A week or two ago, Teho, a fiddle duo from Finland came through the Northwoods, hosted by a colleague over in the earth sciences who's, I guess, into fiddle music. Who knew?
They gave a campus concert one evening, then a master class on campus the next afternoon, followed by an evening session at a local coffee shop.
I went to the evening concert, and it was quite good.
The next afternoon, I went to the masterclass. At the concert, they'd said that it was open to anyone who came, and we should bring instruments. So I did. Me, with the fingerboard tapes.
There were only four student players there, including me, one seemed to be a teacher, one an entering college student, and one a high schooler. Let's just say, I was WAY out of my depth.
They taught us two songs in a traditional fiddle way, which is to say, they played slowly for us. First the A part, a couple bars, repeated, and so on, then more bars, and when the A part was down, the same thing for the B part. (For both of these songs, there's an A section of 8 or 16 bars, which gets repeated, and then a B section of the same length, also repeated.)
If you look on the media page, you can hear the two songs we learned simplified versions of: Teksan Maijan roskapuuvalssi & Pettanvalssi, and Kom hem. They're both mostly in first position (I guess that's quite typical of traditional fiddle music). Here are recordings of them playing.
As for out of my depth, well, it's quite embarrassing, especially at first, to sit on stage like a lump with my instrument in hand, just watching, while all the other students catch on. One of the musicians was clearly worried about me, and I felt sorry about that. Once I got over my embarrassment, I was having a good and interesting time trying to figure things out. But I'm just way slower than the others were.
It's sometimes really good for me to be uncomfortable learning something.
If I'd done a very traditional Suzuki method, learning the first books only by ear, I'd probably have an easier time picking things up by ear. But since I already read music, I learned mostly by reading the music. Still, it was very interesting.
My Dad would have enjoyed it. You know how we all have memories we regret? Here's one of mine. I must have been a tween or maybe a little younger. On a hot summer day, my family was driving in the Central Valley of California, and we happened to see signs for a fiddle contest/festival. So we stopped, because my Dad liked fiddle music, and played the violin (and played some fiddle music, too). I remember he was enjoying it, but the rest of us pretty quickly grew bored. The public hall was hotter than the outdoors, even, and I remember being impatient and whiny. I wasn't the only one. And sooner than my Dad would have liked, we left. I wonder now, why I couldn't have been a bit more patient and let my Dad enjoy his music more? I regret that impatience so very much now.