We have 7 different class levels for learning fiddle. See the individual class descriptions for information on what the levels aim to cover during the year.

We have expanded to 7 levels this year to help smooth the transition between classes.
All fiddle groups are on the same night, with the expectation that students will move up or down within the first few weeks of term as they find the level which suits them best.

Be prepared for your tutor to move you to a different class at the start of term and discuss with them if you’re not sure what level is right for you.

Classes will rotate tutors for one night in week 7 of Term 1 to give students and tutors the chance to feed back and share different experiences of teaching and learning.

We also have a Fiddle Short Course in Term 1 on Wednesday nights this year, focusing on technique.


Fiddle Technique – Short Course with Gregor Borland

4 weeks: Wednesdays 15, 22, 29 Nov and 6 Dec. 

This 4-week short course on a Wednesday seeks to complement our programme of Thursday fiddle classes, looking at particular aspects of fiddle technique to help students improve their overall playing, tone and bowing.

Award-winning fiddler and teacher Gregor Borland will look at various aspects of technique including:

  • Bowing: the importance of the ups and downs
  • Basic bowing rules
  • Bow management: why are you running out of bow?
  • Starting from a blank page: how and where to add slurs
  • Grace notes: when to use, when not, and how
  • How to think about bowing tunes to improve playing overall
  • Keeping your bowing consistent for particular tunes to maintain emphasis

All levels are welcome but we expect this class will work best for students from Fiddle 3 and above.

The class will run on Wednesdays 15, 22, 29 Nov and 6 Dec.

Times: Wednesday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Gregor Borland

Cost: As this is a short course, it is priced differently from standard weekly classes –
SMG member £40 / £32 concession, Non-member £47 / £39 concession

Fiddle 1 – Complete Beginners

Suitable for people who have never played fiddle/violin before, or those who would like to go back to basics. Everything will be explained assuming no prior knowledge. You should have a fiddle to bring to the class.

Topics covered during the year:

  • Holding the instrument and bow
  • Tuning your instrument
  • Playing all the open strings
  • Basic fingering and bowing technique
  • Getting a good sound
  • Learning what the notes are
  • Some basic music theory
  • Playing some simple traditional tunes in easy keys
  • Starting to learn to play by ear

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Rachel Walker

Fiddle 1a – Complete Beginners from January

This class starts in January 2018 and is a new intake class for absolute beginners. 

For complete beginners, or those who would like to go back to basics. Everything will be explained assuming no prior knowledge. You should have a fiddle to bring to the class. Suitable for people who have never played fiddle/violin before.

Topics covered during two terms:

  • Holding the instrument and bow
  • Tuning your instrument
  • Playing all the open strings
  • Basic fingering and bowing technique
  • Getting a good sound
  • Learning what the notes are
  • Some basic music theory
  • Playing some simple traditional tunes in easy keys
  • Starting to learn to play by ear

Two continuous terms from January 2018.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Rosie Munro

Fiddle 2 – Improving Beginners

For people who were in Fiddle 1 last year or who have been playing for up to a year already.

Gain more confidence in playing while learning different kinds of tunes.

The class will cover:

  • Learning new notes on the fiddle
  • Playing different rhythms
  • Feeling more relaxed and comfortable when you play
  • Getting a nicer sound out of your fiddle
  • Becoming more confident learning by ear
  • Learning more about fiddle music in Scotland and elsewhere

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Becky Leach

Fiddle 3 – Improvers

For improving beginners who have played for around 2-3 years already. Building on basic skills, this class will focus on: – becoming comfortable playing in different keys – using bowing patterns to develop style and rhythm – improving tone and technique.

Specifically we will look at:

  • Beginning to join tunes together into sets
  • Learning basic scales and arpeggios
  • Phrasing (using slurs)
  • Playing tunes slowly, working towards increasing tempo throughout the term/year.
  • Learning tunes in different, simple rhythms
  • Learning and playing tunes by ear
  • Improving posture/stance
  • Improving intonation through short, simple exercises
  • Incorporating dynamics into tunes

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Eilidh Steel

Fiddle 4 – Lower Intermediate

Strengthen what you have learned and progress to different types of tunes, new bowing styles, ornamentation and tunes in more difficult keys.

Players should be confident at playing tunes in G major, using C natural on the A string and G natural on the E string. Ideally, players will have started:

  • playing tunes in F major, using Bb on the A string and F natural on the E string
  • using the fourth finger to play B on the E string

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Darragh Quinn

Fiddle 5 – Upper Intermediate

The class will focus on improving technique, including intonation, tone and bowing, and building confidence in your playing.

  • Playing in a range of keys, including more challenging keys
  • Using ornamentation and different bowing styles
  • Learning more quickly by ear
  • Playing up to speed

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Claire Campbell

Fiddle 6 – Lower Advanced

For people who have been playing for around 5 years or more and are confident learning quickly by ear.

The class aims to build on your repertoire, learning how tunes can be used (e.g. playing for dancing) and focusing on more complex keys and positions and unusual tunes. We will work on advanced technique, bowing and ornamentation, the understanding of regional styles and the development of your own style. Learn a range of traditional and more contemporary tunes commonly heard in traditional music sessions around Scotland.

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Sally Simpson

Fiddle 7 – Upper Advanced

This class will focus on learning and arranging repertoire towards performing in public. During the year the class will give a few local performances and will work towards these by learning and arranging repertoire, thinking about how to present the music to the public and put together a varied programme to make an interesting concert.

Some of the tunes taught will be based on the set music in the traditional fiddle grade exams with the RCS Scottish Music Graded Exams and Trinity Music, which will provide an opportunity for anyone who feels like sitting an exam to learn some of the music used (please note this is completely optional).

Over the course students will:

  • Continue to develop technique and playing posture
  • Play in different positions
  • Learn more about ornamentation and bowing patterns
  • Learn more unusual tunes
  • Begin to take a key role in coming up with arrangements and harmonies

Three continuous terms from Sept 2017.

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room:
Tutor: Carly Blain