.
Our local village church has bells and the ringers practice every Tuesday evening in the summer.
I could do an evening get together in one of my local pubs ( or even in my garden as in summertime it doesn't get dark til 10,30 maybe 11pm if it has been a cloudless day) would be great to start something like this.
We might even be able to drown out the bell-ringers lol
I am amazed at how old people of my age are.....
How cool would that be! You know, I think the East coast (US) has this down; fiddle gatherings, especially in the Carolinas, Virginias, Tennessee, and Kentucky neighborhoods, I think are a much bigger part of their culture than SoCal "fer shur". I'm surprised to hear that at "communal" as I imagined UK towns are, you don't already have such...... BE the rebel, lol.
Thought you may find my recent experience interesting; I hope so. As I mentioned above, I [just] went to my very first fiddle camp. It was here in North San Diego Cty, called the Julian Family Fiddle Camp. WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE! Btw, this post is long, so pull up a chair & a mug....
It was a three-day long camp, however I was only able to attend one day [yesterday] from 8am - 9pm. I was the only attendee with less than 1 year of experience [I'm now on my 14th week]. I was able to attend 5 classes/workshops with three different teachers. The two general classes had approx. 12 students each while each workshop had approx. 2 - 5 students; incredible one-on-one with some fantastic teachers; Jane Frey, Katie Harvey, and Calvin Vollrath.
In the general classes, an instructor would teach the class 2 - 3 different songs, on-the-fly, e.g., "Old Joe Clark", "Boil the Cabbage", "Cripple Creek", "Devil's Reel", etc.. This was such an overwhelming experience initially & it could've been very intimidating, but the teachers really made me feel at ease and totally un-pressured.... so I learned quickly how to jump back into a song if I get lost at any point. So although it was a struggle, it worked,,, hey, that's how I learned to swim, tossed in the deep end of the pool, lol.
Then in each workshop, a couple different techniques were taught. One, for example, was arm vibrato. I've been trying to get a decent vibrato for the past 8 weeks, with limited success. The teacher of this class showed us the "trick" or key element, that, as of yet, I've not seen anyone point out specifically in any video. I've watched FM's vibrato clips endlessly and until re-watching them closely again today, never once noticed him using this one key element, but he clearly uses this element but doesn't specifically mention it so I never picked up on it. The key element is to keep your index finger joint [the joint where your index finger connects to your hand] away from the neck [during the vibrato] so your hand can move freely back and forth, while using your thumb pad under [and only slightly to the side] of the neck as an opposing force to the vibrato finger, to hold the fiddle in place. Using this key element, I had a really decent vibrato going within 5 minutes. If you re-watch FM's vibrato clips you'll see exactly what I'm talking about,,, I just never once noticed it.
Then there were other techniques that were taught, all of which have already improved my playing, e.g., completely relaxing my bowing arm shoulder, a couple great techniques for playing double-stops, and on and on. In one day, I learned five new songs and about a dozen incredible new playing techniques. And I never had the experience of playing with other people before,,,, VERY weird experience.
Here I have to apologize for either one of two faults; either for rambling on about this experience, or for skimming over some very useful tips.
And, oddly, although it was a VERY worthwhile experience, it was actually a bit disturbing for me.... There were 50 students at this camp ranging from 7 - 70 in age; there were 7 yr olds playing the crap out of the fiddle, and everyone there in my age group has been playing for 20+ years. With me just turning 57, where am I really going with the violin/fiddle. Not trying to be morose about it, but it really pisses me off that I waited so late in life to start learning to play! This is actually the single reason that I put in so many hours each week practicing and having fun with it,,, but I'm still pissed off about it, lol.
It sure sounds like an awesome experience! Don't be sorry you did not start earlier, tell yourself you had something else to experience back then and you still have plenty of time to enjoy the violin ahead! I mean 57 is not really old (I consider old at 65+ lol). Your post makes me curious about fiddle camps in my area. Thanks for sharing this ftufc
"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov
Thanks NV; yeah, if there's a camp available to you, you might want to try it. I think the staff/teachers make or break the camp experience.
And thanks for the "Old Man Consolations", haaaaaaaa; yeah, but remember when you thought a 21 yr old was old..... age is clearly relative,,, until you can actually SEE the sands dropping from your hourglass, lol.
Thanks FM, I know that's exactly true. I am having a BALL with this experience, and truly expect that I'll be playing [at this phase, trying to play] until either I can't lift both arms [and the one-armed fiddler vid does come to mind, lol], or I can't find time to play because I'm too busy changing my adult diaper.
You know, it's almost like finding the love of your life, and you're thoroughly enjoying that love/person, and then you think, why did I waste my time on all these other knuckleheads when I could've spent that invaluable time with the right person.
Btw, I wrote that note above at about 2:30am this morning after having had my share and my buddy's share of Guiness. It was a moment of a "pity party", it was either bitch and moan on Fiddlerman.com or "drunk text" an old girlfriend,,,, yeah, so I guess I "drunk forumed", haaaa
BTW FM, did my description of that arm vibrato "fine point" make sense??? It was a point that I've never seen made in any vid, but when I looked at your vids, I clearly see that you incorporate it. It must be second-nature to you by now, but for me, it was actually a skill-changing tip.
It's just soooooo much easier to do if your thumb is more under the neck and if your index finger knuckle is away from the neck. It just clicked for me!
FM, my wife would agree with you, haaaaa. Btw, I would never drunk text an old girlfriend, I was just being a dumbass!
I knew that tip wasn't a trade secret, but certainly a fine point that I had clearly missed. lol. Thanks Pierre for that insight too!
Btw, you are a gem of a man Pierre; I sometimes am blown away by your consistent involvement & dedication with everyone here!!!! Thank you so much for your dedication and insight!!! That being said, I'm NOT going to add the emoticon of two people kissing FM in the middle, ROFL...
Sounds like a tough MMA guy will be handing in his ' man card' soon to me, lol.
seriously though, thanks for a great insight into what a fiddle camp is like though.
Shame I have to go all the way to Ireland to experience one. But then, there is always the Guiness........ you will just have to ignore any posts I make afterwards lol
I am amazed at how old people of my age are.....
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