Group play-through of "Common Tunes" (a list of 52)
Irish Jam, Scout Meetinghouse
This past weekend (Friday-Sunday) I participated in Fiddle Hell, a huge get-together for fiddlers from all over the country (and farther) to teach, learn, jam, and enjoy each other's company in Concord, MA. I went in a little apprehensive and came out completely overflowing with tunes in my head!
A little history - when I was a small kid I was completely in love with classical violin, and Mom and Dad did an amazing job fostering my love of music and indulging my daily practicing. From fourth grade through high school, I participated in my school orchestra during the school year and my summer camp's "String Band" during the summers. But after I finished college, it was about ten years until I played again.
Here in Boston, there are great musicians all over the place, and I was longing for an instrument that was more "social" (my primary instrument has always been solo piano). I already had a violin, I was crushing on the old-time and folk music scene, and so last fall I gave myself the gift of lessons. I found a teacher who I had seen perform at Berklee and with her help (and accountability!) I have been taking fiddle lessons for a year now.
So back to the present - at Fiddle Hell this weekend, I got to hear and play with fiddlers from all traditions. Turns out there are a lot of different styles! From 9:30am til midnight, each 1.5 hours was a different workshop - from learning tunes, learning technique, to jamming on common tunes. I took workshops that focused on Irish jigs, Irish ornamentation, French-Canadian tunes, Swedish polkas, Oldtime tunes, and more. It was amazing to see so many different teaching techniques, hear so many different individual playing styles, and overhear some really, really talented people all weekend. I felt completely saturated in a world I've only skirted the corners of - and now I want in!
Having the opportunity to be there exposed me to some really amazing musicians and helped me remember that people of all ages and of all experience levels (including none) can take on something new. Maybe someday Mom and I will be jamming together on the front porch in VT, eh?!
Here are a few photos of the wonderful people there this weekend. Let me know if you have questions - I'd recommend this experience to anyone!
Fiddle Concert, Saturday night
Oldtime Jam, Colonial Inn