Louise is a dear student who’s been with Fiddle School since the beginning. She’s one of the most dedicated fiddlers I know and always asks such thoughtful questions to deepen her musical knowledge. She has one of the most balanced musical lives of anyone I can think of: not only is she a great practicer, but she’s also surrounded herself with a vibrant musical community and performs regularly. Her musical joy is contagious and we’re so happy to feature her in our Student Spotlight. Read on to learn more about Louise’s musical life!
How long have you been fiddling and how did you start?
When I was in fifth grade I first became enamored with the violin from watching a violinist on TV. I took lessons for 6 months. We moved and I stopped my lessons and did not start playing again until I was in my late 50s. Tony Ludiker (5 times National Fiddle Champion) moved to Colorado Springs to play fiddle for the Flying W Wranglers in 2006 and started giving fiddle lessons at the local music store at the same time I was looking for a teacher. Lucky me! I studied with him for 4 years. He encouraged me to pursue competitive fiddling, but I was not ready for that.
Tell us about the musical activities you do outside of Fiddle School: playing in your church band, participating in weekly jams, and teaching.
I started a fiddle jam in my little town. It is small and not really a jam anymore but a group. We consist of myself, a guitarist and a classical violinist who wanted to learn fiddling. We play at the local farmers’ market and occasional community functions. We meet weekly.
What’s the most important thing music brings to your life?
Peace, joy, and friendship. Sometimes just listening, sometimes playing. The friends I’ve made through fiddling are probably the most valuable thing. I’ve been playing with the worship team at my church for the last 6 or 7 years, which I love.
How has Fiddle School influenced your playing?
I met Katie at the Colorado Roots Camp the summer before she started Fiddle School in 2018. She spoke of her specific method at that camp which intrigued me. By then I really thought I should be sounding better than I did. So I signed up for her school when she started it. It took me a while before I took all her simple beginning lessons seriously. Bow length? Stickers? Such simple tunes? I’d been playing a while and resisted going back to the beginning. But my attitude did change and I began to sound better and better. The specifics of her teaching have helped me to teach the basics to some students in my area. She is thorough and sequential. The improvement in my own playing has been very gratifying, for which I credit Katie and Celeste. Their kindness, encouragement and enthusiasm are over the top.
What are your favorite styles/songs to play and why?
I love traditional fiddle tunes best. My favorite tunes can be found in The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire and The Portland Collection, book one and two. Natalie McMaster is one of my favorite fiddle idols.
What is your practice routine like?
My practice routine loosely follows Katie’s Practice Like a Champion framework. Currently I’m warming up with vibrato and a Practice Pal on whatever lesson I’m on. I feel like I have a lot of tunes to keep up that also need polishing. Plus I signed up for a set of her Texas-Style Tunes webinars, which includes a tune I haven’t even started as I am preparing to go to Weiser in June and don’t want to clutter my mind with anything else at the moment (except for my Mastery 4 tunes, which I’m also working on.) So my practice includes a good chunk of Noticing Time, recording myself and polishing up different areas.
Anything else you’d like us to know about your musical life?
Katie really encourages her students to learn a backup instrument so I am also learning guitar. This makes for a pretty full musical schedule. Thank you Katie and Celeste! I love you guys and am so fortunate to be with you on my musical journey.