What is a Fiddle School Session ?
Each Fiddle School session is designed to include one year of material broken into twelve month-long lessons. Fiddle School Session 1: Texas Fiddle Foundations is perfect for the new or returning fiddler, whether you’re just getting started or you’re coming back from a break. Session 2: How to Reach Your Next Level is perfect for the intermediate/advancing fiddler or the classical violinist who wants to explore fiddling.
How is Session 2 different from Session 1? What will I learn in Session 2?
Session 2: How to Reach Your Next Level focuses on advancing fiddlers and how to refine, renew, and improve your fiddling through intermediate techniques and tunes. Building on all of the Session 1 techniques, Session 2 begins by taking your bow arm to the next level and creating a relaxed left hand. After that, you’ll be ready to take the leap in difficulty when you enter the three lessons that delve into Texas-style fiddle history and listening. In those lessons, you’ll learn two breakdowns, two waltzes, and two tunes of choice unique to Texas style fiddling and perfect for fiddle contests or jams. Other skills taught in Session 2 include how to build speed, practice effectively, eliminate bow bounce, and become an all-around stronger musician. We also dedicate a whole lesson in Session 2 to music theory, which comes in handy for jams, contests, songwriting, and more.
What’s included in Session 2?
Session 2 includes almost 100 guided technique videos (called Practice Buddies) and a guided practice (called Practice Pals) for each lesson, along with 24 intermediate tunes and corresponding listening examples, play-along tracks, sheet music, and written notes. Session 2 and Session 1 are both included in any Fiddle School membership.
Is Session 2 right for my level? How do I know when I’m ready for it?
Here’s a short recommended skills checklist for Session 1 (check these off and you’re ready for Session 2):
- Solid bow hold: fingers and hand fall into proper position
- Reliable bow arm: upper arm remains still
- Comfortable with fingerings, including 4th finger, low 2/high 2, and high 3
- Comfortable tuning the instrument
- Solid left hand: straight wrist, fingers on tips, and solid frame of hand
- Bow stays straight
- Accurate, consistent bow lengths (short and long)
- Minimum of eight fiddle tunes memorized from Session 1
For you more experienced fiddlers who are joining Fiddle School, there are a few videos in Session 1 you’ll want to catch: My Bow Hold, My Bow Arm (Lesson 1), and Bow Division #1 and #2 (Lesson 2). Though these are basic techniques, they are fundamental to the genre and will give you the proper sound as you learn all of the Texas-style repertoire. Other skills not to be missed: Lesson 9 – The Bow Arm, and Lesson 12 – Contests and Jam Sessions. Of course, if you find you need to brush up, you can always go back and review concepts in Session 1.
What songs are taught in Session 2?
Dixie Hoedown, Streets of Laredo, Turkey in the Straw, Florida Blues, Texas Quick Step, Soppin’ the Gravy, Walk Along John, Red Fox Waltz, Missouri Waltz, I Don’t Love Nobody Variation, The Plainsman, A & E Waltz, Sally Ann, Lily Dale, Speed the Plow, Blackberry Rag, and six more tunes to come in Session 2, Part IV!
Do I have to finish Session 1 to do Session 2?
We’re not the fiddle police, so if you start Session 2 without going through Session 1, the sky (probably) won’t fall. Session 2 is definitely a step up in difficulty, though, so make sure you’re prepared for it before you dive in. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time with the Session 1 videos before you hit Session 2. The most important thing is learning so that the concepts stick, not so that you can get through the session faster. You’ll thank us later, we promise.
How long does Session 2 take?
With one lesson for each month, Session 2 has enough material to keep you busy for a whole year. Every lesson topic is different, so the material feels fresh throughout the whole session.
I already played violin/fiddle when I was a kid. Should I start with Session 1 or Session 2?
The great thing about Fiddle School’s design is that you don’t have to choose before you buy a membership. Both sessions are included, so you can go back and forth between sessions as much as you need. We advise that you start by reviewing the concepts in Session 1 and then moving to Session 2 when you feel comfortable. If you find that Session 1 is not quite at your level, dip your toe into Session 2 and see how it feels.