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 in recent years 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 couple of weeks of term, if space allows, 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 at least one night at an agreed point in the year to give students and tutors the chance to feed back and share different experiences of teaching and learning.

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 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.33
Tutor: Rachel Walker

Fiddle 1a – Complete Beginners from January

This class starts in January 2019 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 2019

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

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle1a/

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 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.19
Tutor: Becky Leach

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle2/

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 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.20
Tutor: Tara Cunningham

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle3/

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 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.22
Tutor: Sally Simpson

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle4/

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 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.23
Tutor: Claire Campbell

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle5/

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 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.24
Tutor:  Carly Blain

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle6/

Fiddle 7 – Upper Advanced

Advanced fiddle with Mairi Campbell and guests

We’ll work on three areas of fiddle music that explore form and freedom:

  • Ceilidh tunes for dancing, finding that swing and putting sets together;
  • Simple Scottish baroque – ensemble playing – you’ll learn to read music if needed
  • Improvisation – making it up in the moment

Mairi’s class method is to work with individuals as well as the collective. Please bring a tune you’re prepared to be observed working on.  It can be very simple but must be memorised.

Occasional guest tutors will be used at various points during the year to broaden students’ experience of other styles and instruments.

Three continuous terms from Sept 2018

Times: Thursday at 7-9pm James Gillespie’s High School
Room: 2.25
Tutor: Mairi Campbell

GroupSpacehttp://groupspaces.com/SMGFiddle7/