I teach a variety of fiddle styles, including bluegrass,
old-time, Western Swing, and swing. For beginners, we'll work
on basic fundamentals including proper hand and finger posture,
bowing mechanics, and playing in tune with good tone. I use
my own materials which include hundreds of pieces at all levels.
A major emphasis is on developing proper bowing patterns
and playing stylistically in the correct genre, especially
important for violinists turned fiddlers. Over the years I
have carefully transcribed countless solos from many of the
greatest fiddlers for use as lesson material. I do use my
own self-published books, Jack
Tuttle's Traditional Fiddle Collection, Jack
Tuttle's Bluegrass Fiddle Collection and sometimes
also use The Fiddlers Fakebook (Oak Publications).
I also work on playing by ear, playing both fiddle tunes
and solos for singing pieces. Developing improvising skills
is also a major focus for those who are ready and willing.
I now use an iPod in my lessons with over 700 CDs loaded on
it, including many fiddle recordings both old and new, so
we can listen to real-world examples. I often play along with
the student, sometimes on fiddle, but often accompanying on
guitar. Students are encouraged to record the lesson and I
do have a cassette recorder in my room for students
Here are some helpful resources for fiddle:
I have three books on fiddling at my Books page.
Here is my Recommended
Fiddle Albums and my Recommended
Bluegrass Albums page.
Go to the Transcriptions Page
for a few tunes to work on.
My list of practice suggestions
has always included playing with others. Band-in-a-Box or
a similar program to play along with can help you get there.
It can also be a good "non-complaining" accompianist
for when you want to go through your fiddle tunes for hours
on end. It can also be your metronome as you try to play slow
cleanly, or get faster. It's also great for improvising over
chord progressions. If you have the Band-in-a-Box program
but don't want to take the time to enter the chords, I have
done all the work. You can download a zip file containing
the chord progressions for 161