Huge thanks to Grace Smith and Kevin Lees!

Huge thanks to Grace Smith and Kevin Lees!

What a great start to 2024! There was lots of fabulous input from Grace on our Wednesday evening calls, as well as at our Saturday workshop day, and a delightful video tutorial from Kevin Lees (plus a lovely surprise visit to our final Zoom call of the block!)

Bookings for 2024 Block 2 are now open, and you can expect more high quality teaching from Stewart and Grace as they share the teaching on a Wednesday evening. This block we will also have a Video Tutorial from Grace as well as one from Stewart. Bookings are now open through the Shop. Saturday workshop places are limited, so don’t miss out!

Thank you, Melissa

It’s all change at the North East Fiddle School. As 2023 comes to an end we say farewell to our colleague Melissa Whitehead, for whom the time has come to move on. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Melissa for all her hard work and brilliant teaching over the last five years. She says that she will miss all of the wonderful students a great deal, and we wish her all the very best for the future.

We still have exciting plans for 2024, so do check back for details of what is to come. We will be continuing with Wednesday evenings on Zoom, Video Tutorials and a Saturday workshop in-person each block. Details and booking information will be available on the Classes page.

NEFS Winter Residential 2023

Exciting news! Bookings are now open for the NEFS Winter Residential weekend at Shepherds Dene in December. Places are limited, so do have a look if you are interested.

Full details are available on the information page, and various packages can be booked through the shop.

NEFS Zoom Session

Friday 8th Sept, 7.00 – 8.30 pm

Informal play-along session on Zoom with Stewart. Lots of fab tunes just for fun, with some extra harmonies thrown in! The notation is provided, with lots of tunes from the North East Fiddle School Live Tunes selection. Quite a few of these are also used for the Friday evening Online Sessions in Harmony, and harmonies from those will be provided.

There is no charge – donations will be accepted for the Stewart Hardy Music Bursary Fund, which contributes small amounts to individuals to help them afford our courses and workshops.

Details of the tune list can be sent by Ali on request. You don’t have to be attending NEFS, online workshops or JSArts courses to come along and you don’t have to make a donation – it’s open to everyone, so please tell any musician friends you think might be interested.

Zoom Details
Meeting ID: 812 6580 8817
Passcode: nefs2023se

Hope you can join us!

NEFS Summer Workshop Weekend

NEFS Summer Workshop Weekend
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July
We are delighted to announce that Grace Smith will be teaching alongside Stewart for this brand new venture – a weekend of in-person fiddle tuition.

The Saturday workshop will be similar to our usual format of tune workshops and a session, together with some extra focus on troublesome techniques that our members have identified as particularly worthy of attention.

We have exciting plans for the Sunday when, in addition to learning some cracking tunes, participants will be presented with opportunities to develop their musical imaginations and explore aspects of ensemble playing with harmonies, chords and arrangement techniques. We will, of course have a final session to round off the weekend and very much hope you can join us!

Plus the wonderful Frank McLaughlin will be coming down from Edinburgh with his guitar to join Stewart for an informal concert & session on the Saturday evening – all welcome and donations are encouraged.

Book your place via the shop. Choose the product that includes all of the events that you wish to attend. Prices include a discount for booking multiple events.

2023 Block 2 Bookings are open!

What was Melissa up to in this Technical Nugget from Block 1? Join us for more awesome tips to improve your fiddle playing!

We are delighted to be forging ahead into 2023 with another block of Online Zoom calls and Video Tutorials, with a Saturday in-person workshop too. The Zoom calls begin on Wednesday 1st March, and the Saturday Workshop will be at Wylam Methodist Church on 18th March.

Check out the Classes page for more details and you can book your place in the Shop now! We hope you can join us, either on Zoom, face to face, or both! Each option can be booked separately, but there is a discount if you sign-up to both.

NEFS Virtual Winter Workout 2023


Saturday 7th January, 2023
9.30 am – 10.00 pm

Join us for our first NEFS Virtual Winter Workout – a day of fully-online fiddle tuition on Zoom.

There will be live Zoom fiddle workshops, fiddle technique sessions, play-along tune sessions with spots from our tutors, plus a chat event and video tutorials. Events will be aimed at all abilities of fiddle player from competent beginner through to advanced, led by guest tutors Kevin Lees and Grace Smith, alongside our regular tutor Stewart Hardy for the weekend, and an exclusive video tutorial from Melissa Whitehead.

Plenty of breaks are scheduled, drop in and out of the workshops as you choose during the day, and there are some chat events to break up the day! Call recordings of the workshops will be available after the event if you miss anything on the day.

The evening before, Friday 6th January, Stewart will host an evening play-along session for all instruments, with harmony lines and chord suggestions provided. This will be available as a separate event, as well as part of the Virtual Winter Workout.

*** Updates will be posted on the Virtual Winter Workout page!

NEFS Residential Weekend

NEFS Residential Weekend

We are very excited to be brining you our first ever NEFS Residential Weekend!

This will be a chance to meet and socialise with other NEFS participants, extending our in-person Saturday workshop for the block. The weekend will run from 5pm on Friday 2nd December through to Sunday 4th December, finising with Sunday lunch. There are many different ways in which you can join us – from just the usual Saturday workshop, through to the full residential weekend, but with a variety of different options in between. All the packages (including extending your Saturday with dinner, a concert and a session, adding Friday evening or Sunday morning with bed & breakfast, plus non-residential options) are available on the NEFS Residential Weekend page.

The weekend will be held at the beautiful Retreat House, Shepherds Dene, near Riding Mill in Northumberland. Stewart and Ali will be with you all weekend, encourging music making and tune sharing throughout. All food and accommodation is provided by the venue, and we are looking forward to a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable weekend. We hope you can join us!

Summer 2022 Update

We have had a wonderful year so far at NEFS. The online Zoom workshops have been very well attended, and we have been working on our left hand technique, as well as extending our bowing patterns to give us more choices when we play the tunes we love. We have expanded our repertoire of “Live Tunes” – ones that we learn live on Zoom and can then all play together when we meet up. These have been the core of our sessions which end our Saturday in-person workshop days, and have been extremely rewarding, both in terms of improving our technique and learning new tunes, as well as playing together in sessions. Even when Stewart suffered from COVID-19 in June, we were lucky enough to have the amazing Sophy Ball stand in and teach us yet another brilliant tune.

Stewart and Melissa have created some excellent video tutorials for us each block, and these are available to refer back to at any time. Their teaching is extremely clear, informative and easy to play along with, so it is just like being in a workshop, with the added benefit of the rewind function!

NEFS Virtual Summer School 2022 – postponed

Unfortunately, we have decided that the Virtual Summer School will be postponed this year, as it just wasn’t possible to get the organisational side in place in time. Also, the only weekend we had available to run it in the summer was the bank holiday, and many of our regular participants have told us they will be away. So we are making plans to run it again, maybe in the new year. Kevin Lees and Grace Smith are still as keen to work with us as we are with them, so we can look forward to more great workshops in the future.

This autumn, we will be continuing with the same Online and Saturday Workshop model for Blocks 5 and 6, running from September to December. We have some exciting plans in progress for some surprise video tutorials, as well as the possibility of an in-person weekend around our Saturday workshop in December. This would be a weekend of sessions, meals together and time to relax and get to know each other better. There might even be an extra tune workshop on the Sunday morning. Look out for more information if you would be interested in joining us for that.

Many thanks for your support over this past academic year. We hope you enjoy your summer, and any fiddle playing you get at festivals or with friends. If you are interested in extra fiddle teaching, check out Stewart’s website for more Zoom workshops, and some in-person JSArts residential weekends this autumn. We hope you will join us again soon!

Welcome to 2022 at NEFS!

Happy new year, everyone! We hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable time over the festive season. Now we are looking ahead to 2022 and are excited to be getting started with more wonderful fiddle tuition from Melissa and Stewart.

This block, 2022 Block 1, which will run from Weds 19th Jan to 16th Feb will have both online and in-person options. The Wednesday evening Zoom calls will continue as before, with fiddle practice, technical nuggets and live tunes taught to add to our core repertoire.

For the video tutorials, we are offering two brand new tunes, one each from Melissa and Stewart, and these will be aimed at Level 2 and Level 3 respectively. The third set of video tutorials will be a revision tune from a very early online block at NEFS. This is in response to those who requested more time to go over things they have previously learnt, in addition to freeing up a little more time for Melissa and Stewart in their busy teaching schedules. For some of you this will also be a new tune – so lots to get your teeth into! The tunes have been chosen to address the request to have more tunes which go together well in a set, and to talk more about set building in general, which both Melissa and Stewart will do this block. As we are offering less quantity of videos this block, we hope you will have more time to get into the depth of tuition that is offered, and to further explore the bowing, ornamentation and groove of the tunes. We are also not putting up our prices this block to reflect the reduction of new material.

We are also offering an in-person full day workshop on Saturday 5th February. Full details are available on the Classes page, and we hope lots of you will come along and learn some new tunes, consolidate your technique, and join us in an afternoon session playing some of our core repertoire. If you can’t make the whole day, but wish to join us for the session, please get in touch. The day will be run in accordance with our COVID-secure workshop guidelines, and the local situation will be taken into account before we go ahead. If we have to cancel to keep people safe, refunds will be given.

We aren’t running the Thursday evening workshops this block. With COVID, along with winter coughs and colds, and with the dark, wintry evenings of January and February, we don’t think attendance would be high enough to make the evening work well. Apologies if would have wanted to come – we hope you can join us online, or for the Saturday workshop or session. We will look at running evening workshops again in the Spring.