2020 – Block 1

Wednesday 15th January – 12th February inclusive (five weeks)

Level 2 and Level 3:
6.30 – 7.45 pm Technique
8.00 – 9.15 pm Style/Repertoire
Both classes for five weeks: £84
One class for five weeks (choose Technique or Style): £47

Style/Repertoire Themes

Level 2: The polka is a quick tempo dance form in which the problems associated with a fast beat are solved by fewer notes per beat, accessible note patterns and intense rhythmic vitality. Melissa will look at different approaches taken to the the tunes in the Scottish and Irish traditions.

Level 3: The Amazing Mr Carolan – 2020 is the 350th anniversary of the birth of the great blind Irish harper and composer, Turlough O’Carolan. What better way to kick off the year than by learning three terrific tunes from this musical giant whose melodies pervade all the traditions of these islands.

Please email or use the contact form to reserve your place. Payment (by bank transfer or cheque) is required to confirm all bookings.


Level 2
For our Level 2 classes you will be familiar with basic tune forms (waltzes, jigs, hornpipes, polkas and reels) and will already be able to play simple tunes at a steady tempo in these different styles. Tunes will generally be in keys with signatures of no flats/sharps, 1 sharp or 2 sharps. You might be developing an interest in bowing styles and interpretation of the repertoire.

Level 3
Level 3 classes are aimed at proficient fiddle players who are comfortable with playing tunes in the common dance forms. You will be aware of ornamentation and bowing patterns and aspire to incorporate them more fully into your playing. Repertoire will include tunes in keys with signatures between one flat and 3 sharps.


The Technique Classes will cover bowing techniques (tone production, soundpoints and articulation, bowing patterns and groove); intonation and dexterity through scales and exercises, motifs, passage work and ornamentation techniques. The Style Classes will pull these together through tune acquisition, applying the relevant mix of techniques to each specific tune, and adding ornamentation, chords and harmonies, to cover the interpretation of the repertoire. Alternative approaches and related material will be considered.

The tunes for each five week block will cover a stylistic theme (such as a particular groove, a named composer or collection or a particular key, for example). Full resources (both written and audio) are provided for all participants.


Level 1 (not currently running – please enquire)
To get the most out of Level 1 fiddle classes you will be familiar with the basics of the instrument – how to hold the violin and the bow. You will have some rudimentary reading and/or aural skills, be familiar with open strings and the basic finger positions to produce a one octave scale of G, D and A major as well as a two octave scale of G major. You may not have an in depth knowledge of fiddle music, but will aspire to acquire the core beginner folk repertoire.

Absolute Beginners (not currently running)
This is a five week course aimed at those who have not played a violin before. It will give a basic introduction to holding the instrument and playing traditional fiddle. It will introduce bow hold, open strings and your first hand position, enabling you to have a go at your first tunes. You will need to bring a violin with you for this course, but do get in touch if you would like assistance with sourcing an instrument. Places are limited, so please email to reserve your place in advance.