This month, we’re thrilled to feature Linnea Kenney in our Student Spotlight. She has more positive attributes than we have space to list here, so we’ll just state a few of the big ones. Linnea is a tireless advocate of fiddling in Colorado and across the nation, a dedicated and joyful learner, and one of the kindest people I know. She also has a contagious laugh that lights up any room—if you’ve ever been to a jam session or a class with Linnea, you’ve had the pleasure of hearing it and experiencing Linnea’s jovial musicianship first-hand. Read on to hear from Linnea about her fiddling journey.
How long have you been fiddling?
5 1/2 years.
How did you start fiddling?
I absorbed a lot of 2nd hand fiddle music for 25 years from taking my daughter, Kaitlin, to fiddle lessons, fiddle contests, workshops, jam sessions and performances. As a result, I got addicted to Texas-style fiddle music. Finally 5 1/2 years ago I decided it was time for me to learn how to fiddle with encouragement from Katie. I have not looked back and have enjoyed every minute of it!
What are your favorite styles and songs to play?
Texas fiddle tunes and Western Swing are my favorite. They have such drive and I enjoy the different melodic phrasing. I love learning tunes I have listened to for years. Because many of the tunes are in my head, I can learn them more quickly and can’t believe I can now play some of those tunes that I love.
How has Fiddle School influenced your playing?
With this program I have been able to progress and improve my technique incrementally. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I look back at where I was when I started and where I am at now. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I was skeptical I could learn how to play the fiddle by ear when I started. It has been a rewarding journey to realize I could play tunes and make them sound better and better when I followed the techniques and tips Fiddle School (Katie & Celeste) provided.
What’s the most important thing music brings to your life?
Joy. It provides quiet solitude for me. I never tire of listening to music, whether it be Texas-style or other genres. It has a calming effect on me.
Tell us about the musical activities you do outside of Fiddle School.
I like to go to bluegrass music festivals with my husband and family. I love hearing my granddaughter play the fiddle. She actually had me back her up on the mandolin at a grade school talent show, which I loved. I also played my tunes for my mom and the residents of her assisted living. They loved the old songs that I played for them and they sang along or whistled the tunes. My mom thought every fiddle tune should have words!
I have been a board member of the Colorado Oldtime Fiddlers’ Association (COTFA) for 25+ years. I was also the president of COTFA for 5 years. I am heavily involved with the production of the Colorado Fiddle Championships held each January at the National Western Stock Show. It’s important to keep this music alive!
Tell us about your practice routine.
I practice daily unless I have some major event that doesn’t allow me to have my fiddle to practice. I do a warm up prior to every practice. I love the Practice Buddies in Fiddle School. If I’m working on a specific skill I can always find a Practice Buddy that addresses it. Noticing time is very important in helping me learn a tune. I also listen to the tunes I’m learning before I play them to make sure they are in my ear. I like the drills Celeste and Katie provide for each tune in the Mastery program. Those are extremely beneficial.
Anything else you’d like us to know about your musical life?
I listen to music most of the time. I love introducing music to my grandchildren and play music for them whenever I can. I encourage them to learn a musical instrument. Of course fiddle is my favorite but I love many musical instruments. I also love the mandolin which is the fretted cousin to the fiddle. Music feeds the soul with positivity.
Want to join our vibrant student community and hone your fiddle skills among supportive peers like Linnea? Become a member of Fiddle School.